Al Jazeera to air report on Enloe High School water-balloon arrests

Posted by T. Keung Hui on January 22, 2014 

UPDATE: Click here to read the online story on the new civil-rights complaint filed against the Wake County school system that’s referenced in the Al Jazeera piece.

Last May’s water-balloon prank at Enloe High School that resulted in Raleigh police arresting seven students and a parent will get national news attention tonight on Al Jazeera America.

Al Jazeera spoke with some of the arrested Enloe students as part of America Tonight’s “Getting Schooled” education series that will air at 9 p.m. and midnight on Time Warner Cable Channel 410. They form part of a narrative about black students and the school-to-prison pipeline in a state where 16-year-olds are charged as adults.

The article mentions how 24 Raleigh police officers were dispatched to restore order. What at least the online version of the story doesn’t mention is that part of the reason for the large police response was the rumors that the balloons would contain urine, bleach and other noxious substances.

The Wake County school system doesn’t come off looking good in the piece. Al Jazeera talks with Jason Langberg of Advocates for Children’s Services, who questions why black students in Wake are suspended at a higher rate than white students.

Al Jazeera says Wake school officials and school board members declined to speak on camera for the story. Instead, they issued a statement.

“The Wake County Public School System is responsible for providing a safe and optimal learning environment for all students,” Wake officials said in the statement. “To that end, we continually review all policies and practices that affect student learning and discipline.”

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