Raleigh student who spent 21 days in jail pleads guilty to assau - WNCN: News, Weather

Raleigh student who spent 21 days in jail pleads guilty to assault

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RALEIGH, N.C. - A senior at Southeast Raleigh High School pleaded guilty Thursday to disorderly conduct after an incident March 7 on school property.

Selina Garcia, 17, will be placed in foster care and Wake County has found a spot for her in a group home.

Garcia has been in and out of foster care since the age of 8, her attorney said. Garcia was in between foster placements, so no one bonded her out.

Her aunt, Melissa Garcia, was upset that Selina remained in jail so long.

"No one's called me," she said. "No one's told me anything."

Garcia was jailed March 7, a move that caused some parents, students, and her peers to say the punishment was too harsh. She had been in jail 21 days and came to court Thursday handcuffed and wearing a striped jumpsuit.

"I have a lot of eyes on me obviously, a lot of people who adore me," Garcia said. "I don't want them leading in the same path. I don't want to see other kids in this, so I'm just ready to make a change."

One group protesting was NC Heat. According to their Facebook page they are a "multicultural group of youth seeking a common purpose: civil rights, human rights, and justice in our communities and our public schools."

Fellow NC Heat member Tavon Bridges from Knightdale High said Garcia is a good person and he is "devastated."

Markyona Patrick, another NC Heat member said, "People are criminalizing her. She's not a bad person and I know where she's coming from. It kind of hit home with me because I've been criminalized, and I'm not a criminal whatsoever."

The Wake County School System said they could not comment on this case because of federal student privacy laws.

But WNCN learned that Garcia has had a history with the law, and this is her fifth time charged in Wake County.

Earlier, NC Heat released this statement to WNCN about the situation:

"On March 7 2014 Selina Garcia, a senior at Southeast Raleigh high school was suspended from school because of allegations that she committed level II infractions at school - "physical aggression/fighting" and "class/activity disturbance." Her administrator suspended her for 5 days, noting that there were lots of mitigating factors present, including prolonged and explicit harassment by the other student involved in the incident. However, the SRO at school decided that this wasn't enough - said that she needed to "learn a lesson," and so he arrested her and took her to jail. He made this determination despite the fact that she posed NO safety threat to the school environment.

The officer made the conscious choice to criminalize her despite knowing how much trauma she had already been through in her life - that she'd experienced more horrific violence in her 17 short years than he'd likely seen in his entire career; that she'd been bounced between more foster care and DSS placements than anyone keep track; that, after being transitioned to four different high schools in two year due to her placement changes, she just wanted to focus on graduating this Spring, and needed to be in school to accomplish that goal none of that mattered to him - all that mattered was asserting his dominance and "teaching her a lesson"

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