Joquan Wallace is in line for sports scholarships in numerous colleges if he can avoid jail time after his recent trip to the school bathroom. Now there is a petition  issued by Brenda Cherry to drop felony charges against Joquan, allow him to graduate with his sister at Paris High, and “stop the school to prison pipeline” which has been been well-documented in Texas, and across the nation.

Before we get into Joquan’s own statement, some context on “Paris, Texas” might be helpful. 

Upon hearing about this case, many will immediately think about the similar 2007 case of Shaquanda Cotton, the 14 year-old who shoved a hall monitor and received an initial prison sentence for 7 years. Others may think of the 2009 dragging death of Brandon McClelland and the release of the defendants, and others may recall how African-American employees working at Turner Industries described a working environment that included hangman’s nooses, Confederate flags and racist graffiti. 

Paris, Texas has been more recently described as “Mississippi 50 Years Ago“, and “The Most Racist City in America“.

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Joquan gave The Paris Texas Chronicle the following statement

“When I left the restroom, Officer McCarthy asked me where I was supposed to be. I told him I was on my way back to class. He asked me who my teacher was. I told him Mr. Bowlings. He asked me why I was using this restroom instead of the one closer. I told him because I had to do number two. He told me that he had came in and looked at me under the stall and that my feet were not turned in the direction of doing number two. I just walked back to the classroom. When I tried to go in, Officer McCarthy started grabbing me. I told him don’t touch me. He left and I went into the classroom. He came back with the principal, Gary Preston. Mr. Preston asked me to step out of the room. I did. Mr. Preston asked me what was going on. I told him that the police officer was messing with me about using the restroom, which I had permission to do. Mr. Preston told me to go to the office. I said let me get my stuff. School was about to be let out and I didn’t want to leave my phone and stuff at school.” 

Joquan also stated:

“I was going in to get my stuff and suddenly Mr. Preston and Officer McCarthy grabbed me and I was put in a headlock and they started slamming me against the wall and they slammed me on the table and hit my head and it started pounding. They threw me against other things in the room. I didn’t understand what was going on. At some point they had me hanging over the stair rails in the hall. Somebody put handcuffs on me and they took me to a police car. I asked could I call my dad but they wouldn’t let me. I told Officer McCarthy that the handcuffs were hurting. He grabbed at them and made them tighter. He took me to the police station and started writing stuff. He said Oh you hit me. I said “Huh, when did I hit you?” He told me it didn’t matter. He kept picking at me and telling me he got me now and asked why did I want to call my daddy earlier and did I think my daddy was going to come and beat him up or something. Then he locked me up.” A few hours later my mom and dad came and got me out of jail and took me to the hospital because my head, back, and hand was still hurting.” 

In her Petition, Brenda Cherry writes:

Numerous witnesses say Joquan never hit anyone. Joquan ended up with two felony charges and a trip to the emergency room with visible injuries. Neither Preston nor McCarthy had any visible injuries according to Joquans parents. Joquan was a good student with no discipline problems. He had no prior arrests.

He excelled in sports and had won sports awards for the school. He was up for scholarships from numerous colleges. He was suspended from school. He will not be allowed to walk the stage to graduate with his class. He may not receive any college scholarships. People should support Joquan because its time to end the School to Prison Pipeline. A students future should not be destroyed over an incident that school officials instigated. Hold School officials accountable for bad behavior. It can help prevent this from happening to other students.

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