JCC JUMPED THE GUN WITH STUDENT’S ALLEGED THREATHS? By Andre Austin This story was axed from the local papers possibly after advertisements dollars were thrown around. You can’t change the ways of white folks in the dark. Sometimes they need to be put on CNN for the Shi.t they do. Teachers and staff may have jumped the gun when they considered JCC, in Jackson, Michigan, student Reginald Collins made some threatening commentary about the Virginia Tech massacre that took place on April 16. The Jackson County Branch is aggressively fighting to help restore Mr. Collins reputation and future by having all of the mud cleaned up from his records. Recently the NAACP met with officials from JCC concerning Mr. Collins. Arlene Robinson, president of the local NAACP, characterized the meeting as cordial. Robinson stated to the floor of the NAACP General membership about the meeting: “It went good, I think”. Meanwhile, all of Mr. Collins supporters are keeping their fingers crossed for a final decision of a hearing to be held next week of an appeal to JCC President Daniel Phelan to reconsider allowing him back on campus. In attendance at the May 17 NAACP regular monthly meeting was Cindy Allen, executive director of community relations at JCC. Ms. Allen was questioned about distinguishing a threatening statement from an obnoxious and insensitive comments. Ms. Allen declined in her words to “debate” on this point. However, if this precise issue would have been debated within the community at JCC a rush to judgment of calling the sheriff’s department who handcuffed and escorted Collins off of campus might have been avoided. Mr. Collins stated 72 hours after the Massacre that it would happen again and “the guy at Virginia tech had it right”. Everybody was in fear of copycats and in that fear JCC jumped the gun in considering Collins a threat. No charges against Mr. Collins have been filed by the Jackson County Prosecutors office because in reality his alleged comments doesn’t pass the threshold of a threat. In this day in age the prosecutors office wouldn’t have walked away from filing criminal charges with all of the violence going on in our public schools. Ms. Allen attempted to down play Mr. Collins case by saying it wasn’t the first or last student to be placed in exile from campus grounds. But in reality it is rare for a student who has been suspended to reach out to newspapers and Civil Rights organization for guidance and supports. Ms. Allen also stated that JCC wanted to be discreet and guard his privacy. Ironically, JCC wasn’t discreet and concerned about his privacy when he was publicly humiliated in front of his peers by marching him off campus by police officials. People in the community feel that Mr. Collins has been misled and spun by JCC officials into believing he could return if he voluntarily had himself evaluated by Foote Hospital Behavioral Health Systems, who in turn gave their professional opinion that he was not a threat to himself or others. On May 14 Arlene Robinson wrote a laundry list of recommendations to JCC for Mr. Collins so that his future employment and education goals will not be endangered by potentially being placed on a “special lists” by law enforcement and Homeland security. The NAACP is concerned with the long-term consequences of this unfortunate episode. Some of the recommendation include a written apology from JCC and be compensated at least $100,000.00 for pain and suffering. Hopefully JCC and Mr. Collins can all come to one accord with a amicable resolution for both parties in place of shielding up with lawyers. Usually lawyers advocate to their clients of corporations and institutions not to apologize even when in wrong to minimize the severity of jury awards. It seems like everything was blown all out of proportions. Being radical with having unpopular and obnoxious opinions is the hallmark of being a college student for some. The community could have been better served if teachers would have allowed Collins’s peers to challenge him on his allege insensitive comments instead of jumping to conclusions that he was some kind of terrorist threat and having him arrested.