In the woodsy heart of Louisiana lies the small and quaint town named Jena. Knowing that the Jena 6 situation is still in uproar; students who have attended Jena high school says that their home has not, always been about race; but times has clearly changed over the past summer.
“Since Jena 6, life at home has changed,” says a Jena resident, freshman DeShon Beard. “Walking into stores is even different by the way of how white people stare at you.”
Most of the businesses in Jena are white owned and there have been many instances that blacks are refused services.
“Student learning is our top priority” is Jena High school’s mission statement; but which is important Presentation or the issues that lies beneath the student body?
The JHS’ official has banned students from wearing the t-shirts that read “Free Jena Six”. These t-shirts were made in support of the six young men who are imprisoned and charged with attempted murder. The officials believed the shirts are causing too much of a stir in the classroom, but these particular students are trying to make a statement and not to cause any harm amongst one another.
According to Beard, JHS has always been strict on presentation. “The school is strict on the dress code but the Jena six t-shirts should be worn.”
Racism has always been present in Jena but has never been addressed nor resolved Throughout the town of 2,900 with about 350 black residents last fall when students at the high school found three hangmen like nooses hanging from a tree on campus after Jena 6. According to ABC news the students were suspended but no criminal charges were fled.
The infamous “noose hung” tree isn’t the root of the Jena 6 case but it is what brought the dark to light. This tree is well known in Jena’s student body as what separated the whites from blacks at lunch time and the same tree has conjured images of the Klu Klux Klan along with lynchings of the past.
Sophomore Jory Jenkins also a Jena resident believes the tree wasn’t a threat to many but only certain students, when he attended Jena high.
“With some people but not by all, the whites wouldn’t want me to sit on “their” side”, Jenkins said.
In attempt to resolve the racial pressure and for construction purposes, the schools Superintendent Roy Breithaupt authorized the tree to be cut down, according to The News-Star.
After the Jena six situation, Jena high has been under a cloud. The school’s main academic building was destroyed in November in a fire assumed to be arson.
There has been no connection or suspects between the fire, the nooses or other the issues that has curses Jena High students the past year.
To recover the building demolishing it is taking place. The officials plan to connect the new building to the other standing buildings, which implies that they would have to build over part of the courtyard where the tree once stood.