Group says student ‘railroaded’ in charges to hurt superintendent

A 12-year-old West Carrollton Middle School student is charged with seeking to hurt the superintendent, a court case that has an advocacy group saying the juvenile is being "railroaded," potentially because of his size and race.

The student — described as a 6-foot, 200-pound seventh-grader — faces charges of assault and making false alarms in an incident in which he sought to “to cause physical harm to Andrea Townsend,” the school district’s top administrator, according to Montgomery County Juvenile Court documents.

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Townsend declined to respond to questions about the incident that led to the charges filed Feb. 21, saying she was “not at liberty” to discuss the issue.

The student did not commit the acts of which he is accused, said Racial Justice Now Director Hashim Jabar, who is seeking “some answers about this young student’s rights being violated.”

In a Facebook Live video, Jabar said the student “is being railroaded straight up and down” and suggested racial differences were an issue.

“I know this young man is big and large, and I know many of the teachers are of the opposite race,” he said. “But unfortunately, I don’t know if they’ve had the proper training to deal with students of the opposite race or of varied races.”

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Jabar, whose organization advocates for empowering black parents and children, said in his video, “There are conflicting written statements from the superintendent and witnesses about this situation.”

Jabar said his organization was contacted by the student’s father, who had been dealing with “problems with the school district” for more than a year. He said the student has been bullied and threatened.

The student has been suspended and is awaiting an expulsion hearing, Jabar said.

Townsend on Wednesday responded to an inquiry seeking information about the incident that led to the charges with the following:


“As you know, I am not at liberty to discuss personally identifiable student information with you unless I have written consent from the student’s parent. That has not been provided to me, so state and federal law, as well as West Carrollton Board of Education policy, prohibits me or anyone else representing the District from responding to your questions.”

The youth, court records state, “did knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to Andrea Townsend, and the victim of the offense was a school teacher, or administrator, or school bus operator, and the offense occurred on school premises, in a school building, on a school bus, or while the victim was outside school premises.”

The student “did initiate or circulate a report or warning of an alleged or impending fire, explosion, crime or other catastrophe knowing that such a report or warning is false,” the filing states.

Court records do not indicate when – or specifically where — the incident leading to the charges occurred.

Denials of the charges were entered for the juvenile, court records show. A magistrate ordered a mental health assessment for the youth, and electronic home monitored will continue, according to court documents.

The assault charge is a felony and making false alarms is a misdemeanor. The case is set for conference March 5, court records show.


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