Author Topic: Talihina mom upset when sons arrested at school  (Read 1347 times)

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Talihina mom upset when sons arrested at school
« on: March 07, 2006, 11:07:00 AM »
Talihina mom upset when sons arrested at school

By Regina Smith, News Reporter


Most parents never think they're going to receive a call telling them their child has been arrested.

For Julie Owens of Talihina a call she received last week was especially upsetting because her sons, Steven and Brian are seven and eight years old, respectively.

Owens said that on Feb. 22 at 8:31 a.m. she received a call from Talihina Elementary School Principal, Angela Rogers.

"She said she wanted to call me because she figured I would be concerned about this, and that the boys had been arrested for stealing mail and newspapers which is a federal offense. Then she said I could just meet them down at the police department," Owens said. "They told me the police were leaving the school right then and that I could meet them down there."

She said she then drove to the Talihina Police Department where she was present when her sons were interrogated. Owens said they were read their rights, finger printed, had their mug shots taken then were charged with petty larceny and given a court date to appear April 12 at 4 p.m.

"I was in shock, heck I didn't know what to do," Owens said.  

Owens said that Brian and Steven left for school that morning to get on the bus but had met with a friend who was riding his bike to school and they decided to walk with him, which they are not normally allowed to do.

It was at the police department where she learned that a man had seen the three youths taking his newspaper and had called the school and described the boys. She said the man later told her that he had contacted the school so that parents could be notified.

Owens said Rogers had pulled the boys out of class and called police.

Owens has no issues with the fact that her boys did wrong and deserve to be punished. She said they have in fact been punished at home and have reached an agreement to clean the yard of the man from whom they stole the paper.

What she does have issue with is the manner in which and the school and police department handled the situation.

"My boys are eight and seven, I think what happened was an extreme and severe consequence because of the way it was handled," she said. "The administrators at the school are supposed to protect my children. Mrs. Rogers took it upon herself to be judge, jury and executioner. She also let my boys be taken off school property without my permission. I should have been notified when the man called to report the incident before she ever pulled the boys out of class."

Owens said that she has been told that the manner in which the police handled the incident was simply a scare tactic.

"I was told by the police to take the tickets to the city judge and there would probably be some sort of fine to pay, this was taken way beyond a simple scare tactic," she said.

Owens has begun to circulate a petition calling for the re-evaluation of Rogers' ability to administer and deal with parents and the students who attend the elementary school.

Owens is scheduled to speak to the Talihina School Board on Monday where she will present the petition. An attempt to reach Talihina Superintendent Ray Henson for comment on Friday was unsuccessful.

"This didn't even happen at the school and I don't know what the protocol is but I think I still should have been notified first," she said. "She (Rogers) didn't handle this situation well at all and this isn't the first school to have problems with her."

In 1996, according to past editions of the Poteau Daily news, Rogers (then Angela Ramsey) resigned her principal's position with Howe Public Schools after being placed on administrative leave.

Owens said that she knows her children are not angels, she said her seven-year-old has been in the office before.

"He's all boy and has been in trouble before. I signed the paper for him to be paddled at school as long as they call me first," Owens said.

She said any other time that she has been called Rogers has explained the problem and asked her if she wanted to come to the school and paddle Steven.

"I've told her that at school she can spank him and at home I will. I believe that if my kids get in trouble at school they should get in trouble at home, as long as they were treated fairly. In the past I have never undermined their authority I want my boys to respect authority. I just don't understand why this situation was handled this way and I feel she was out of line."

Talihina Police Chief Jack England was unavailable for comment regarding the issue at press time.

The board of education is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. Owens is posted on the agenda to speak.
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