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Testimonial of Henry Ford High School student



(Recently) the administration informed the student body that a student, Terry Jones, was killed over the weekend while he was on his way to a gang fight. It was interesting because during my Ethics class, we were — or attempting to — have a class discussion about the recent student protest for equal education at Michigan and North Carolina universities. The class did not seem intrigued until it was announced over the PA that Terry had died, and we had a moment of silence. In the hall, I saw another boy punching a locker and making a huge fuss. I recognized he was grieving in the only way he knew how, which was violently.

I’m sure the boy was suspended for disorderly conduct, but I don’t think that’s fair. If there was some sort of grieving arrangement made for us, such as a grieving counselor or restorative practices, this could have been avoided. In fact, I overheard a teacher saying they were told not to use the restorative practices today.

All afternoon, there were numerous violent incidents such as group fights and people being jumped. I also think this could have been avoided if there was some type of resources for affected students. After school, there was a huge crowd and over six police cars outside of the school — I took a photo. As everyone routinely walked toward Seven Mile, I saw a group of male students being handcuffed, searched and humiliated by Detroit police. I am not sure who the boys are or what they did, but it was not necessary for them to be treated that way.

Now more than likely, the boys were up to something no good, however, that doesn’t give the police the right to brutalize them the way they did.

When the police began to tell us to go home, I suppose a young man gave the policeman a smart remark so the policeman lifted the boy over his head and carried him over his body to the police car. I’m not sure what happened to any of the boys afterwards, but I heard they all were arrested. I understand the police were doing their job, but where is the justice, the humanity and the professionalism?

There is never a reason to treat students this way. It seems it has been thrown out the window and totally disregarded. Even though I did not know the young men, I felt an incredible amount of empathy for them, and I felt it was my duty as an advocate for exposing the School to Prison Pipeline to let this be publicized. If no one speaks up, who will listen? We need to stand up and do something about what’s happening in our communities.

Turai’ Finley,
Youth Voice Executive Board

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