On Thursday, March 27th, the Youth Organizing Institute and NC HEAT mobilized approximately 30 of Selina’s community members to pack the courthouse on her court date, wearing green to show our support. It was clear that our efforts to uplift Selina’s voice and her powerful story had the judge, the social workers, and the SRO on their toes in the face of a demand for accountability from the strong community and media presence in the room. Selina, in a courageous statement on her own behalf before the judge, said she wanted to set a good example for other youth in foster care, “especially if I’m preaching and fighting for things to be right.”
She was released from criminal custody immediately after the court date, and NC HEAT members along with YOI staff came to the jail to welcome her home with open arms. We came to the Division of Social Services building and stood behind Selina as she demanded to be housed in Raleigh, where she would be able to finish her studies without the disruption and displacement of having to start over at a new school in a group home environment.
By the end of the day, we had won demands one and two from our petition, with Selina released from jail into a family-based placement in Raleigh where she can finish her senior year at Southeast Raleigh high and graduate with her friends! With almost 1,000 signatures on our petition pressuring the Wake County School Board, the Division of Social Services, and Raleigh PD; we are on track to win all nine of our demands. We who believe in freedom cannot rest until we have mechanisms for oversight and accountability from SRO’s and discipline policy that is transformative, and not punitive in our schools. We believe that we will win!