- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 28, 2007

DALLAS (AP) A teenager has been jailed for more than a year for shoving a teacher’s aide at her high school, a case that has sparked anger and heightened racial tensions in rural East Texas.

Shaquandra Cotton, who is black, says the teacher’s aide pushed her first and would not let her enter school before the morning bell in 2005. A jury convicted the 15-year-old girl in March 2006 on a felony count of shoving a public servant, who was not seriously injured.

The girl is in the Ron Jackson Correctional Complex in Brownwood, about 300 miles from her home in Paris, Texas. The juvenile facility is the subject of state and federal investigations into claims that staff members physically and sexually abused inmates.

Under the sentence handed down by Lamar County Judge Chuck Superville, she will remain at the facility until she meets state rehabilitation standards or reaches her 21st birthday.

Creola Cotton, Shaquandra’s mother, and activists point out that while the judge sent Shaquandra to the state’s juvenile prison system, he gave a white 14-year-old arsonist probation.

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