Saturday, July 30, 2011

The McInerney Trial: The One That Should've Grabbed Our Nation's Attention

While viewers sat transfixed watching the Casey Anthony trial on their TVs, Smartphones and iPads, a more significant case was brewing in Ventura, California.

The McInerney trial currently being tried in Chatsworth due to the pretrial publicity in Ventura, has all the sensationalistic makings of the Casey Anthony case minus the attractive mother accused of murdering her daughter.

In the Brandon McInerney case we have a growing list of hot issues:
•the 2009 murder of a gay teen in front of his fellow students during a lab class
•a 17-year-old being tried as an adult for a hate crime murder
•a flamboyantly gay middle school student permitted by school authorities to wear inappropriate gender-bending clothing to school
•the suspicious connection of a murder suspect to the Silver Strand Locals, an Oxnard white supremacist gang known for its hatred of gays
•an increasing roster of state employed teachers more concerned with their tenures than making correct decisions regarding the safety of their students.

Brandon McInerney is being tried for the February 12, 2008 murder of gay student Larry King during a lab class at E.O. Green Middle School in Oxnard.  In plain sight of at least 100 students, while some were snickering at King's feminine clothing, McInerney shot King in the back of the head two times.

Brandon McInerney

According to the 2008 article in the Ventura County Star, "McInerney is charged with murder and a hate crime in connection with the classroom shooting. King, an eighth-grader from Oxnard, dressed in a feminine manner and told friends he was gay. McInerney faces a sentence of 51 years to life if convicted of all the charges."

It would seem this would be an open and shut case.  However,  during the case which completed its fourth week, other important issues are grabbing center stage.

•King, for several weeks prior to the shooting, started to wear suede high-heel boots, tight girl's jeans and eye shadow to school.

According to the VC Star King's clothing was becoming an increasing distraction and disruption during school hours. According to California Education Code 48900.2 a student who is charged with “disrupting school activities or willfully defies valid authority” can be suspended.  Why wasn't King disciplined by school authorities?

During the court proceedings, King's former teacher Dawn Boldrin and her assistant admitted they did nothing about the fact King was violating school rules. Boldrin suspected King's clothes were outside the mandated dress code and asked her assistant to look into it. Nothing further was done by the teacher.

If a girl is wearing a revealing top or tight fitting jeans or a short skirt, the school administration would've most likely sent her home or demand she wear a gym sweatshirt the rest of the school day to cover her up. Several students rightly complained King was receiving special treatment.

Should I state the obvious? King was given a pass because he was a gay teenager and his teachers were fearful of offending him or being called a homophobic.  What other reason would there be to enforce dress code rules for heterosexuals, but not for a homosexual teen?  Isn't that discrimination against heterosexual students? 

•King's teachers were negligent out of self-protection.  King's teacher Dawn Boldrin admitted she did not want to say anything about King's dress,"I was not tenured at that point and didn't want to make a wave," she admitted under oath.

One wonders if Boldrin and the school administration had demanded King start wearing gender appropriate clothes to school whether the tragic outcome could have been avoided.

No, King's clothing and gay lifestyle does not excuse McInerney for his vicious hate crime, but perhaps his anger may have been abated if the school took proper measures consistent with the way they treat other students.  Just wondering.

In another related incident King asked Anne Sinclair, a special-education teacher, if he could use the restroom.  Sinclair said no. Meanwhile, King who was standing, had his mid-section inches away from a sitting student's face.

Sinclair described this incident as sexual harassment - a violation of section 212.5 of the California Education Code. King made the incident even worse when he started doing a dance moving back and forth on his legs indicating his need to use the bathroom.

Asked why the special education teacher did not report this act of sexual harassment, as required by state law, she answered, "Other times, when I tried to report things, it wasn't being addressed. And I was not tenured at that point and I was looking out for my tenure, to be perfectly honest."

Like Boldrin, this state employee was thinking more about her tenure and retirement than the welfare of a student on the receiving end of sexual harassment.

How surprising since other Ventura County schools such as Conejo Valley Unified School District schools will cite a student who uses sexting with sexual harassment and report the student to the police for distributing child pornography - whether they are the perpetrator or on the receiving end.

Once again, a case can be made Larry King was given special treatment because he was gay.  His teachers wanting to save their tenure and not want to be politically incorrect by reporting a homosexual student may have contributed to a series of incidents that fueled McInerney's hatred for King.

•King's teacher also gave the middle school student a homecoming dress. How can a female teacher give one of her male students a dress? Was she condoning King's gay clothing in the context of school, and if so, why wasn't she disciplined for this action?  Did she ask King's parents permission before giving the boy such a controversial gift?

Is this another case where a gay person is given a pass out of fear by his superiors who want to avoid being labeled anti-gay?  Can a male heterosexual teacher give one of his female students a dress? What if a male teacher gave a female pupil a blouse that was revealing?

The McInerney case is far from over. It has yet been proven whether McInerney belonged to a white supremacist gang known as the Silver Strand Locals or that gang is racist.

Despite all these issues, McInerney is guilty of committing a hate crime and murdering Larry King in cold blood in front of numerous witnesses.

Let's not forget the school administration should still be on the witness stand for their special treatment of a student because of his sexual orientation . . . a treatment that would not be given to a heterosexual pupil.
We may never know how much their negligence fueled the hatred of McInerney towards King despite the fact the 17-year-old bears full responsibility for the death of his fellow student.


JJeveryday said...

What Larry wore was within the dress code for the school- it was just within the typical guidelines for a girl and not a boy. He was not being given special treatment he was being allowed to exress himself within the dress code for the gender he felt comfortable within. Every boy and girl at the school was allowed to express themselves within the dress code so there was no special treatment involved. Had any other student wished to dress more like the opposite sex they could have.

JJeveryday said...

He did dress within the dress code. He just dressed more similar to the girls. What the school refused to do was to "gender stereotype" (this is what a boy must wear and this is what a girl must wear) That is an appropriate response. Every student there was allowed to express themselves within the schools dress code and they did. Larry was the only one who chose to dress as a girl but the others doubtless would have been allowed to. There was no special treatment there was fair treatment!

Louis Lapides said...

@JJeveryday. I beg to disagree with you. The school dress code for the Port Hueneme (BP 5132a) states the the student's dress should not be a distraction. King's gender expression was a distraction. The issue of his clothing being a distraction within the confines of the school grounds was repeatedly brought up by students and teachers. It so happens that the OE Green JHS VP at that time was a gay women and refused to deal with the complaints. So yes, he was given special treatment according to the school code. Regardless, none of this discussion justifies the tragedy that took place. The school should have taken a more proactive stance towards Larry King and they did not. Shame on them.

Louis Lapides said...

Also, read the CA Education Code Section
48900-48927 that covers free expression of a student on a CA School campus while school is in session. 48900 (k) covers reasons for suspension: Disrupted school activities or otherwise willfully defied the
valid authority of supervisors, teachers, administrators, school officials, or other school personnel engaged in the performance of their duties." There is also some valid questioning of King sexually harassing a student in front of a teacher who claimed King's action were indicative of sexual harassment. It will be up to the Court to decide if King's comment to Mcinerney constitutes sexual harassment as well. Sexual harassment, if proven in this case, constitutes disruption of school activities and if the school knew this to be true and did not act in accordance with this code, once again, the school officials were remiss in their responsibilities. Besides all this, school is not the proper place for cross-dressing to take place. Children are in school to learn not to push the envelope in expressing their sexuality - hetero or homosexual -through their dress. Do it at home - not in school. If a boy wears a dress to school, it is a distraction. It's all about common sense for what should and should not take place in an educational environment.