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Sunday, July 8, 2007I Love Alex
Writing “I love Alex” on a school gymnasium wall brought a 12-year-old the same punishment as if she had made terrorist threats.
The Katy Independent School District rated the message, written with a baby blue marker by sixth-grader Shelby Sendelbach, as a Level 4 infraction — the same as for threats, drug possession and assault.
Only murder, gun possession, sexual assault and arson are considered more severe by the suburban Houston district.
For her punishment, Shelby was assigned to an alternative school from Aug. 27 through Dec. 21.
Just following the rules
School district spokesman Steve Stanford said the district was just following a state law, saying it requires assignment to an alternative school for graffiti.
Her parents have appealed and a hearing is set for this month. Lisa and Stu Sendelbach said they don’t condone what Shelby did but think the punishment is overly harsh.
“We are shocked that the school district rules as they are written make no distinction between what Shelby is accused of and what a gang member does with a can of black spray paint,” Stu Sendelbach said.
(The case of a teenage girl facing the death sentence in Saudi Arabia as the result of a tragedy being misunderstood as a crime)
The Asian Human Rights Commission is writing this appeal to all the Muslim scholars in the world regarding the case that the AHRC believes deserves of all Muslim scholars.
This is a case where a teenage girl, who was in charge of bottle feeding a four-month old child, which due to her inexperience resulted in an accident of the child choking and while she was desperately trying to help by way of soothing and stroking the chest, face and neck of the baby a tragic death took place. These circumstances are explained below. However, due to misunderstandings this case was presented as the murder of a baby by strangulation and the teenager was sentenced to death by a court in Saudi Arabia on June, 16.
After careful consideration of all facts we are of the view that what has happened is an enormous tragedy but it can lead to, if not prevented soon, a further tragedy of an innocent inexperienced teenager being executed.
We believe that this is a case in which scholarly considerations can help to make the necessary reflections distinguishing a tragedy from a crime and from such reflections interventions can be made to prevent a further tragedy taking place. We believe that the Muslim scholars, if they think it appropriate can communicate with this unfortunate family, faced with this situation to provide them with wise advise to help them deal with this issue.
Details of the relevant incidents:
This case concerns Naffeek Rizana who is facing the death sentence in Saudi Arabia, allegedly for the strangulation of a four month old baby. Through close study of the case the Asian Human Rights Commission is satisfied that, in fact, what has taken place was the tragic death of a baby in the process of being fed by an inexperienced teenager.
Naffeek Rizana was born on February 4, 1988 and comes from a war-torn, impoverished village. Here, many families, including those of the Muslim community try to send their under aged children for employment outside the country, as their breadwinners. Some employment agencies exploit the situation of the impoverished families to recruit under aged girls for employment. For that purpose they engage in obtaining passports by altering the dates of birth of these children to make it appear that they are older than they really are. In the case of Naffeek Rizana, the altered date, which is to be found in her passport now, is February 2, 1982. It was on the basis of this altered date that the employment agency fixed her employment in Saudi Arabia and she went there in May, 2005.
Later in 2007 she went to work at the house of Mr. Naif Jiziyan Khklafal Otaibi whose wife had a new-born baby boy. A short time after she started working for this family she was assigned to bottle feed the infant who was by then four months old. Naffeek Rizana had no experience of any sort in caring for such a young infant. She was left alone when bottle feeding the child. While she was feeding the child the boy started choking, as so often happens to babies and Naffeek Rizana panicked and while shouting for help tried to sooth the child by feeling the chest, neck and face, doing whatever she could to help him. At her shouting the mother arrived but by that time the baby was either unconscious or dead. Unfortunately, misunderstanding the situation the family members treated the teenager very harshly and handed her over to the police, accusing her of strangling the baby. At the police station also, she was very harshly handled and did not have the help of a translator or anyone else to whom she could explain what had happened. She was made to sign a confession and later charges were filed in court of murder by strangulation.
On her first appearance in court she was sternly warned by the police to repeat her confession, which she did. However, later she was able to talk to an interpreter who was sent by the Sri Lankan embassy and she explained in her own language the circumstances of what had happened as stated above. This version was also stated in court thereafter.
According to reports, the judges who heard the case requested the father of the child to use his prerogative to pardon the young girl. However, the father refused to grant such pardon. On that basis the court sentenced her to death by beheading. This sentence was made on June 16, 2007.
THE FIVE STAGES OF DRUNKENNESS
Stage #1 -- Smart
This is when you suddenly become an expert on every subject. You
know all and greatly wish to express this knowledge to anyone who
will listen. At this stage you are also always right. And of course
the person you are talking with is very wrong. You will talk for
hours trying to convince someone that you are right. This makes for an
interesting argument when both parties are "smart". Two people talking,
in fact, arguing about a subject neither one really knows anything
about, but are convinced that they are they complete authority on the
subject makes for great entertainment for those get the opportunity to
Stage #2 -- Handsome/Pretty
This is when you are convinced that you are the best looking person in
the entire room and everyone is looking at you. You begin to wink at
perfect strangers and ask them to dance because of course they had been
admiring you the whole evening. You are the center of attention, and all
eyes are directed at you because you are the most beautiful thing on the
face of the earth. Now keep in mind that you are still smart, so you can
talk to this person who has been admiring you about any and all subjects
under the sun.
Stage #3 -- Rich
This is when you suddenly become the richest person in the world. You can
buy drinks for the entire bar and put it on your bill because you surely
have an armored truck full of your money parked behind the bar. You can
also make bets in this stage. Now of course you still know all, so you
will always win all your bets. And you have no concern for how much
money you bet because you have all the money in the world. You will also
begin to buy drinks for all the people in the bar who are admiring you
because you are now the smartest, prettiest, and richest person on the
face of the earth.
Stage #4 -- Bulletproof
You can now pick fights with the people you have been betting money with
because you cannot be hurt by anything. At this point you would go up to
the boyfriend of the woman who had been admiring your beautiful self
all evening and challenge him to a battle of wits for money. You have no
worry about loosing this battle of wits because you know all, have all
the money to cover this bet, and you obviously win a fight that might
erupt if he looses.
Stage #5 -- Invisible
This is the final stage of drunkenness. At this point you can do
absolutely anything because no one can see you. You can get up and dance
on a table; you can strip down to your underwear, to impress the people
who have been admiring you all evening, because the rest of the people
in the room cannot see you. You are also invisible to the person whom
you have picked a fight with earlier in the evening. You can walk through
the streets singing at the top of your lungs (because of course you are
still smart and know the tune perfectly) and no one will think anything
of it because they can't see you. All your social inhibitions are
gone. You can do anything, because no one will know.
And you certainly won't remember !