Jena High School

Infobox HighSchool
name = Jena High School

motto =
established = 1920s
type = High School/Secondary Education/
head = Glen Joiner, Principal
city = Jena
state = Louisiana
country = USA
campus =
students = 515
free_label = Mascot
free = Giants
colors = Gold, Black, White
homepage = [ Jena High School]

Jena High School is a secondary school located in Jena, Louisiana, United States. The school, serving grades 9 through 12, is a part of the La Salle Parish School Board. As of 2006-2007, the school enrollment was 538 students. At Jena High School, about 10% of enrolled students are black and more than 85% are white.

The school serves the town of Jena and the unincorporated communities of Belah, Nebo, and Rhinehart.

Feeder patterns

The following schools feed into Jena High School:
* Fellowship Elementary School (grades PreK–8)
* Jena Junior High School (grades 7–8)
** Goodpine Middle School (grades 4–6)
*** Jena Elementary School (grades PreK–3)
* Nebo Elementary School (grades PreK–8)

Racial tension

Racial tensions surfaced in Jena on September 1, 2006, when hangman's nooses were discovered in a tree in the high school's campus after a black student tried to sit with white students at lunch. The principal recommended that the noose-hangers should be expelled. The board of education overruled him, and the three white student perpetrators were isolated in an alternative program. [] and then received two weeks of in-school suspension. [cite web|url=|title='Stealth racism' stalks deep South|first=Tom|last=Mangold|publisher=BBC News|date=2007-05-24] On November 30, 2006 an arson fire destroyed the main academic building at the school. On December 4, 2006 a fight broke out on campus, after which six African-American students, later dubbed the Jena 6, [cite web|url=,1,3186370.story?coll=chi-news-hed|title=Charge reduced in 'Jena 6' case|accessdate=2007-07-26|author=Howard Witt|publisher=Chicago Tribune] were arrested and charged with attempted second-degree murder. Law enforcement officers told the "Alexandria Daily Town Talk" they have found no links between the noose incident, the arson fire, and subsequent fights.

The six accused of attempted second-degree murder are black and attacked a white student after a week of intimidation between the two groups, including the one who was assaulted. [cite web|url=|title=There was White Kids that Hung Up a Noose, But It was Black Kids in the Fight|accessdate=2007-05-20|author=Jordan Flaherty] Intimidation cited includes an off-campus incident in which a white teenager responded to alleged threats by brandishing a gun. Black teenagers allegedly wrestled away the gun, and were then held in custody and charged with theft because they refused to return the gun to its owner. No charges were made against the white teenager for brandishing the firearm.cite web|url=|title=Injustice in Jena|accessdate=2007-06-11|author=Bill Quigley]

On June 26, 2007 the first day of trial for Mychal Bell, one of the defendants, the prosecutor agreed to reduce the charges for Bell to aggravated second-degree battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated second-degree battery. [cite web|url=,,-6738454,00.html|title=Charges Reduced for Student in La. Fight|first=Mary|last=Foster|publisher=Guardian Limited|date=2007-06-27] Bell was found guilty by the jury, and will face the possibility of up to 22 years in prison when he is sentenced. 150 were summoned, some of which were black citizens, but only 50, none of whom were black, reported for duty. cite web|url=|title=Jena teen's future still up in the air|accessdate=2007-09-19|date=2007-09-18] The sentencing was originally scheduled for July 30, but was delayed until September 20, 2007. cite web|url=|title=Jena 6: Mychal Bell's Sentencing Delayed|accessdate=2007-08-04|date=2007-07-29] However, on September 14, 2007, Bell's battery conviction was overturned, as Louisiana's Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Lake Charles ruled that he shouldn't have been tried as an adult. The other five students will be tried at a later date.

The town has gained international notoriety as an example of the alleged "new 'stealth' racism" that allegedly lives on in America [cite web|url=,,2083762,00.html|title=Racism goes on trial again in America's Deep South|accessdate=2007-05-20|author|The Observer] with national attention drawn to the events by a National Public Radio prime time story on July 30, 2007. [cite web|title=Beating Charges Split La. Town Along Racial Lines|url=|first=Wade|last=Goodwyn|publisher=NPR|date=2007-07-30]

John Mellencamp also released a song called "Jena" in August of 2007, which has already brought a great deal of attention to the small high school.


External links


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