This should be a good day for Jayru Campbell.
The Detroit Cass Tech junior quarterback is scheduled to appear today in Wayne County Circuit Court, where he is charged with assault to do great bodily harm, a felony, and aggravated assault, a misdemeanor, for his alleged body slam of a Cass Tech security officer Jan. 22.
I’m willing to bet Campbell pleads it down to the misdemeanor charge, receives probation, receives some community service work and is ordered to undergo counseling.
Anger management counseling might be a good place to start.
Then he can return to school and … continue to violate a state law.
Campbell has been back at Cass Tech since April after initially being suspended in January.
His mere presence is a violation of a state law, but he isn’t the one necessarily breaking the law. The onus here falls on Detroit Public Schools, which allowed him to return to Cass instead of being expelled, as required by law.
The law states that: A student in sixth grade or above who physically assaults an employee must be expelled but can apply for reinstatement after 180 school days.
That begs the question: Exactly why is Campbell still a student at Cass or any other school in DPS after missing school for less than three months?
Through spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski, the district issued the following statement: “Detroit Public Schools is confident that the actions it took in allowing the return of Jayru Campbell to Cass Technical High School comply with all applicable law.”
This is not a state guideline or a state suggestion. This is a state law.
So why is DPS ignoring it?
Because it can.
According to Bob Higgins, safe schools and support project director for the Michigan Department of Education, MDE does not have anyone charged with making sure the laws are followed.
“It’s their call,” Higgins said. “The problem is there’s nobody to intervene in that unless you want to take it to court … or unless a journalist wants to make an issue of it.”
Consider it done.
Maybe I’m missing something here. Maybe there are exceptions to the law that I don’t know about, which is why DPS allowed Campbell to return.
“There are — no, actually there aren’t,” Higgins said. “I was going to say there are exceptions in the law, but there really aren’t; it’s only in the weapons law that those exist.”
The law does allow for a student to be readmitted, but only after the student is suspended 180 school days.
Let’s make one thing clear: This is not about Campbell. This is about a school district that believes it is above the law.
It is about a school district that picks and chooses which laws to follow.
Now it decides that a high-profile athlete who allegedly body slams a security officer can come back, no matter what the state law says?
Think about the message DPS is sending to students in the district. They know the only reason Campbell was allowed to return to Cass Tech is because he is a high-profile athlete who has received at least four scholarship offers from BCS schools including Michigan State, and high-profile athletes are treated differently than other students.
That is why each February DPS assembles football players signing national letters of intent and turns the affair into a media event.
The subliminal message to other students is you have to be an athlete to get out of Detroit and go to college, which is preposterous.
The message in this fiasco is that if you are a high-profile athlete as far as DPS is concerned, state laws don’t apply.