BVNW reacts to Ferguson jury decision

Read student and staff responses to the grand jury ruling below.


At 8:30 p.m. on Monday, the St. Louis County grand jury announced that Darren Wilson would not be charged with the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown that occurred on Aug. 9. In response to the decision not to indict Wilson, who had been an officer of the Ferguson Police Department at the time of the shooting, the city of Ferguson has erupted with anger from the community as well as the nation. Students and teachers share their perspectives on the events and discuss its relevance to the BVNW community.

Freshman Robin DeWoskin:


What is your reaction to the grand jury’s decision?

“I have mixed feelings about it, personally. If the Grand Jury doesn’t see that it should go to trial, you have to respect that because they heard every single piece of testimony and everything. I think when you strip it down, that it’s a man killed an unarmed man, and so I think that they should have taken that to trial. Also, they had so many witnesses and so many conflicting statements. Because of that, I think they should have taken it to trial and see what a public jury thought of it.”

Has there been any discussion about the decision in your family?

“We all watched everything last night. We all kind of had different opinions on it, but we didn’t go into very much. We might be discussing it somewhat tonight. My dad’s a lawyer so he just has some different views than I do. He definitely agrees with the Grand Jury, thinking that if they don’t have enough evidence it shouldn’t be going to trial.”

Has the decision made you feel any different coming to school today?

“Like President Obama said last night, our country is based on law. I don’t feel that justice was served completely, I feel bad for the Brown family, their loss was tremendous. I feel like they didn’t get justice. I don’t personally feel victimized by [the decision], but I just feel like it should have been taken farther.”


Junior Tasia Robinson


Why does this case matter to you?

“I was more focused on the racial issue, I guess. I’ve personally dealt with [racial discrimination], even though people say ‘It’s 2014, people aren’t judging you for the color of your skin,’ but it still happens…If [Brown] was white, [Wilson] would not have done what he did…I think it’s more of a racial issue. [Wilson] didn’t have to shoot [Brown] that many times, but it is kind of threatening to see a black man walking to you.”

What are your thoughts about people’s reactions to this case?

“I thought I had friends who weren’t like that, but a lot of them were like ‘Well you can’t really trust black people anyways.’ I saw so many of those tweets…It’s hard to see people who I thought I knew say such mean things.”

How should people react to this situation?

“I hope the change is for the better, not for the worse…We should instead of rioting and trying to start awful things, we should try to change this. We’ve been through this before [with similar cases]. We should bring about good change.”


Senior Dan Stilley


What is your reaction to the grand jury’s decision?

“I watched about an hour of it and had to turn it off because I was making myself too angry. I’ve tried to restrain from true judgment on either side. I think the grand jury’s decision kind of solidified some of my ideas though. I think the biggest thing is I was upset with the whole situation. One, that somebody was killed and two, that somebody’s reputation was killed over something that nobody’s even for sure what happened.”

How do you feel about the reactions of your peers?

“There are some things that I feel like people were going way too far. I feel like even if the police officer was at fault, it should be an issue of a human being was killed and not that a black male was killed or that a white cop killed a black male. I think people have gotten overly sensitive on issues such as race and things like that.”

How do you think society is going to move forward from this decision, especially with its treatment of police officers?

“I think there’s going to be a giant distrust of police officers. Probably eventually some police officer’s going to do something really courageous and something’s going to happen that will redeem police officers in our minds. I mean, I hope that happens. It’s unfortunate; I feel like the police officer’s never going to work another day in his life as a police officer. I would not be surprised if they had to put him into some sort of witness protection or something.”


Senior Raneem Issawi


What is your reaction to the grand jury’s decision?

“It doesn’t matter if [Michael Brown] was black or white, he was unarmed and he was just a kid like any other kid, basically like us, and he got shot six times. That’s messed up in whatever way you want to put it.”

What do you see that made the revolution become to be considered a riot?

“Everyone’s calling it a riot and yeah, there’s a lot of looting and people are going crazy and that’s not the way to approach this case…but I do think that America might really see a revolution, because… I don’t think the city of Ferguson is speaking up for specifically Michael Brown, but speaking up for all the minorities that have been oppressed by our failed justice system. There are aspects of it that [make it] a riot, but I think if [the city of Ferguson] responded differently…I mean this is definitely a revolution.”

How do you feel the BVNW community is responding?

“Everyone’s taking it in a way that you have to be a lawyer to talk about the things that are going on, but it’s our country and you’re a citizen and all of us are citizens so we should be allowed, and if anything, encouraged by our teachers and administration to be talking about these things and aware of what’s going on. This is something that is going to be in the history books, and one day we will be talking about this, and this might just change the fate of America. We should be talking about this, we should be talking about it in class. This is literally history [happening]  in front of our eyes.”


Social studies teacher Amy Newsum


What is your reaction to the grand jury’s decision?

“I wasn’t surprised because they canceled school last Friday for Monday and Tuesday and somebody knew I always wondered if somebody knew how this was going to come down. They almost overhyped it so much. When it comes down to it, I’m like, ‘Whoa’, but if they looked at that for all these months and that’s what they came up with I’ve got to trust them. I want to see the evidence.”

How would you relate this to the Civil Rights movement?

“To me, it was the first time your generation experienced something like this, where [my generation always heard] all the time ‘so and so’ was denied this and ‘so and so’ was denied that and you’re like ‘Wow, we’ve got to fix that’. It just hasn’t happened to that extent for so long.”