By Kevin Jefferies
Paris, Texas – The Lamar County Courthouse went on lockdown just after 10am yesterday in response to a civil rights protest. As many as 400 people marched in the second such protest in as many weeks as tensions mount in the Shaquanda Cotton case. Cotton, now 15, has spent more than a year in a Texas Youth Commission facility for shoving a teacher's aide at her high school. She is sentenced to remain there until she meets rehabilitation standards or she turns 21.
Cotton's mother, Creola, says the sentence is unusually harsh and would not have been handed down if the girl was white.
The judge that sentenced the girl said the sentence was given after multiple witnesses said placing the girl back in her mother's care would not have been the best decision, and would have been the same regardless of race.
The NAACP has called for a timely release of Cotton and the Paris ISD remains under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.