Supporters of Selina Garcia— the 17-year-old Southeast Raleigh high school student who has been in jail for three weeks following a school bus fight
— packed a Wake County courtroom Thursday.
Garcia pleaded guilty to charges of simple assault and communicating threats regarding two minor altercations in school, in which no injuries occurred.
She received credit for twenty days’ time served and may be allowed to expunge the convictions from her record down the road.
“I admit to my actions, they were wrong,” Garcia told a Wake County judge. “I know I need to set a better example, especially when I’m preaching and fighting for things to be right. I don’t like being known as this type of person and I’m ready to make this change.”
Assistant county attorney Al Singer said a placement—a group home in Burlington— had been secured for Garica, who is in foster care, but Singer said the county is open to working to find a placement for Garcia in Raleigh.
Garcia is free to leave the jail on Hammond Road where she has been held.
Courtney Fauntleroy, Garcia’s defense attorney, said that Wake County Detention Centers are not supposed to be stand-ins for foster care.
But when asked if Garcia “fell through the cracks,” Singer said “the crack was created partially because of her behavior.”
“She was in between placements and we had to find a new placement,” he said. “Efforts were made to find a new placement.”
Members of N.C. HEAT, the student advocacy group for civil rights and justice in schools, were among Garcia’s supporters, clad in green.
Several said they felt Garcia’s case was handled inappropriately by everyone involved.
“One thing that’s not being talked about here is the criminalization of youth of color,” said Sanyu Gichie. “Selina is a youth of color and she has been targeted by officers, by school administrators and even the principal."
“Selina is a good person,” Gichie continued. “She wants to make sure other students are not in her same situation. She should never have been in prison and the fact of the matter is, the foster care system is broken.”