A 12-year-old girl, Laporshia Massey, died as a result of an asthma attack last month hours after being sent home sick from her Philadelphia school. Due to budget cuts, there was no school nurse on duty.
According to Parents United for Public Education,
[box type=”shadow”]Our hearts are breaking over the death of beautiful 12-year-old Bryant Elementary student Laporshia Massey, who died following an asthma attack that apparently started at school. We grieve for her entire family and the Bryant community.
According to the City Paper, Laporshia became ill during the school day. No nurse was scheduled. Laporshia called a family member, telling her repeatedly, “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” A staff person drove the sixth grader home.
Watch this video from The Real News:
Just the other day, we ran an article about “Formal Articles of Impeachment” written by a Teabagger, and posted on redflagnews.com. These articles may or may not have been a sincere attempt at the real thing…it’s hard to say. They were shot through with Faux News screaming points, and in no way legitimate.
But, in the spirit of this masterwork of private indictments, we here at AATTP would like to issue one of our own — charges against Pennsylvania’s Republican Governor Tom Corbett and his codpiece William Hite for hate crimes and the Voluntary Manslaughter of one Laporshia Massey.
STATE OF FLORIDA
COUNTY OF MARION
Special Grand Jury of Americans Against the Tea Party
Constitutional Citizens’ Court of America
Pursuant to FRCP 6(e) and Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), also recently cited by the Tea Party to assemble an impeachment committee for president Obama, we here at AATTP hereby assemble a citizens’ jury to bring charges against the following:
Governor Tom Corbett and Superintendent William Hite (accessory)
Involuntary Manslaughter and violations of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act relating to the death of Laporshia Massey, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 25th, 2013.
III. Circumstances of Death
On the aforementioned date, 12-year-old sixth-grader Laporshia left for Philadelphia’s Bryant Elementary school. Early in the day, Laporshia (a known asthma sufferer like her father, Daniel Burch) complained that she “wasn’t feeling well.” Throughout the day, Laporshia’s asthma symptoms got worse and worse — enough that any trained medical personnel would have immediately recognized them for what they were. Toward the end of the day, Burch’s fiance (a volunteer at Bryant) received a call from Laporshia; “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” she said.
Burch believed that the school was monitoring his daughter, and that they would treat her with an emergency inhaler, or take her to the hospital, if the symptoms became life-threatening. He was wrong. Laporshia’s teachers (aware of the girl’s plight, but untrained in recognition or treatment of medical disorders) told her that ‘school was almost out,‘ and ‘she’d get out of school and go straight home.’
True to their word, a staff member drove Laporshia home. When Laporshia arrived home at about 3:15 P.M., she ran in a panic up the steps and to the nebulizer machine in her room, gasping for air. But it was too late. Seeing the nebulizer treatment wasn’t working, Burch put his daughter into the car, and left to rush her to the emergency room.
But, to no avail; the girl lost consciousness in the car on the way to the hospital. Burch immediately flagged down a passing ambulance in the middle of traffic. The ambulance rushed her to the hospital, but Laporshia’s body had been too long without oxygen. She died at the Childrens’ Hospital of Philadelphia.
Burch’s question after the fact was, quite understandably “Why didn’t they take her to the hospital?“
It is our contention that the actions of Governor Tom Corbett directly precipitated Laporshia Massey’s death in such a way that they may be classified as ‘Involuntary Manslaughter.’ It is our contention that School Superintendent Thomas Hite is an accessory to the same, and that both may be sentenced under the hate crimes provisions given in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
V. Reason for Accusation
Immediately after taking office in 2011, Tom Corbett was faced with a budget deficit of about $4 billion. Corbett’s proposed budget cut about $1 billion from the state’s funding, though the final budget passed cut about $961 million. Roughly ONE THIRD of those cuts — about $320 million — came solely from the budget of Philadelphia’s school district.
Corbett knew well what impact this cut would have on Philadelphia’s school system, and he and sycophant William Hite very nearly shut down the city’s entire school system with the cuts. And that’s exactly what would have happened, had Philadelphia’s Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter not pledged $50 million in funding to keep the school system operating.
But that wasn’t enough to keep everyone on payroll; school nurses were cut from five days a week down to two days. Laporshia had the misfortune of dying on one of the three days that there were no nurses available to diagnose and treat her condition far earlier in the day. Laporshia’s death was a matter of minutes — and all of those minutes were lost because of Tom Corbett’s malicious, self-serving budget cuts.
VI. A Case for Voluntary Manslaughter
Tom Corbett did not need to cut the funding that cost Laporshia her life. In fact, the Philadelphia school system’s entire $320 million budget shortfall could have easily been covered by the $538 million in state revenue lost after Corbett offered massive tax breaks to Pennsylvania’s Oil and Gas industry. In no uncertain terms, Corbett stole the money intended for Philadelphia’s children and handed that — and much more — to corporate interests in his state.
This reallocation of state funds shows a measure of intent on Corbett’s part, and it is our contention that Corbett’s corporate ties engendered a greed that could “cause a reasonable person to become emotionally or mentally disturbed.” In this way, greed blinded Corbett to his obligations to students like Laporshia, depriving them of emergency medical personnel and directly contributing to her death. At the very least, this may be construed as willful neglect; however, because of the element of intent involved, it is the will of the Constitutional Grand Jury of AATTP that Corbett should be first tried for Voluntary Manslaughter, accepting a plea of involuntary manslaughter if malicious intent cannot be proven.
VII. Sentencing as a Hate Crime
Should Republican Governor Tom Corbett be found guilty of any crime aforementioned, or she he accept a plea to any lesser crime, the Constitutional Grand Jury will pursue sentencing as a hate crime under the guidelines given in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
Corbett is himself white, as is about 82% of Pennsylvania’s population. On the whole, only 18% of Pennsylvania’s population maintains Minority status. Compare this to Philadelphia, which bore the brunt of Corbett’s economic persecution and which has a minority population of approximately 59%. That is more than three times the state average. As Laporshia was herself African American, and in an area seemingly deliberately targeting because of its high minority demographics, it is our contention that Corbett’s act of manslaughter qualifies as a hate crime under the MSJB Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
VIII. Suggested Sentencing
While the Special Grand Jury of Americans Against the Tea Party, drawing its authority from the Constitutional Citizens’ Court of America, is content to allow a State Court to follow the sentencing guidelines for the aforementioned crimes committed by Corbett and his accessory, William Hite, we do not feel that the current sentencing guidelines act in the best interests of justice in this case.
As is the nature of justice, to restore the balance of right and wrong, we feel that an appropriate punishment for this crime would be for those convicted to be choked to death over the course of eight hours. Time will be permitted every 30 minutes for those convicted to cry out for help, but no one who can help will be paid or permitted to attend the execution(s).