This one hits a little too close to home

Brandon Rishad Thompson

(via N&R)

This is Brandon Thompson. Brandon is 18 years old and is from High Point.

Today’s N&R ran his photo as part of this story:

HIGH POINT — An 18-year-old man faces three felony charges in connection with the Monday night assault of a woman.

Brandon Rishad Thompson of 2673 Hidden Pond Cove, High Point, has been charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, first degree burglary and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill or inflict serious injury. He is being held in the Guilford County jail in High Point on a $150,000 bond.

High Point police said they responded at 8:30 p.m. to 2648 Hidden Pond Cove. There police said they found Marcia Margarita Ramos, 50, sitting on the kitchen floor. Police said it was obvious she had been assaulted, though they did not detail her injuries. Ramos remains in intensive care at High Point Regional Hospital.


Brandon was a student of mine when I taught 9th and 10th grade English at Andrews H.S. two years ago. I remember him being a good student for me. He would pay attention, he would come to class as much as possible, despite him being reprimanded in other classes and being in and out of suspension. I remember working very hard with him on his writing around the time of the 10th grade Writing Test. I remember him saying he had a challenged homelife, which was why I tried to work even harder to help him with his schoolwork. I even remember giving him lunch-money. Somedays, it would be the last dollar I had until payday, but I would never want to let a child go hungry.

It breaks my heart to see this report and to see this photo. It breaks my heart because we failed this child.

I’m actually angry. Because somewhere, somehow, something went wrong. And I’m not playing the blame game, nor am I trying to pass the buck somehow. And I honestly hope Ms. Ramos will be okay and my heart goes out to her and her family and I wish her a blessed and speedy recovery.

But there are a lot of “Brandons” out there winding up in a failed system. We MUST put a stop to this somehow. The rampant crime and robberies in our area is out of control, and much of the crime is being done by our teen population.

It has to stop. This one has hit a little too close to home.

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E.C. )


11 Responses

  1. Erik, please do not say that “we” failed this child. How is it that “we” failed him? It looks to me as though he failed himself, along with his family. I’m sorry to be insensitive here, but it is past time for our society to start holding people responsible for their actions. There have to be consequences. You obviously did everything that you could and can do as a teacher.

    At 18 years of age, he is no longer a child. By law, he is an adult. I agree that somewhere, somehow, something went wrong, but bad things are happening every day in this country committed by people of this age. It has to be stopped. There are too many victims like Ms. Ramos and Eve Carson, whose sins were being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  2. I can’t say I disagree, Stormy. I guess I was venting this morning and my heart sank when I heard about this.

  3. While we are all responsible for our actions, we must teach children how to manage difficult challenging circumstances. That often requires consistent adult intervention with keen intelligence, skill, and intuitive interest over years with love as the foundation. Adults to care for such children, whether teachers, parents, extended family members, or interested community members, are often intermittently absent from the lives of such children described here. This absence is failure. We can discuss all day whose failure this is, however, that will not solve the problem. For children, learning to live in this sometimes viscious world is not accomplished in a vacumn. So Huey, I truly understand why you said we have failed this child. To lack such understanding dooms us to more of the same. In the end we are truly all one, whether we like it or not. Time will wait for us to learn about our interconnectedness. Unfortunately, while the children do wait, potentialities of success may wither on the vine or explode into violence. We must never forget that collectively we have the tools to promote success for all children. But that does require careful thoughtful attention over time on a consistent basis.

  4. Erik,

    I fully understand your reaction. When we put so much of our self into others, and it is squandered, it is very discouraging. I do not disagree that we must continue trying to help those in need, but at some point it is all fruitless unless they want to help themselves. When a person commits acts such as these, they have crossed over into becoming a criminal. Simply, that is what they are. Society can not survive if it tolerates and enables criminal behavior.

  5. Stormy is right, Erik. You did all you could for this young man. He chose to go down the wrong road. That’ s not your fault, the school system’s fault or society’s fault — that’s his fault.

    But I understand that this one hits home. However, think of all the kids whose lives you touched who are doing well today, in part because you helped them along.

  6. Erik, no need to apologize for your reaction. It shows you truly cared for your students. I can’t help but feel the same way when I hear of more and more youth committing violent crimes. It would be different if most of these youth were coming from happy , loving homes but I think we know that’s just not the case. First and foremost their parents are failing them but when our society allows child abuse and neglect to continue we also share the blame.

    But there are no easy answers. If we were bold enough to step on parental rights and take these children away from their abusive parents, where would they all go? There are simply not enough foster or adoptive parents to go around.

  7. Thanks to you all for the supportive words. I’m blessed to know you all. It means a lot. JS, you’re right. For every challenged student I had, there was one that “made it.” And I have many I can name.

  8. Erik, please don’t think that the school board can fix these type of problems. The school board is set up to make sure our schools run effectively and those that want to learn, can indeed get a fairly decent education. Please always stay sympathetic but please, please don’t be like Deena and try to use the school board and our school children as a way to fix all the social woes of society.

    I don’t know how to fix these sad situations either but I know it’s not going to be done by a board of education or by creating some new magnet.

  9. My heart first goes out to Ms. Ramos and the Ramos family. NO ONE deserves to be treated this way. My heart also goes out to my sister, brother-in-law, and niece. They have been there for Brandan every step of the way. They have been there through the many issues at school, the cutting of class, the suspensions, enrolling in new schools, job seeking and interviews, job terminations, etc. This family consists of hard-working, goal oriented Christians. Until you have walked this road with Brandan Every step of the way, don’t judge. Brandan failed himself. It’s his birthday today and look where he has to spend his time. Sometimes, when your parents, extended family, teachers, pastors, and other members of the community can not reach you…you have to learn the hard way. What a tragedy it is to be bought up in a household full of LOVE…and show so much anger! His parents worked hard each day to provide a wonderful life for Brandan and his sister. It breaks my heart that he would misinform his teacher about having a challenged life. If you only knew! Ask some of his teachers that have seen his parents time after time. Ask GTCC about his parents trying to enroll him multiple times, only for him to cut class! I love Brandan, however, he messed up. Your family and others can try to guide you in the right direction, however, the choice is yours!!! So, for those who believe that your children are doing well, please continue to pray. They can choose the right direction or the wrong direction. In a blink of an eye, it can all be over. I hope that none of you have to experience what my siblings are having to experience. They worked to give their children the Last Dollar in their pockets, so again…you were misinformed. I can not tell you what he did with that lunch money, but I am positive he had lunch money and more. Erik, Thank YOU for being there for Brandan and encouraging him. Cathy, he’s never been abused or neglected! It’s easy for someone who is looking in from the outside to make these types of comments. On the other hand he has a sister who has been on the A/B honor roll K-11, who has received several prestigous awards, works part-time, etc. I am not comparing them, however, informing you that teens can have the same opportunities and react differently. Hanging with the wrong crowd has always been an issue for Brandan, but you are responsible for your own actions. These are his mistakes…not his parents!

  10. Nett, I am so sorry my comment misjudged Brandan’s family situation. My heart breaks for your family and I will keep you all in my prayers.

  11. WOW, what would Deena Hayes say about that which Nett just wrote? Deena Hayes always tries to blame the teachers or the principal and say they are “harder” on these children and “don’t understand their home lives”., and “suspend them more”….well tell me Ms. Hayes, what do you say about this!!??

    Thank you Nett for clarifying this story. I’m sure Brandon must have also been a good liar to get teachers to believe he had no lunch money.

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again, some kids just don’t want to learn and be educated. We have always tried to make differences in the classroom and if Deena and others would have their way they would bus kids to Timbucktoo so they could sit with more “white” kids but as Nett says, some kids chose their path no matter what was offered.

    Deena Hayes honey, wake up and see that you can stop blaming white people now. Some kids will screw up no matter how much you hand them! Look, this kid screw up all on his own accord and you can’t blame ANYONE but him!

    Brandon, I pray that someone, somewhere will say something to you to get you to see the light. May God be watching over you to help you mend your ways. Hopefully it’s not too late.

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