Sheboygan Falls teens under fire for “gang signs” photo

SHEBOYGAN FALLS (WITI) — Three Sheboygan Falls teenagers have caught the attention of their community after being photographed for the local newspaper holding up what some have identified as gang signs.

Jordan, Juwaun and Jamal Jackson, brothers who are new to town, were being featured in the Sheboygan Falls News for playing on the same basketball team. While finalizing the article, editor Jeff Pederson had two options for the photo — the standard pose, or the goofy pose.

Pederson chose the second option saying, “I like those rather than the standing, kind of statue stuff, so I went with it.”

The teens thought nothing of the photo until they were called to the principal’s office.

“Our police liaison received a call from another police liaison, not in our school district, and said that there were some questionable signs,” said District Administrator Jean Born.

Jordan, Juwuan and Jamal Jackson (Photo courtesy Sheboygan Falls News)

Jordan, Juwuan and Jamal Jackson (Photo courtesy Sheboygan Falls News)

According to local police, the symbol Jordan was displaying can be interpreted as that of the “Bloods” gang.

As punishment, Jordan and Juwaun were suspended for one game — against the team’s arch rival, Plymouth.

The teens are adamant that they were not aware of the declared meaning of the symbols they showed and the family is appealing the decision.

An appeal may allow the boys to play until their case is reviewed. The family hopes to prove the photo was simply about having fun, and not a gang.

The ACLU put out a statement calling the situation an overreaction. They believe this is a clear sign the district is not prepared to properly deal with incidents regarding racial diversity and hope the situation can become a teaching moment.

The school says race played no factor in the punishment.

18 comments

  • Andrea Covey

    There are many details missing from this version of the article. I’m from Sheboygan, and there’s so much more. The signal in question was described by the student to represent making a 3 point shot. There was another kid, in the same paper, who is putting up a similar signal after making a 3 point shot in his photo. No one said boo about that. Oh, the other kid was white, by the way. As for “not being allowed,” the photographer ASKED the kids to do a “goofy” pic for the article, When you have a split second, are you really going to think “What is going to be something goofy, but PC and won’t make anyone mad, ever?” No. you just do something and move on. These kids are also brand new to the district. The point of the article was to show three brothers who just moved to the area and their love of basketball. Sheboygan Falls is pretty, well, white (so am I BTW). And the suspension was brought up only after ignorant members of the community complained long and hard to the super of the district. There are a lot of members of the community backing these kids, asking for the suspension to be retracted.

  • fedup

    These are NOT gang signs!! Look at numerous NBA pictures, they’re both used to signify a 3 point shot. We make such a big deal out of nothing these days, now these kids are classified as something they’re not, just because the reporter chose to use this shot instead of the standard one. So ridiculous. They don’t have a “gang mentality” they were just goofing around.

  • Overreaction

    Absolutely nothing wrong with this photo. The blood sign actually spells out the word “blood”. As far as I can tell he is doing the hand gesture for “ok” which obviously leaves up 3 fingers indicating a 3 pointer. To those who think this is ganf related you are not only ignorant but also very poorly educated on the matter so you’d be wise to keep your biggot opinions to yourself

  • zan

    In related news, people in Sheboygan Falls are afraid of black people. Also, the sky is blue and water is wet.

    This is absolutely disgraceful and horribly racist, and Sheboygan Falls, YOU KNOW IT. Shame on you, bigots.

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