Profile of Cedric Penn

Document Date: December 15, 2003

Cedric Penn, age 15, is a 9th grader at Stratford High School who was standing in the main hallway of the school when the police stormed in to conduct the raid. Cedric thought the school was being attacked by terrorists when he saw policemen running into the hallway with their guns drawn. ""They just stormed in, like there was some riot or something,"" said Cedric.

He dropped to his knees in front of a glass wall after the police ordered him to do so, and remained there for the duration of the search. He feared that he might die. He thought that the police would not draw guns unless they meant to use them. Cedric was also afraid that the police dog would bite him. Cedric is not usually afraid of dogs, but he knows that police dogs are trained to attack.

Cedric also felt humiliated when he looked through the glass wall and saw mostly White children laughing at him and the other detained students, almost all of whom were African-American. Cedric does not enjoy going to school as much as he used to because he is afraid that there will be another raid. He feels nervous at school and worries about what the police might do. He sleeps only a few hours a night and has nightmares about the raid. He is exhausted from the lack of sleep but cannot stop thinking about the raid. He has tried talking to his pastor at church to help him control his fears, but he cannot stop imagining the raid over and over again.

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