If the idea of prosecution is to deter people from committing an offense again, it doesn't look like that's happening for at least some of the people who pleaded guilty on Friday to disrupting Wake County school board meetings in 2010.
As noted in today's article, protesters who spoke to the media after entering guilty pleas were defiant. They said they were proud of their actions and would be prepared to be arrested again if they don't like how the new school board or future boards are acting.
"We now are able to go back to the school board to speak again," said the Rev. Nancy Petty, pastor of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. "And if we sense that they're headed off as the old board did, we will follow our conscience again and we will do what is necessary to protect our children and to keep our community involved in this conversation."
The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, was also adamant in his defense of their actions that led to their arrests.
"We are guilty of standing for children and we're proud of it," Barber said. "We are guilty of standing for constitutional education. We are guilty of wanting equal educational opportunities for every child. We are guilty of standing against processes that would lead to resegregation and regression. We are guilty of trespassing against wrong and we are proud of it.
Our civil disobedience, we are proud of it. And if our civil disobedience was engaged in in order to draw attention to a greater violation. The principle of civil disobedience is when you're willing to break a lesser law because you believe that some persons or system is breaking a greater law, and we believe the former majority was walking all over the constitution and all over history.
But it should also be known today that the former majority is guilty. They are guilty of trying to take us backwards as a state and as a county. They are guilty of trespassing on the constitution. Remember, they were found guilty of violating the Open Meetings Law. Remember they said on camera, their former chair called people who were trying to speak out 'Animals coming out of their cages.' They're guilty of that.
They are guilty of trying to shut down public opinion, and it was because they were guilty of all those things that we chose to engage in civil disobedience. Our guilt is redemptive and we are honored to do community service. Our guilt is redemptive. Their guilt is shameful. Our effort brought people together. Their plans are already falling apart."
Barber continued to criticize the former board majority throughout the press conference.
"We are proud today to be found guilty of standing for righteousness," Barber said. "This kind of guilt is redemptive. What the former majority was guilty of is shameful.
Barber took credit for last fall's school board election results.
"Our moral outcry worked to sensitize the public's conscience," Barber said. "The public responded through their organizing and electoral power by removing the majority that was engaging in regressive public education policies."
Barber also said that they had accepted mediation prior to the last fall's board elections. He blamed the former board majority for rescinding the offer.
Assistant District Attorney Steven Saad said he was notified in late October by the attorneys for the protesters that they were interested in mediation. That would put it between the Oct. 11 general election and the Nov. 6 runoff election.