by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World – Scholarship in Action
Charges were dropped against Maryanne Godboldo, a 57-year old Detroit woman who was charged with shooting at police when they came to take her daughter away. The police were there to assist Child Protective Services in their decision to take Ms. Godboldo's 13-year old daughter out of the home.
Charges were dismissed against Godboldo by Judge Ronald Giles. Giles agreed with Godboldo's attorneys, who argued that the court order to remove her daughter from the home was not valid. The judge also found that there was no evidence to support the assertion that Godboldo had fired at police.
“I am very, very happy and blessed that Judge Giles did the right thing,” Godboldo said. Maria Miller of the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said that the office plans to appeal the dismissed charges.
The case of Maryanne Godboldo reminds me of my own mother, who fought with the teachers who tried to put me in special education when I was in elementary school. I can assume that the fact that I am a college professor today means that the so-called "experts" were incorrect in their assertion of my academic potential. Had it not been for my mother being willing to break the rules to protect her child, I wouldn't be where I am today.
The misdiagnosis of African American children is a persistent problem throughout the United States. Thousands of little black boys and girls have their futures stripped away and replaced with a life of medicated mediocrity. Our mothers are our first teachers, and in many cases, they are our first protectors from the misguided efforts of the state.
At the same time, I cannot speak for the child of Ms. Godboldo. I don't know if the representatives had just cause for taking her child out of the home or if there were legitimate concerns about her care. We know that while there are many cases in which the state has abused its authority, there are quite a few others situations in which the state is exposed to serious liability for not intervening when a child needs to be protected. Most of us have read about several cases in which a child was killed or irreparably harmed by a parent right under the noses of Child Protective Services.
The issue here is that we cannot presume that those who came for Ms. Godboldo's daughter were trying to do harm to her child. Instead, it might make more sense to simply assume that they disagreed about what was best for her daughter. I find myself in admiration of Godboldo taking a stand against the power of the state. I only hope and pray that she is making the best decision for her daughter.