Jena High School

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Jena High School
Rsz schoolpicture.gif
Jena, Louisiana
United States
Type High School/Secondary Education/
Established 1920s
Head teacher Glen Joiner, Principal
Number of students 515
Color(s) Gold, Black, White
Rival Caldwell Parish Spartans
Buckeye Panthers
Mascot Giants
Another view of Jena High School

Jena High School is a secondary school located in Jena, Louisiana, United States. The school, serving grades 9 through 12, is a part of the La Salle Parish School Board. As of 2006-2007, the school enrollment was 538 students.

The school serves the town of Jena and the unincorporated communities of Belah, Nebo, and Rhinehart.

Feeder patterns[edit]

The following schools feed into Jena High School:

  • Fellowship Elementary School (grades PreK–8)
  • Jena Junior High School (grades 6–8)
    • Goodpine Middle School (grades 3–5)
      • Jena Elementary School (grades PreK–2)
  • Nebo Elementary School (grades PreK–8)

2006 student fight gains national attention[edit]

The high school reflects the population of the town and about 10% of its students are African Americans. At times there have been tensions between different groups of students, including some groups divided by race. Beginning September 1, 2006, several incidents in the area occurred which some observers thought were all related to racial tensions. Law enforcement investigations by parish and federal prosecutors did not support that conclusion for each incident.

On December 4, 2006 a fight broke out on campus, in which six African-American students assaulted a white student. They were arrested and five were charged with attempted second-degree murder. As prosecution of their case gained national attention because of the severity of the charges in relation to the students' ages, they were later dubbed the Jena 6.[1] The complex case and related issues have been highly controversial and eventually attracted widespread national media attention, development of a legal defense fund, and thousands of protesters at an event in support of one of the students. It is covered in full at the main article noted above, as the trials, appeals, changes in charges and subsequent sentencing have taken years to play out. These elements reflect more about the criminal justice system, racial discrimination, and media coverage than they relate specifically to this high school.

For a time the town gained international notoriety, described by the UK's The Observer as a place showing the "new 'stealth' racism" in America.[2] National attention was drawn to the events by a National Public Radio prime time story on July 30, 2007.[3] John Mellencamp released a song called "Jena" in August 2007, which referred to events at the small high school.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Howard Witt. "Charge reduced in 'Jena 6' case". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2007-07-26. 
  2. ^ Mangold, Tom (2007-05-20). "Racism goes on trial again in America's Deep South". The Observer. London. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  3. ^ Goodwyn, Wade (2007-07-30). "Beating Charges Split La. Town Along Racial Lines". NPR. 
  4. ^ Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana: Wilderness, Colony, Province, Territory, State, People, (Chicago and New York City: American Historical Society, Inc., 1925), pp. 245-246

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°41′28″N 92°07′41″W / 31.691°N 92.128°W / 31.691; -92.128