LATHROP – What is popular isn’t always right.
On this particular spring day the popular thing was pulling out your camera phone and recording a fellow student get trounced in the parking lot after school. A blow to the head knocked her to the concrete and could have yielded disastrous results.
And what’s right isn’t always popular.
Instead of whipping out her camera phone, Asianaya Jones knew that throwing herself into the fray and onto the back of the much bigger aggressor was the right thing to do, even if it put her personal safety into jeopardy. The girl turned and looked at her – Jones is athletic but in no way overpowering – and told her to stop, but she took the unpopular stance and stood up for the person who was being beaten up.
Local police responders and Lathrop High School administrators have hailed the 15-year-old athlete with a 4.2 GPA a “hero,” but those same students upset that she ruined their YouTube videos have taken a condescending tone when offering their support.
“They come up to me and say, ‘Good job, hero’ and you can tell that they don’t mean it,” she said. “I’ve got the support of my close friends who all said that they’d do the same thing and my family that came out to my soccer game the day that all of this went down. The support has been great from those that know and love me.”
It takes less than five minutes with this young woman to discover why she felt the overwhelming urge to step up and do something. She breaks it down as a simple part of her upbringing where her parents stressed the importance of right and wrong.
Knowing that floored Detective Jeff Watson, and hearing about it in action was enough for him to think up the special award that also came with a $100 gift card and a $50 voucher for dinner at Lathrop’s Mikasa. The Lathrop Deputy Sheriff’s Association donated the card.
“She played such a big role in single-handedly getting that situation to stop, even though people might not have wanted it to,” Watson said. “It’s amazing that we still have students that have a sense of what is right and wrong.”
The accolades kept coming.
“Asianya, what you did is not something that normal people do when they’re faced with that situation,” Councilman Steve Dresser said. “They’re faced with a situation and they do nothing. You saw somebody that needed help and you helped them, and that’s all that anybody can ever ask of you.”
Vice Mayor Omar Ornelas held Jones up as an example of the types of students that Lathrop High School – and its elementary schools – that have to their credit gone far beyond what would be considered an ordinary reaction.
“This is an honor for the City of Lathrop and it shows the other cities around us where our kids are going and where our teens and our youth are headed.”
The events that culminated with Jones walking out of City Hall with that award created somewhat of a whirlwind experience. But the relatively simple teenager was just happy that she was able to do what was right – even if some people don’t see it that way.
“My family was supportive and my true friends all told me that they wish they could have jumped in there to break that up,” she said. “You see what’s happening and you want to do something to change it and sometimes that’s not what people want to see you do.
“I’ve got the support of my family and the administrators at school and my friends and now this community. I’m thankful for that. It means a lot.”