Board decides fate of students

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 1999

At least three of the four students expelled for fighting at Natchez High School will get some kind of schooling, their attorney said Thursday.

All four students appealed their expulsion to the Natchez-Adams School Board Thursday afternoon.

School board officials declined comment on the students’ appeal hearing for privacy reasons, but attorney George F. West said his three clients would get some kind of education.

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&uot;They will not be attending traditional high school as we know it,&uot; West said. &uot;The mechanics of it we don’t understand.&uot;

The four students, along with four others, were arrested Aug. 31 on the high school campus. They were charged with disturbing the peace by fighting for allegedly participating in a gang-related fight.

Last month, a disciplinary committee decided the school board should expel the eight students until the end of the school year. Each student was permitted to appeal this ruling to the school board. Only these four were scheduled to appeal this week.

At the hearing, the board listened to each student individually while in executive session.

The mother of the student not represented by West said her son and his cousin were victims and should not be expelled.

&uot;I don’t think it’s fair – him being a victim,&uot; she said. &uot;They tried to run away and they attacked him.&uot;

West said his clients should be treated differently because they acted in self-defense. He said the punishment is inappropriate because the student handbook does not list expulsion as a possible punishment for fighting.

West said the school district’s stance on fighting was &uot;a tough call to make.&uot;

&uot;That’s going to be a hard row to hoe – get everybody off the campus who’s involved in a fight,&uot; he said.

He did not know if the families would want to appeal the decision.

Of the other four expelled students, one still has time to request an appeal and the other three were given the option of an alternative program.

Kerry Whipple contributed to this report.