Austin Students Avoid Expulsion After Gulf Shores Incident

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - A group of Austin High School athletes can breathe easier today. They will not face expulsion in connection with an incident at a Gulf Shores track meet. Police say one of those athletes stole a car. Superintendent Ed Nichols sent the team home after the incident.

The students were in Gulf Shores for a state track meet earlier this month. One of the students is accused of stealing a car from a popular bar and restaurant. He was arrested a short time later, and Nichols ordered the entire team to return home.

"So bringing the team home was my decision due to the fact that the information we received from the Gulf Shores Police Department was that nobody, not the folks directly involved or other members of the team who had knowledge of it were very cooperative," Nichols said.

He says the school system placed the teacher on administrative leave and sent the students to an alternative school.

"You know, we followed our code of conduct, and we had a discliplinary hearing in my office and decided first of all that we didn't think with all the information that we had that a recommendation for expulsion for any of the students was really relevant," Nichols told WHNT News 19.

In fact the senior students were allowed to graduate, and following the outcome of the investigation, the school system returned the teacher to duty.

"Just because an incident gets a lot of publicity doesn't mean that it is different than other incidents that occur that don't get that much publicity," Nichols explained.

Nichols says in keeping with school board policy, details of each student's punishment regarding the incident would not be made public. He says they are reviewing their policy regarding adult supervision for future trips such as this.


  • Michael

    I gotta know what he means by the students weren’t “cooperative.” If by cooperative he means they didn’t answer questions by the police then I say good for them. I wouldn’t have “cooperated” either. If something else, please let me know.

  • Nuclear Mike

    Our young people are paying the price for their parents not being there as our Society is unsuccesful instilling honor & integrity in our next generation.

  • Donna Garner Screws

    I hope the kids have at least a valuable lesson that will deter future wrong doings. However,kids today have no respect for authority. Allowing or watching a criminal act garners you as an accomplish. Most laws allow that to be sufficient to convict you of pending charges in a court of law. By not cooperating shows a lack of respect for the law as for the lack of respect of authority. I can understand being scared…I also understand not wanting to give up a friend….But as the poster earlier said. Stealing a car is matter what type of family life or influence one might have. Had these students been just a little older they all could have been charged equally. Just hope that a little grace of second chances gives them an opportunity to get their mind right and lets hope become better decision makers in the future.

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