Parents petition Athens school board to reinstate students

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ATHENS, Ala. – Thursday evening was the first time Athens City School Board members met since a parent and three students were arrested at Athens High School last week. Several people showed up to the meeting, urging the school board to reinstate two students who are suspended.

The incident began with five students who were suspended after the principal said they were being disruptive.

Parents were urging the board to let the kids come back and walk in next month’s graduation.

“We have a substitute teacher, we’re going to have a little fun today. That’s what those kids were doing,” Athens resident Maurice Dawson said.

“They should’ve never been given a 20-day suspension and the parents would’ve never come up there,” Athens resident Amber Kirby said.

One week after a troublesome situation turned worse, parents and neighbors showed up to an Athens City School Board meeting for what they viewed as unfinished business.

“They’ve worked hard for 13 years to get to this point and they want to walk with their peers,” Kirby said.

Three students and a parent were arrested after a fight with Athens police at the high school. The fight happened after parents were meeting with principal Rick Carter to ask for a lighter punishment for five seniors.

“This stuff should’ve been put to bed from the beginning. But we let this situation linger on,” Dawson said.

Board members say they couldn’t comment on the situation. Superintendent Trey Holladay says of the two students still on suspension, one may require a special hearing. Parents are urging the board to let all of the seniors attend May’s graduation.

“We’ll have a resolution on the students well before graduation. We expect to have that by the end of next week,” Holladay said.

People attending the meeting say the suspended seniors have completed the requirements to graduate, the question remains will both of them be allowed to wear the caps and gowns for commencement on May 23.

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