(Wynne, AR) Two students have been expelled for one semester from Wynne Junior High School, while five others were suspended. They were accused of tying a noose around a football teammate's neck and dragging him around the locker room.
The 14-year-old victim, who is African American, told friends and family this incident happened in the locker room of Wynne High School on Monday, Sept. 24.
The football team belongs to Wynne Junior High, and they often use the high school's athletics facilities.
The accused students, who are Caucasian, were the subject of a special call meeting Wednesday night.
Each student and his family had the choice of speaking publicly about what happened, or speaking to the board in private. Both families chose to meet in private, leaving the hundreds of attendees waiting for results for three-and-a-half hours.
At 9:30p.m., the Wynne Public Schools board voted four-to-one to expel both students for one semester, instead of the one year recommended by administration.
The superintendent, Carl Easley, then proceeded to read a statement to the audience, which included apology from the families involved.
"They apologize for the embarrassment to the school district. They apologize for any embarrassment and heartache they have caused the students," read Easley.
But the 14-year-old victim's family did not stay to hear the rest of the statement. They stormed out of the building and into the parking lot, with many of the people who had come to support them.
"I refuse to accept this. This is not right. And it is racial. That's the way I feel about it," said the child's mother.
Others shouted, "Justice has not been served!"
The boy's aunt, Tresha Light, said, "He'll never forget that, never. It will always haunt him to know he was done that way."
News Channel 3 interviewed a friend of the victim, who is on the same football team. The friend, who wants to remain anonymous, walked into the locker room right after the alleged incident.
He said that he could see a scratch on the boy's neck. The boy was upset and told everyone they had put a noose around his neck.
"Plenty of my friends went up and asked them what happened...they wouldn't tell us."
The victim's family mentioned they might retain a lawyer.