Education

Parents disappointed in school board’s handling of noose incident

Dwana Haley expresses her disappointment in still not having some questions answered after attending Stone County School Board meeting in Wiggins on Monday evening. The board went into executive session and discussed the matter of a white student placing a noose on the neck of a black student. Once they were out of closed session, the board went on to other matters without bringing up the noose incident.
Dwana Haley expresses her disappointment in still not having some questions answered after attending Stone County School Board meeting in Wiggins on Monday evening. The board went into executive session and discussed the matter of a white student placing a noose on the neck of a black student. Once they were out of closed session, the board went on to other matters without bringing up the noose incident. ttisbell@sunherald.com

A dozen or so parents left the Stone County School Board meeting Monday without hearing any details about the investigation into a noose incident at the high school.

Although the agenda said parent April Parker was going to address the board, an attorney stood and said he was there on behalf of Justin Parker and asked to talk to the board in executive session. After a brief executive session of its own, the board granted the request.

Board attorney Sean Courtney would say only that the closed session was being held to discuss a student.

Several administrators went in and out of the session without commenting, and the boy’s attorney refused to comment before or after the session.

Allegations that three white students put a noose around the neck of a black student and pulled it tight Oct. 13 near the football locker room have roiled the small town and surrounding county. School officials say one student was kicked off the team and another received unspecified punishment.

Most of those gathered outside during the executive session said there is more to the story.

“I really want to know what the school — how they are dealing with it,”said Dwana Haley, who has two children in high school. “Undoubtedly, they are seeing the kid who did the noose is (solely) responsible.

“I would like to know why they feel that way because in the world it doesn’t work that way.”

She said all involved, and their parents, share responsibility.

She said most children get along.

“My kids have white friends, black friends,” she said. “But when you have a group of kids, you’re going to have one, two or five or six of them get out of order.

“My kid even had a fight in ninth grade with a white kid ... because he called another kid a n-----.”

Such racial epithets are not unusual at the school, she said.

Althea McDonald believes some children are taught racial hatred.

“Come on, in this day and time, he doesn’t know anything about a noose,” she said. “He was taught that, to bring it to school and put it around a child’s neck.”

Most of the men in the crowd said it was business as usual for the school board.

“We came here to find out what’s going on and they’re not about to tell us,” said Albert Parker, who has grandchildren in the school system. “We heard they were going to discuss everything, but we knew what to expect.”

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