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Wynne Investigation, case of poor judgment or hate crime?

(KATV) Morethan three hours of executive session results in the expulsion of 2Cross County junior high school students. The vote by the WynneSchool Board followed an investigation by school Superintendent CarlEasley into allegations of locker room shenanigans gone too far.

Allbut about 2 minutes of this 3 plus hour board meeting took placebehind closed doors, in private, in executive session. That left thecrowd of more than 200 left to wait and wonder what was going on.

Racialtensions in this cross county city have risen since a group of whitejunior high football players were accused of putting a rope or towelaround the neck of a black teammate.

Theincident occurred last week and resulted in the suspension of 7students. But a stiffer penalty, expulsion, was recommended by theSuperintendent and required a vote by the school board.

Ineach case, after extended executive session involving a parent orrepresentative of each student, the board voted to follow thesuperintendent's recommendation and kick the accused out for theremainder of this semester.

Thevictim's aunt, Tresha Light told Channel Seven that she was told the(white) teenager hung a dummy before putting the noose around hernephews neck.

TheWynne police department investigated the matter and determined nocrime has occurred.

When members of the school board brought us that no one was injured, family and supporters of the victim walked out of the room.

Story from 5 p.m. newscast:

(KATV) Wynne - Is it a case of poor judgment or a hate crime? That is the question an Arkansas school board will be wrestling with Wednesday night.

It happened last week, and involved junior high football players in cross county. It will come to a head Wednesday night in Wynne.

Last week some white football players put a towel or a rope around the neck of a African American teammate prior to practice. Nobody got hurt and the police interviewed all involved and determined no crime had been committed.

Was it kids being kids and an ill-advised poorly thought out case of locker-room humor?

Five students involved have already been suspended. Two are being recommended for expulsion.

The Wynne school board is meeting where Superintendent Carl Easley will share the findings of his investigation into this incident. Board members will then have to decide if the recommended punishment for the white students being kicked out of school fit the offense.

You can find hundreds of opinions on this situation on local message boards. Here are a couple of them:

"The kids are all friends...good kids. I agree they should not play that way, it was not a racial act. All the kids involved thought it was funny. But they should be disciplined, it was horseplay that went too far. They are all friends, and will continue to be if the adults will not make this a big deal."

Another comment reads: "Friends don't hang friends. Hanging of anyone, especially a black, is considered a hate a crime. These children need to be punished and the law should be involved in this matter... not the local, but the FBI."

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