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School board compromise criticized

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WYNNE (KATV) - One side says it was ill-advised horseplay.  The other claims there was ill-intent.

A school board was left Wednesday night to decide the immediate futures of two white junior high football players accused of putting a rope around a black teammate's neck.

More than 200 gathered in Wynne for a school board meeting with only one item on the agenda…deciding discipline for two students.

After expulsion for the remainder of the school year is recommended, parents of the two accused join board members for what will be a two-and-a-half hour executive session.

Everyone is left to wait and wonder…including the mother of the 14 year-old targeted in this incident.

Eventually the board votes to expel the students for the rest of the semester…not the rest of the year.

Wynne Superintendent Carl Easley reads a prepared statement as audience members upset with the board's decision noisily file out.

"The families of the two students expelled would like to apologize to the Wynne community, the school district and all students involved for the embarrassment and heartache they have caused," reads Superintendent Easley.

Outside objections are voiced…often shouted.  We visit with Tresha Light, an aunt to the 9th grader involved.

"What would have satisfied the family is if the two young men would have been expelled for the year," explains Light.  "That would have been the right thing."

No explanation as to exactly what happened inside the Jr. High locker room before practice last week is given.

Speculation varies from horseplay with a towel to an assault with a noose.

"I cannot comment on that," answers Superintendent Easley when asked if an actual noose was involved in the incident.  "That is a student discipline matter and I will not comment on the details of what happened."

"He said at first they built a dummy and hung the dummy up and then they got Mickey and tried to put the rope around his neck when him and another young man come into the locker room," explains Light when asked what her nephew's friend has told her about the incident.

Back inside Superintendent Easley finished reading his statement to a much smaller audience.

"It is time to put this behind us and learn from it and move on," Easley read.  "The Wynne school district is and will continue to be a safe place for our students."

The Wynne police department looked into this incident and determined that nothing criminal took place.

Five other 9th grade football players were suspended for their role in the locker room incident.

Air date:  October 4th, 2012