Athens City Schools statement regarding recent events at Athens High School
Note: The following release contains updated information regarding the Thursday, April 10 arrests at Athens High School.
ATHENS, Alabama, April 11, 2019 --- Athens City Schools is saddened by the events of April 10, 2019. Athens City Schools does not condone violence or discrimination of any kind. This is not who we are as a school system or a community.
On Tuesday, April 9, five students were disciplined for disrupting a class at Athens High School. The students were initially told they would be suspended, and this suspension would have implications for upcoming prom and graduation events. This was upsetting to both the parents and the students.
Parents of four of the students met with Athens High School interim principal Dr. Rick Carter Tuesday afternoon to discuss the punishment and suspension. The parents of the fifth student had a meeting Wednesday with the principal, Dr. Rick Carter. Shortly after the meeting began, the mother was asked to leave the school due to the use of inappropriate language and hostile behavior. The father of the student and Dr. Carter continued the meeting, resolving the situation. While Dr. Carter and the father were meeting, the mother slipped back into the school through the secured doors as someone was leaving the building. At that point, she was trespassing. She began inciting violence among the students. She was stopped by the Student Resource Officer (SRO) who proceeded to arrest her. As he was attempting to carry out the arrest, she resisted. Students who were observing the arrest then inserted themselves into the situation and attempted to disrupt the arrest.
Athens Police arrested four people for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Both charges are misdemeanors. Three of the four are students.
School video is being reviewed by the Athens Police Department as part of the ongoing investigation. Police Chief Floyd Johnson is asking anyone who witnessed the altercation to contact the department if they have not already spoken with an officer. The school system will be working with the Athens Police Department to address safety concerns on campus.
Although the video being shown on social media is very disturbing, it does not show the entire incident. As a school system, we strive to teach students respect, acceptance and tolerance. Sadly, this incident does not depict the values of Athens High School or the Athens City School System.
The school system is also aware of a discriminatory social media post made by an Athens High School student in the wake of yesterday’s incident. Athens City Schools is investigating, and appropriate measures will be taken.
Dr. Holladay met with a group of parents and students who were involved in the events of this week. He assured those parents and students that Athens City Schools will be compassionate and vigilant as these issues are addressed in the coming days.
As a precaution, there will be an increased police presence at Athens High School for the remainder of the week.
We are proud of our motto, “A Community Connected by Education.” We believe in this statement. We see it lived out every day in our schools. Our teachers love our students and work every day for their well being. The negativity brought on by the events this week will not define Athens High School. Athens High School will continue to stand for excellence; continuing to protect, educate and prepare our students for bright and productive lives.