Friday, October 12, 2007

Parents await Oxford board’s decision on punishment given to their children


OXFORD — Parents of two Oxford Middle School students await the Oxford school board’s decision on their children’s punishment in connection with what the parents say were membership rituals in an unauthorized group, involving slapping and hitting with a belt.

The school board met in closed sessions with the parents of two children from 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss previous disciplinary actions the school had taken against the students.

The school board hearings were the result of the parents’ dissatisfaction with the school’s discipline of their children.

The matter has drawn the attention of Birmingham-based Citizens for Better Schools, who met with the parents Wednesday night. The group announced they would investigate perceptions of disparity in discipline due to race.

Erica Cunningham, the mother of one of the children, said after Thursday’s hearing that the board told her she would be notified of its recommendation in a letter.

The circumstances of the incident that led to the disciplinary actions and the disciplinary actions themselves could not be officially verified because student records are private and school officials cannot comment because of privacy concerns.

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