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.”