School Suspensions Lead to Legal Challenge
CHOCOWINITY, N.C. — As school let out one day in January 2008, students from rival towns faced off. Two girls flailed away for several seconds and clusters of boys pummeled each other until teachers pulled them apart.
The fistfights at Southside High School involved no weapons and no serious injuries, and in some ways seemed as old-fashioned as the country roads here in eastern North Carolina. But the punishment was strictly up-to-date: Sheriff’s deputies handcuffed and briefly arrested a dozen students. The school suspended seven of them for a short period and six others from the melee, including the two girls, for the entire semester.