- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 13, 2000


Normally, getting suspended for inciting a riot on school grounds, during a football game, would not arouse much complaint even from the expelled students, who would have to admit to themselves, at least, that they got what was coming to them. But this is not a normal world anymore and it took intervention by a federal judge to uphold the entirely justified and appropriate suspensions of six such miscreants from a Decatur, Ill. high school.
The six students not only denied their involvement (a videotape of the fight that showed the altercation in living color notwithstanding), but insisted they were being targeted because they happened to be black. The Rev. Jesse Jackson joined the irresponsible protest, filing a lawsuit against the school board. He called it "a national tragedy … of first-class jails and second-class school. We see a pattern of excess. Second, we see a pattern of arbitrariness," referring to the action taken against the six students.
U.S. District Judge Michael McCusky disagreed. "This court observed," he wrote in a 30-page opinion handed down yesterday, "that the fight involved many individuals raising havoc in the midst of a captive audience of football fans, which included parents, grandparents and children." Judge McCusky found that the students' claims to being punished unjustly were without legal merit. He affirmed the authority of school officials and rejected the argument advanced by Mr. Jackson that suspending the six students was an excessive penalty since no one was seriously hurt. Actually, it's a miracle no one was hurt badly.
Purveying drugs and physically attacking other students are two things no school can tolerate. The punishment for such actions must be appropriately severe. Judge McCusky affirmed common sense in rejecting the specious nonsense of Mr. Jackson who ought to know better. It does no one certainly not the six young toughs who need to be taught a lesson any good to gin-up a racial excuse for lawlessness.
And let's not forget the $100,000 in legal costs wasted defending the school board's sanction. Superintendent Kenneth Arndt said that money could have been used to hire two new teachers. With all his elaborate fussing about the failure of American education especially as regards minority students one would think Mr. Jackson would have preferred that money be put to better use than it was. Unfortunately, Mr. Jackson has vowed to continue the fight, so to speak announcing he may organize demonstrations to protest Judge McCusky's ruling. The Lord's work is never done.

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