District investigates AJHS scuffle

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Brookhaven School District is conducting an in-houseinvestigation into an incident at Alexander Jr High School lastweek involving several students and a teacher.

No complaint has been filed with the superintendent’s office byparents of students involved in the incident.

Brookhaven School Superintendent Lea Barrett said Tuesday she isstill compiling details about the incident and cannot discuss thespecifics.

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Relatives of students involved report that Thursday afternoon(May 18) a teacher became angry after a student made a derogatorycomment about the teacher’s mother.

According to Audrey Fields, the aunt of one of the students, andEstell Maxwell, the grandmother of another of the students, theteacher allegedly picked up a stool and threw it at a crowd ofstudents, then grabbed a student by the neck.

Brookhaven School officials say that account of the allegationhas not previously been brought before the superintendent’soffice.

“That is not remotely close to the complaint I heard from Mr.(James) Tillman,” Barrett said. Mr. Tillman is an assistantsuperintendent of Brookhaven Schools.

However, school officials are still trying to determine whatoccurred, she said.

“We’re still investigating that incident,” Barrett said. “Rightnow, there is nothing to substantiate that allegation.”

School officials are currently in the process of speaking tostudents, teachers and to a security official on duty at the time,Barrett said.

Several students were arrested after the incident and are thestudents have not been allowed back on campus to take their finalexams, according to Maxwell and Fields.

“They couldn’t go back and get their tests,” said Maxwell. “Ifthey don’t take their final exams, they will fail.”

The DAILY LEADER has not been able to confirm the arrestsbecause a police department spokesman was not available forcomment, but school policy does requires students be taken to thepolice department following all altercations.

School officials say that school policy is being followed.

“It is our policy that if there is a fight, we bring students tothe jail and their parents pick them up from there,” Barrettsaid.

School officials will not currently describe the nature of theincident, but do not believe there is sufficient evidence tosubstantiate the allegation.

“Certainly, the Brookhaven School District doesn’t allowteachers to assault students. But nothing is substantiating that atthis time,” Barrett said. “We’re going to do everything in ourpower to investigate that allegation.”