Suspensions rescinded at Sophie B. Wright, but students won’t walk during graduation, attend prom

Suspensions rescinded at Sophie B. Wright, but students won’t walk during graduation, attend prom

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Students involved in a school prank at Sophie B. Wright Charter School had their five-day suspension rescinded but they still won’t be allowed to attend prom or walk at graduation.

Parents learned of the decision Tuesday morning (April 16), when a scheduled hearing was cancelled. The five-day suspension was rescinded so students can come back to complete their senior projects.

Tracie Washington, the school’s attorney, said they can’t appeal anything else because they are “senior privileges.”

“The level of discord has only escalated in this matter. There are senior students whose final days of school are being disrupted due to this matter continuing," Washington said.

This comes after numerous students participated in a senior prank that involved water guns on April 5. School administrators said the prank caused at least two people to slip in water.

Students admitted they were warned not to participate in the prank but some said the punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Parents have said they don’t care about prom or the picnic, but instead have waited years to watch their children walk across the stage.

“None of the parents are worried about the prom or the senior activities, no one is concerned about that at all," parent Samantha Smooth said. "Our biggest concern was seeing our kids walk across the stage for graduation.”

The school was scheduled to have a hearing Tuesday morning but canceled it.

Washington said they were notified Monday night that the Southern Poverty Law Center would act as counsel for the students.

“Those students were being recruited and that SPLC planned to contest the validity of the proceedings," Washington said in an email. “For all intents and purposes, they’ve prevailed in their appeal hearing."

The dean of students will hear from parents individually to see if their student will be allowed to prom and walk at graduation, but parent Marianne Henry said whatever happens to one student, should happen to all.

“They were linked as a group, I feel they should have a hearing as a group. I could see if they were singled out, but they weren’t. All of them have the same charges. That’s divide and conquer,” Henry said.

Parents have started scheduling meetings with the dean of students.

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