ATLANTA — Students walked out of an Atlanta high school Wednesday in protest after the administration forfeited their upcoming football playoff game.
Administrators at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate made the decision after a fight during last week’s game against Hapeville Charter.
“They hit one of the parents in the face and then they attacked the boys,” parent Sandy Hooks said.
Parents said spectators from the other side started the fight when they attacked a few football players, and even school administrators admitted the fighting on KIPP's end was in self-defense.
“It's actually really hard for us to tell how the extent of our players participation because some of it was in self-defense,” the school’s executive director, Kinnari Patel-Smyth, said.
Administrators said during that fight, property was destroyed and police had to get involved to break it up.
Patel-Smyth said despite the fact that the fight was in part self-defense, the students involved made a bad choice. Forfeiting Friday’s game is only one of several punishments they'll face.
“Our code of conduct was broken, and we were there and we made some poor choices. We’re about high standards, and standing up to excellence means that we had to make this hard decision,” she said.
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Angry parents told Channel 2’s Liz Artz only a small group was involved, not the entire team, and they don’t believe it’s fair to punish everyone.
“Everybody is being punished -- the band is being punished, the cheerleaders are being punished, and these boys, they worked so hard,” Hooks said.
Parents said it’s the first time in history that the team has made it to the playoffs, and now their children aren’t getting a chance to play.
“It's something that they earned and they worked very hard for over the course of time and this is something they should be able to participate in,” parent Nichelle Miller said.
Students staged the walkout Wednesday morning after their jerseys were taken away. The team was supposed to play Banks County Friday night.
Parents planned to take their concerns to the school board and are hoping to get the decision overturned by Friday.
Cox Media Group