TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — A 15-year-old girl is back in school after the state School Board reversed her expulsion.
Channel 2 Action News was there in July when the Troup County NAACP claimed Black students were being punished more harshly than others.
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Con’iya Williams is glad to be back in school months after it looked like she lost her chance for good.
“It was very depressing. My mind was everywhere,” Williams told Channel 2′s Michael Doudna.
Back in February, she made a mistake.
She threw her phone at another student, but hit a teacher in the face instead, giving her a concussion.
“After that, I have been out of school ever since,” Williams said.
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Initially, a tribunal suspended her for 10 days, but didn’t expel her because they said Williams didn’t intentionally try to hurt a teacher.
But Williams’ mother, Constance, says that wasn’t good enough for the principal.
“He stated, ‘I’m not satisfied with the ruling,’ this and that, and (said) I’m going to request it to have it appealed,” Constance Williams said.
Days later, the school board reversed the tribunal’s decision, expelling Williams and banning her from school events.
“It felt like they took my freedom away,” Williams said.
They called the NAACP and got a lawyer who sent a brief to the state board of education, saying the penalties were unprecedented.
“There was no other case that we could find where that punishment was administered for a similar act,” said attorney Andrew Lampros.
Last week, the state Board of Education reversed the expulsion, saying the Troup County School Board violated Williams’ due process rights and giving her a second chance to return to school.
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“I’m going to prove the Troup School System wrong. I’m going to graduate early, and I’m going to be done. I’m going to be done,” Williams said.
In a statement to Channel 2 Action News saying:
After reviewing the State Board of Education’s decision, it is acknowledged that the student threw a cell phone at another student and hit a teacher in the face. The teacher sustained a black eye and a mild concussion and required medical attention.
However, based on the decision, the Troup County School System will abide by the State Board’s decision.
The Troup County School System remains firmly committed to protecting the safety of all its employees and students.
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