Springfield board pressured to reveal punishment for ‘Black Lives Matter’ incident on playground

SPRINGFIELD — Some residents put pressure on Springfield City School board members Thursday night to say what happened to the black students accused of forcing white students to kneel on the playground at Kenwood Elementary in mid-February and say “Black Lives Matter.”

>> PREVIOUS: Watch what happens on playground at Kenwood Elementary in Springfield

Board President Chris Williams told those in attendance at the school board meeting that state and federal laws stop the board from releasing the names of the accused or releasing any other identifying information about them, such as an address.

All he could do, he said, was to read a statement about the incident in mid-February.

That didn’t sit well with Mike Valley, who has no children enrolled in Springfield schools. He said the issue compelled him to speak to the board.

“It’s important that our kids go to school and not live in fear of being humiliated,” he said. “These children were humiliated.”

No one asked for any personal information, Valley said. All he wanted to know was whether the accused were being held accountable.

News Center 7′s Kayla McDermott asked board President Williams if the media or public are ever going to learn whether the accused children have been expelled or sent to detention.

“All I can say is that there was discipline that was carried out,” Williams said, also telling McDermott that he doesn’t understand the upset surrounding the incident because it was an isolated incident.

>> PREVIOUS: Some seek discussion, not charges, after ‘Black Lives Matter’ incident at Springfield school

Valley said the board’s apparent lack of transparency was wrong.

“The school board is governing from a position of fear. Fear makes you clam up,” he said. Not talking about specific consequences shows other students that the behavior that occurred on the playground is OK, he said.

“You are fomenting tribalism in the school only because they have to come together to have security because obviously the school isn’t forming security for them,” Valley said.

News Center 7′s McDermott said a parent she has been speaking with, whose child was one of those forced to kneel and utter “Black Lives Matter” that day, said he has heard the accused students were supposed to have been expelled.

But, he said, whether expulsion or detention was meted out has never been confirmed to him.

McDermott will have more tonight, after the conclusion of the NCAA Tournament games.

Comments on this article