Southside students reinstated

Published 3:50pm Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Dallas County Board of Education voted Thursday to reinstate two Southside students who were sentenced in January for attacking a female teacher — an attack that left the teacher with several cuts and bruises.

Both students, under 18 years of age, were ordered by the juvenile court system to attend boot camp and serve 40 hours of community service as punishment.

Mike Irwin of the Dallas County Juvenile Probation Office spoke on behalf of the students Thursday during the board’s regular meeting.

“I don’t want to underscore what they did at the school. It was awful, it was a terrible thing for the teacher and the whole student body to go through,” Irwin said. “But, these young ladies have paid their price. They’ve been under the most strenuous supervision we have apart from sending them off somewhere.”

The two students were among four at Southside who attacked a teacher while in the cafeteria. District Attorney Michael Jackson said the incident stemmed from the teacher asking one of the students to report to the principal’s office to sign a tardy note. Refusing to do so, the student jumped the teacher, and three other female students joined in.

However, since serving time in juvenile detention and completing community service hours, Irwin said he believes two of the four students have learned their lesson — and earned the right to attend Southside High School again.

“If you would allow her the opportunity to go back to school, I promise you she will never do what she did again,” Irwin said of one of the students. “She has been one of the most respectful young ladies I have dealt with in my 19 years. I’ve had no problems with her — to the point I’m ready to terminate her early from our supervision.”

Both students have been routinely tested for drugs, and have tested negative, Irwin added. Also, their academics have improved and they’ve demonstrated great remorse for their actions, he said.

“I think it would be a real shame if we didn’t give these young ladies the opportunity to go back and further their education,” Irwin said. “It was a serious offense, and we didn’t take it lightly, but they’re coming here and respectfully asking to be reinstated by the board.”

After hearing Irwin’s, and the students’ testimonies, board president William Minor said he suggested the board reinstate the students.

“After listening about their behavior, I think we should put them back in right now,” Minor said. “What they did was inexcusable and it shouldn’t have happened, but it did. However, I think they deserve another chance.”

The board voted unanimously to reinstate the students.

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