ALTON - Leon Smallwood-Bey, the Alton NAACP Branch President, has issued a statement about the recent fights at Alton High School. The incident occurred on Aug. 30, 2023, and resulted in some expulsions, suspensions and charges.

Alton Branch NAACP President Leon SmallwoodThe statement reads as follows: “While we, the NAACP, are disappointed that so many students have been expelled/suspended, and some charged with criminal charges, we also still have to ensure that there is safety in our schools. The NAACP hasn’t made a statement before now because we wanted to talk to everyone involved. So we have spoken to the state’s attorney's office, the school superintendent, school officials, students, and some parents. Our goal is to ensure the safety of our students, to ensure they all have a chance to complete their education.

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"As a plan of action: The NAACP Alton branch recommends as followed:

We recommend the hiring of more African-American staff members in order to help fill the cultural gap that the lack of African-American staff members at Alton High School has created.

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"We recommend restorative justice training be provided to parents and students involved in altercations that occurred August 30, 2023. Training will help to bring resolution and educational enlightenment to all associated to help prevent future incidents like this from occurring.

"Review and evaluate each expulsion, suspension, and charges filed on students involved in the August 30 altercation.

"Meaning the NAACP Alton branch will continue working closely with the Alton School District administration, the state's attorney's office, the juvenile justice commission, as well as the juvenile diversion program committee to ensure that students in the August 30 altercation will be treated fairly in order to resume their education and be given a second chance to live life as a future productive citizen.

"Finally, the Alton NAACP will continue to work with city officials, community stakeholders, organizations, churches, local businesses, and all county and city officials, etc. to create more youth training and skills programs in school and after school. To provide more youth job opportunities and to work to open a well-needed Alton community center."

"Our dedication is to our community and the youth is our future. We will continue to work to foster a safe and more inclusive educational environment for all students. We believe these recommendations will promote tolerance, respect, understanding, and better discipline amongst all students," Smallwood-Bey said.

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