The J.E.B. Stuart High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association is fighting the suspensions of 700 to 750 students who joined a walkout Friday in support of higher teacher salaries.
If the school administration doesn't back down, the association probably will seek an injunction against the suspensions tomorrow in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, according to Bobbie Mastrota, the group's president.
The executive board [of the association] is very concerned about disciplinary action that does not fit the circumstances," Mastrota said.
First to be affected were 160 seniors, whose suspensions began Monday. Undergraduates who were involved in the walkout will begin their suspensions next week.
Mastrota said the circumstances of the walkout, which began at the same time a false fire alarm was pulled at 9:40 a.m. Friday, dictate a more lenient response by authorities. She said that even though she informed school officials early Friday morning about a possible walkout, no warning of possible disciplinary action was made over the public address system.
Furthermore, she said, officials did not make a public announcement urging students to return to their classes after the false-alarm evacuation. As a result, she said, many students didn't know what they should do.
Mastrota said the attorney hired by the Stuart PSTA, John McNally of Alexandria, is "cooperating" with the American Civil Liberties Union on possible legal action against the school administration.