About 75 people, mostly African Americans, attended a special Board of Education meeting Tuesday night where speakers raised the issues of disciplining high school students and possible discrimination against minorities.
Members of the audience held up signs such as "Contact parents, not police."
Asked after the meeting what had sparked the attendance Tuesday night, Loretta Slaton Tourain of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said an African-American male student had been in trouble "for the first time and was suspended from March 16 to May 1."
No names were used at the meeting, where speakers referred to a student who has had a superintendent's hearing, but for whom no decision has been rendered. Ms. Tourain asked whether the decision would list the method of appeal, and Superintendent Terry Wolfenden said she would add that information.
When some speakers asked about the discipline procedures, Miss Wolfenden said the policies had been approved by the Board of Education, all students have a copy of them and the parents should as well.
Ms. Tourain said she was concerned that the African-American students do not receive proper information about college admission procedures. She charged that the school wants them for athletics but is not interested in them otherwise, and she said she would like to see a change in attitude toward the minority students.
The president of the senior class, an African-American female, told the board staff members should break up fights in school.
But Dunkirk Teachers Association President Joseph Sweeny said that his organization has recommended that its members "not engage in physical force to break up fights. The students should be ordered to stop. A call should be put in for the administrators."
Board President Adeline Gonzalez Jr. observed Tuesday's meeting was the first time he had seen minority citizens out in force in his four years on the board.