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Clinton School Board says punishment being administered to students in restaurant harassment

By KATRINA SMITH

CLINTON, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Clinton School Board is using a recent harassment incident as a platform to educate its students.

Officials at Tuesday night's school board meeting in Clinton addressed the concerns of students who were allegedly harassed at the China Sea Restaurant during lunch on November 22, 2011.

A letter sent home to parents from Clinton Central School Principal Matthew Lee following the incident stated that" a group of approximately 125 male students" were in the restaurant that day the incident took place.

Lee's letter to parents added that "three girls entered the restaurant. They had sauce packets thrown at them as well as some derogatory statements made at them regarding gender and ethnicity."

Lee says the girls felt threatened enough by the boys' actions and words to call 911.

Among the male students engaging in the behavior and allowing it to escalate: class leaders, including class officers, student council representatives and sports team captains.

Parents who attended Tuesday night's school board meeting say that they are upset because only one person came forward at Tuesday night's meeting, admitting to the harrassment. That student apologized on behalf of the others.

One parent says that apology, along with the district's punishment for the teens, is not enough.

School Board Member Tim Elgren says that the district can not discuss the punishments, but is taking pro-active steps to keep this from happening again.

"Our focus, from the board's perspective, is certainly to have an administrative team to handle this in an efficient manner and also in a more transparent manner, so that everybody understands the process that's involved," Elgren said.

The school admits the incident could have been addressed in a more timely and decisive manner.

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