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Large group of Clinton students accused of harassing girls at Chinese restaurant

By JOLEEN FERRIS

CLINTON, N.Y. (WKTV) - Clinton Central School officials are investigating an incident that happened at the China Sea Restaurant on the village green on Tuesday, November 22, when a large group of male students were having lunch in the restaurant.

A letter sent to parents from Clinton Central School Principal Matthew Lee stated that "a group of approximately 125 male students" were in the restaurant on November 22 when the incident took place.

"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," says Principal Lee.

Lee says the girls felt threatened enough by the boys' actions and words to call 911. While they chose not to press charges, school officials are working to determine levels of involvement and degrees of punishment.

"Will they just have a loss of lunch privileges that restricts them from going out to lunch and be kept here in the cafeteria during that time? All the way to suspension," says Lee of the range of possible punishments.

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.

"Extremely disappointed," Lee said of his feelings on the incident. "Disappointed in the student behaviors, disappointed that the leaders did not stand up and put an end to things immediately. And that's what we need to change."

Lee says that class leaders are disappointed in themselves and have already come forward with letters of apology and promises to denounce their behavior and help bring about change.

"They know that what they did was inappropriate and they're looking to change how they're going to be remembered when they leave Clinton," Principal Lee said. "They don't want to be remembered by this incident. They want to do a lot of things that are much bigger and better than this to set the tone that this is not who we are."

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