Ruling on Camden school discipline

May 8, 2008 1:16:51 PM PDT
State education officials say 15 Hispanic elementary students in Camden got inappropriate punishment, but not because of their ethnicity. The investigation found a black vice principal forced students in a fifth grade bilingual class to eat their lunches while sitting on the gymnasium floor. The weeklong 'lunch detention' stemmed from behavioral problems in the class.

The report, released this week, found the punishment was demeaning and unsafe, but not biased since it was common for non-Hispanic students as well.

Parents and activists called the incident an example of prejudice against Hispanics, noting the Hispanic teacher who complained was fired. However, the investigation found his firing was merited by poor performance and lack of classroom control.