School officials stand behind suspensions, students appealing Friday

The photo that earned a suspension for the boys.

School officials stand behind suspensions, students appealing Friday

By Shannon Sims. CREATED Jan 17, 2014 - UPDATED: Jan 17, 2014

UPDATE 1:26 p.m. - Sheboygan Falls High School has announced that it is granting the two suspended students a formal appeal hearing at 2:00 p.m. Friday. The district will hurry the process so a decision can be made in advance of tonight's game.

The appeal is a closed session hearing, so no cameras are allowed inside. TODAY'S TMJ4 will keep you updated with more.

UPDATE 12:05 p.m. - The ACLU of Wisconsin sent an open records request to Sheboygan Falls High School Friday. The group will investigate whether or not the school complies with existing state and federal guidelines for unwarranted discipline.

"We believe that you may have engaged in the kind of biased discipline recently condemned by Attorney General Eric Holder," part of the statement reads.

The group once again urged that the suspended athletes be allowed to play Friday.


SHEBOYGAN FALLS - After hitting a three-point shot, Badgers star Sam Dekker threw up threes. LeBron James is notorious for making the same gesture. It's that gesture that has Sheboygan Falls senior Jordan Jackson benched from Friday night's game.

“I was just trying to impersonate LeBron James, is that a crime?" Jackson asked.

It's not a crime, but the hand gesture captured in this photo was enough for a resource officer to contact school administrators.

"The athletic director asked our resource officer to talk with local police, and determine whether these hand gestures are gang symbols," said Jean Born, a District Administrator.

Born stands by the principal's decision to suspend not only Jordan but his younger brother too.

"We believe the consequences for a one-game suspension is appropriate for their actions. We are sending a clear message their actions are unacceptable."

The local chapter of the ACLU says that was a bad move.

“There is no evidence of criminal intent or a desire to disrupt the big game. This act may have been flip or immature but  there is nothing criminal or disruptive about this picture except the overreaction by the administration,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ahmuty.

The boy’s father says the support for his kids has outweighs the negative backlash his family has received.

“We appreciate everyone that is backing us," Bill Jackson said.

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Shannon Sims

Shannon Sims

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Shannon Sims joined the TODAY'S TMJ4 team after working (most recently) with the morning team on FOX19 in Cincinnati, Ohio.