This past Thursday, six Flinn Middle School students were eating lunch when school administrators called the students to the office. The students say that they were interrogated, photographed and cataloged as potential gang members.
Since the incident their parents have been questioning what right the district had to make a gang card on their child and not inform them of the situation.
A red and black Cleveland jersey is what Dana Purifoy's son had on when his picture was taken and information was gathered for his gang card. Gang cards are what the school keeps on file to identify potential or current gang members. The district said the six Flinn Middle School students were all wearing similar clothing and similar colors to that of such gangs as the Mo's of the Gangster Disciples.
Parent and Minister Latisha Jones says, "They were all African American. If they were interested in gang profiling, why weren't all the students wearing those colors called in?"
This year Rockford Supt. Dr. Dennis Thompson has told principals to be on a heightened state of alert for gangs. In regards to the six students, Dr. Thompson says, "At no time did the administration single out these kids due to race."
School Board member Mike Williams is trying to hold a special board meeting to discuss if the rights of the students and parents were violated.
Mike says, "This is not the first time I have received calls from angry parents saying their African American student is suspected of being in a gang."
The main concern for the Flinn parents is why the district did not notify them of the situation.
"I’ve been called when my son is missing two homework assignments, but they don't call us to tell us they took his picture for a gang card," says parent Dana Purifoy.
Since the incident on Thursday, Dr. Thompson has had a one on one conversation with the parents and admits they should have been contacted, but these angry parents are now busy discussing what changes need to be made in the district's policies.
"If this has happened to these six students, I wonder how many other parents have had to deal with this same type of situation. It needs to stop."
The gang cards compiled that day have since been destroyed and there is no documentation in the each student's file.