SPIRO — More than 30 black Spiro students were pulled out of class Wednesday by their parents in an apparent protest over a fight between a white Spiro baseball player and a black man who dated the player’s stepsister, one of the town’s residents said.
“We have had some parents pull some students,” Spiro Superintendent Don Atkinson confirmed Wednesday.
Atkinson declined to say how many students left school. He also declined to discuss specifics of the incident.
Spiro resident Sharon Steele said she pulled her grandchildren out of school Wednesday because of discrimination that “has been going on for years at the school.”
Steele said the students who left class were mostly in high school, with some in middle school.
She said the protest stems from an April 29 fight between a white baseball player and 20-year-old Spiro resident Devon Perry, who is black. Steele said Perry was attacked by the baseball player and the player’s family at a high school baseball game.
The player was suspended from school but allowed to play in the state baseball tournament, Steele said.
Perry said he has been dating the stepsister of the baseball player for the past four years, and the couple live together.
He said he was arrested on an outstanding speeding warrant after an argument with his girlfriend, and her family attacked him because they believed his arrest was the result of the argument.
“It’s a complicated mess,” Spiro Police Chief Darrell Barham said. “The fight is still under investigation with pending charges on everyone involved in the fight.”
Barham said he estimates the makeup of the school is two-thirds white and one-third black students. There are 1,200 students in the school system in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, school officials said.
Spiro is 180 miles east of Oklahoma City in Le Flore County.