Community meeting will address Whitehorse Middle School incident

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Community leaders announced Thursday they would host a meeting following an incident at Whitehorse Middle School. On Wednesday, a teacher allegedly pushed an 11-year-old African American Student down and ripped out three of her braids.

Sabrina Madison, the founder of The Progress Center for Black Women, and Michael Johnson, the president of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane Co., helped organize the meeting. Both said people reached out to them following the incident at Whitehorse.

"When this incident happened it was one of those things where you are like 'here we go again.' So instead of this time reacting by just working with the one individual parent, going to meetings, we sort pool the community members together to say we need some sort of long term response," Madison said.

Madison said the meeting will focus on broad issues facing the community and says her goal is to restore African-American families and provide resources. She said around 100 people will be in attendance, including mothers who have had negative interactions with teachers in schools.

Johnson said the purpose is to come together to problem solve.

"I think part of it, what Sabrina and the progress center is trying to do, is to educate the community, but to also have a conversation around these tough issues. I would say on behalf of someone who advocates for kids, we also want kids to know they feel safe," Johnson said.

Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham sent a letter to parents Thursday writing that she wanted to express deep concerns about the incident.

It said in part: "As a school district, we must be the healers and protectors that our students deserve and ensure that our schools and classrooms are places that value, affirm and uplift our students," Cheatham said.

The Madison Police Department told NBC15 Friday they are close to concluding their investigation and details will be revealed in the near future.

Madison Teachers Inc., the local teachers union, sent NBC15 a statement that said in part that they do not comment on incidents under investigation, but it is important for the public to know allegations must be fully and fairly investigated before conclusions are made and judgement must be withheld until that occurs.

The meeting will be held at the Boys and Girls Club in Fitchburg on Saturday, Feb. 23, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The media is not permitted inside at this time.