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March 24, 2004

Princeton Packet

Eighth-grade twin brothers have been pulled from an American Boychoir School concert tour of Latvia, Sweden and Denmark because their parents cannot pay the balance of their tuition in full. The boys' mother, Angela Newton of the Somerset section of Franklin, says racism is behind the decision to bar the twins from the trip. "If all kids do something, my kids are punished the worst," Ms. Newton said Monday. "For the life of me I wish I knew what they have against us." The twins, Alex and Ryan Newton, are two of the three black students in the eighth-grade class, Ms. Newton said. The boys have launched an Internet petition drive and so far 76 people have signed.

The point may be moot. The list of students going on the tour was made public and the Newton brothers were not on the list, said Donald B. Edwards, president of the school. "We are deeply distressed that two eighth-grade brothers, who have been boarding students here for four years, have been caught in the middle of a financial dispute for which the boys are not responsible," Mr. Edwards said. He said the refusal of the school to allow the brothers to take part in the concert reflects a "long-standing policy."

But Ms. Newton said the family has consistently paid late and the decision to bar the twins from the tour represents an "arrogance" by the school administration. Mr. Edwards also denied that race played any part in the decision and said in all his discussions with the twins and their parents, race was never mentioned. He noted the student enrollment is 35 percent minorities and the head of school, Bythema Bagley, is black. More

Posted by acapnews at March 24, 2004 7:53 AM

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