DECATUR — It made national news 18-years ago. A fight broke out at Eisenhower High School. Seven students were expelled.
Now at least one of them has turned his life around, and was elected as a new member of the Decatur School Board.
Courtney Carson didn’t get to finish high school, but he’s hoping to help other young students overcome their struggles, just like he did-18 years ago.
It was a fight seen across the U.S. It made national headlines; an argument about gangs turned violent, and it all started in the bleachers of a football game.
“I was in the mess of it all. They gave us a two-year felony, mild action charge and two-years expulsion,” said Carson.
The seven boys were expelled from Eisenhower High School. Courtney Carson was one of them.
“Mug shots can become graduation photos.”
He was determined not to let that happen to him, or to other kids. Now, 18-years later, he’s a leader in the community and a member of the Decatur School Board; the same board which expelled him.
“My life reflects the people that I represent. And so, with me being on the school board, I’m able to look at policy that will best produce the education for our children.”
Shirley Shaw was Carson’s principal in middle school. She’s seen him grow up over the years.
She says, “Now that he has grown up and become a young minister, he has done really well. He remembers his past and wants to help other young people to be successful in life.”
Carson says his life as a kid was rough. He grew up in Southside Decatur, right next to the leader of a gang.
“I was a troubled teen for the most part. But however, I feel like I made an A in the streets. I was a product of my environment.”
A product he wasn’t proud of. After he was expelled, he got out of the gang, got his G.E.D. and got into college. Now he’s a reverend at Antioch Baptist Church and has kids of his own who go to school. One of them even goes to his old high school.
Carson says he hopes being on the school board will help him influence kids and point them in the right direction. His troubled youth is in past, and his life has completely changed. Now he hopes to help change the lives of young students.