Atholton high turmoil after shootings at Kent state howard history

May 20, 2007

(Editor's note: Four students were shot and killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970)

As reported May 12, 1970, in The Sun:

Howard County police arrested 21 students from Atholton High School yesterday after a group of students refused to give up their attempt to lower the school's American flag to half-staff.

The arrests which were made at the request of the county's school superintendent, Dr. M. Thomas Goedeke, came after a lunch-hour protest against the war in Southeast Asia, according to school officials.

Police said late yesterday that the students, half of whom were girls, would be charged with "juvenile delinquency" in petitions filed in the county circuit court. Dr. Goedeke had earlier requested that the students be charged with trespassing and disrupting the operation of the school.

All but one of those arrested, according to police, were under 18 and included students from 10th, 11th, and 12th grades.

Only 12 of the students who were conducting the noon demonstration were arrested by police on school grounds. The other nine, police said, later drove to the county police building in Ellicott City to "give themselves up."

Dr. Goedeke, who was called to the school by William J. Donahue, the principal, said that about 23 of the school's 1,300 students took part in lowering the school's flag to half-staff.

According to Mr. Donahue, the demonstrators left the school cafeteria about 12:15 p.m. and went immediately to the large flagpole directly in front of the modern, single-story school building.

They then refused, the principal said, to "allow me to raise the flag again." But the group did not attempt to "restrain" Dr. Goedeke, who raised the flag from its half-staff position immediately after he arrived on the school grounds about 12.45 p.m.

[Paul McCardell, Sun library researcher.]

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