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Teens suspended for wearing Klan costumes

November 3, 1997

CLIFTON FORGE, Va. (AP) _ Three white students were suspended from Alleghany High School for wearing Ku Klux Klan costumes to school for Halloween.

Principal Phil Douglas said he saw the two brothers and a female friend, ages 13 and 14, shortly after they got off their bus Friday.

``I assumed they were ghosts when I first saw them,″ Douglas said. ``Then I saw the crosses they were wearing.″

Students are allowed to wear costumes for Halloween, but they had been told Thursday not to wear anything offensive, Douglas said.

``I was offended, the school was offended and a large majority of our students have been offended,″ Douglas said.

About 17 percent of the school’s 870 students are black, Douglas said.

``This is the first time that something like this has happened. We usually have fairly good racial relations at the school,″ said Martin Loughlin, superintendent of the Alleghany school system.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Alderson said the students can’t be prosecuted because they are underage.

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