Wake County Schools

Nine Wake school protesters plead guilty to trespassing charges

Posted March 16, 2012 4:05 p.m. EDT

— The remaining nine protesters arrested at Wake County school board meetings two years ago pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree trespassing charges stemming from protests of the school system's new student assignment policy.

Twenty-one other people pleaded guilty to the same charges two weeks ago.

All the pleas are part of a deal that will allow the protesters to have the offense expunged from their record in exchange for community service and fines.

At the time of the 2010 arrests, the group was protesting the school board's controversial decision to eliminate a decade-old busing policy for diversity purposes in favor of one that allows parents to choose schools closer to their homes.

State NAACP President Rev. William Barber, one of the plan's most vocal critics, was among those arrested who pleaded guilty.

He said that he is still concerned that schools could be segregated because of the new assignment plan – even though school system officials have said they will not allow it to happen.