To ensure that the Little Rock Nine could complete a full day of classes, President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock. The 101st patrolled outside the school and escorted the black students into the school. In addition, the black students were assigned a personal guard from the 101st who followed them around the school. Still, they were subjects of unspeakable hatred. White students yelled insults in the halls and during class. They beat up the black students, particularly the boys. They walked on the heels of the blacks until they bled. They destroyed the black students' lockers and threw flaming paper wads at them in the bathrooms. They threw lighted sticks of dynamite at Melba Pattillo, stabbed her, and sprayed acid in her eyes. The acid was so strong that had her 101st guard not splashed water on her face immediately, she would have been blind for the rest of her life.
Gradually, the 101st Airborne left Central High and the black students were left to fend for themselves. By the time Christmas rolled around, they were certainly ready for a vacation. Unfortunately, vacation did not come soon enough for Minnijean Brown, who dumped her lunch tray over the heads of two boys who had been taunting her on December 17th. Even though the boys said that they "didn't blame her for getting mad" after all the insults she had endured over the course of the year, Minnijean was suspended for six days.  She was "[r]einstated on probation [on] January 13, 1958, with the agreement that she would not retaliate, verbally or physically, to any harassment but would leave the matter to the school authorities to handle."  But she was expelled in February after she called a girl who was provoking her "white trash." The whites in the school were jubilant, making up cards that said, "One down...eight to go!"
It was not to be. The other eight all finished the school year. In May, despite numerous protests and under the watchful eye of 125 federalized Arkansas National Guardsmen, Ernest Green became the first black graduate of Central High, the sole minority student in his 602-member class.