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SPLC Sues Jackson Schools for Allegedly Handcuffing Students for Hours

By Daniel Cherry | Published 08 Jun 2011 05:00pm | comments

The Southern Poverty Law Center says students of Jackson Public Schools have been handcuffed and shackled for up to six hours while attending school. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports on a federal lawsuit seeking to end what they're saying is abuse of the students.

The SPLC's lawsuit seeks to stop the schools from using what they call unlawful restraint. Betty Turner says her son Drodriquez had been handcuffed on several occasions.

"I know one particular time he was there from about ten minutes after he got there till the end of the day. For a mother like me, you're furious...just furious, and it's scary."

Turner's son says he didn't want to go to school because of the treatment he received. Mississippi SPLC director Jody Owens says anytime students are discouraged from attending school, it's setting them up for failure later in life.

"They're not encouraged at all to graduate school, and when you're not encouraged to graduate school what else can you do at that point? You don't have an education. A very simple high school education that should be the very least that we provide as a society to our children."

They say students had to beg to be given restroom breaks, and had to eat lunch while restrained. Albert Sykes is with the Young People's Project, a group helping Jackson students graduate. He says he normally has a good relationship with the school system, and he's surprised schools haven't made an effort to solve the alleged problem.

"I was a little taken aback that young folks were going through, and then it became a public issue. There was no response to either say they were going to look into the allegations or that they were already taking action to rectify the wrong. So that was definitely shocking."

The lawsuit isn't seeking money as of now...they say they just want to treatment to stop. Jackson Schools declined requests for an interview, but they released a statement saying they will address the allegations in the appropriate legal manner.

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