On June 8, 2011 the Southern Poverty Law Center ("SPLC") filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi against the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees and several officials of the school district. The Plaintiff ...
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On June 8, 2011 the Southern Poverty Law Center ("SPLC") filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi against the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees and several officials of the school district. The Plaintiff class (all students who currently attend and/or will attend the Capital City Alternative School in the future), represented by attorneys from the SPLC and by private counsel, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the Defendants' punishment methods were unconstitutional. Specifically, the Plaintiffs claimed that the Defendants would routinely shackle or handcuff students to railings and leave them unsupervised for up to six hours at a time as punishment for noncriminal violations of school policies. During these punishments, students were forced to eat their lunches while restrained, and had to beg school officials to let them use the restroom.
On April 12, 2012, the Parties presented a Settlement Agreement to the Court that was focused on overhauling the Defendants' disciplinary policies. Specifically, the Settlement Agreement banned the use of fixed restraints on all students, banned the use of handcuffs for punishment of noncriminal behavior and completely banned the use of handcuffs on any student under the age of 13. Additionally, the agreement required the Defendants to consult with experts to rework their disciplinary system, and to implement a system of record keeping and reporting of all instances in which restraints of any kind were used on students. Finally, the court appointed a monitor to follow the case for 24 months to ensure that the Defendants were in compliance with the agreement.
This Settlement Agreement was approved by the Court on May 25, 2012, and did not preclude any class member from bringing an individual damages claim against the Defendants. Joshua Arocho - 07/25/2012