On July 8, 2010, an African-American 1st grade boy, on behalf of the rest of the students at his elementary school, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The suit was filed under 42 U.S.C § 1983 against the Recovery School District and the ...
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On July 8, 2010, an African-American 1st grade boy, on behalf of the rest of the students at his elementary school, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The suit was filed under 42 U.S.C § 1983 against the Recovery School District and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. The plaintiff, represented by council from the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, asked the court for injunctive relief on behalf of the students at Plaintiff's school as well as a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and compensatory damages for himself. Specifically, the plaintiff claimed that the school district's policy of having armed police officers restrain students who violate minor school rules by handcuffing them to chairs caused the plaintiff serious harm, and violated plaintiff's rights under the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
At the time of the alleged violations, plaintiff was a first-grade student at Reed Elementary School. Plaintiff was six years old, was about four feet tall, and weighed approximately 60 pounds. On May 4, 2010, plaintiff allegedly failed to follow his teacher's directions. As a result, a police officer took plaintiff to an in-school suspension room where plaintiff was confined with much older students who harassed and teased him. Plaintiff was confined in this room by having his ankle chained to a chair. Two days later, on May 6, 2010, plaintiff got into a minor altercation with a classmate over a seat in the lunchroom. An armed police officer observed this, dragged plaintiff to the principal's office where plaintiff was again forcibly chained to a chair. Plaintiff's parents were not made aware of these incidents until plaintiff complained of pain on his arm and leg after the May 6th incident. Plaintiff's father then met with school officials. At this meeting he was told that the school's policy of restraining children for minor offenses would continue. At his meeting, plaintiff's father was informed that his son would now be suspended for three days.
On February 2, 2011, the court (Judge Lance M. Africk) signed an order dismissing the case after a settlement was reached. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center's website, the settlement included changes to the district's policies which prohibited the use of fixed restraints, limited the use of handcuffs, and provided formal training to all security personnel. Patrick Branson - 11/04/2014