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Care2 Success: Jackson Public Schools Must Stop Handcuffing For Non-Crimes

Care2 Success: Jackson Public Schools Must Stop Handcuffing For Non-Crimes

Public schools in Jackson, Mississippi, will no longer be allowed to handcuff students to poles or other objects, under a settlement with the Southern Poverty Law Center reached in U.S. District Court.

Thanks to almost 15,000 Care2 activists who signed our petition, the Jackson Public School District may no longer use this horribly inappropriate punishment.

The petition was sponsored by Alternet, who documented that a student at Capital City Alternative School in Jackson was handcuffed to a railing for en entire day for not wearing a belt, and another student was handcuffed to a railing for hours for greeting her friend too loudly in the hallway.

The suit was filed in June 2011 by Jeanette Murry on behalf of her then-16-year-old son, who has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge Tom Lee, says all district employees will stop handcuffing students younger than 13, and can only handcuff older students for crimes. In no case will employees shackle a student to a fixed object such as a railing, a pole, a desk or a chair.

From abcnews:

“It’s apparent there were severe problems that we hope now are being addressed and will be alleviated,” Lee told lawyers in court Friday, just before signing the settlement order.

Jody Owens, director of the Mississippi office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said the Capital City Alternatives school in Mississippi’s largest district  must immediately stop handcuffing students, a practice used to punish even such things as dress-code violations.

“The focus should be education, not incarceration and it’s tantamount to child abuse when children are handcuffed to railings for something as simple as not having the appropriate belt or inappropriate shoe strings,” Owens said.

The way students had been disciplined in the school was abusive, she said.

The ruling requires the school to change its approach in dealing with emotionally challenged students. The school was ordered to conduct a “climate assessment” that includes students, parents and teachers, as well as a mandate that all teachers be trained to deal with students with emotional and behavioral management problems, Owens said.

Handcuffing is just another form of corporal punishment, a form of behavior management that is thriving in Mississippi. Hitting children at school is still legal in 19 states, with Mississippi and Texas accounting for about 40% of instances nationwide last year.

Corporal punishment should be abolished entirely, but at least the children of Jackson have won the right to some freedom.

Thank you, Care2 members!

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75 comments

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3:56AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

I am stunned that handcuffing was ever allowed as a punishment for children in the first place.A teacher in the UK who did this would find themselves without a job in no time flat.

8:41AM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

9:06PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

Home internet access and home internet schooling for all. Problem solved.

3:33PM PDT on Aug 2, 2012

When given a chance true character surely emerges, lots of guts when there's no threat present, oh but that's right there could be, yeh, that's what one says while subdoing a smurk.

8:23AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

What kind of troglodytes sitting under a bridge on a foggy night thinks up these kinds of humiliating punishments? Do they get drunk and think up these mindless punishments for not wearing a belt or being a touch too loud. Handcuffs? What is this, S&M? What next, the rack?

Glad to see this stupidity was rescinded. The people involved in humiliation of children for minor infractions obviously never expanded their own narrow archaic little minds.

4:45PM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

I find it amazing that a school system considered it appropriate to handcuff students. I'm very grateful for the existence of organisations such as care2.com, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Innocence Project, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the American Civil Liberties Union. The workers from these organisations constantly do battle to protect those whose rights are disregarded who are often in grave situations.

7:38AM PDT on Jun 7, 2012

My son has Autism, the schools he has gone to have restrained him in awkward ways that anyone would gripe about! Now I do respect & understand control, isn't that what time-out rooms are for, especially a child with a disabilities! I have had to go to the Board of Education repeatedly in regards to teachers/administrators not recognizing his disability because he is not so severe as others! When I got nowhere with them I contacted the Governor's office for the State of West Virginia to be aware that my child with disabilities has been treated/new rules made because my child's jacket smelled of my cigarettes/segregation & violation of his civil rights! I have always stood up & spoke up for what is right, We won that battle! They didn't segregate him anymore!

8:31AM PDT on Jun 5, 2012

Talk about culture shock ! Any teacher who handcuffed a child in a British school would be facing charges of false imprisonment. Their chances of ever working with kids again would be very slim indeed !

11:00AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

This sort of thing should not be happening

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/care2-success-jackson-public-schools-must-stop-handcuffing-for-noncrimes.html#ixzz1wqgVpApK

2:17AM PDT on Jun 4, 2012

I think that this should only be used by a police officer, when the student is in the high school age group and the teacher/principal can not restrain a violent outburst from a student.

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Lindsay Spangler Lindsay Spangler is a Web Editor and Producer for Care2 Causes. A recent UCLA graduate, she lives in... more
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