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RACE MATTERS - To Police, Students Still Children

RACE MATTERS - To Police, Students Still Children

"Alabama lawyer seeks to remind school-based Police that students are still children" PBS NewsHour 8/8/2016

I just cannot believe this, a pregnant teen gets maced and arrested FOR CRYING!  This is sick!


SUMMARY:  Last September, a federal court in Alabama ruled that the disciplinary practices used by the Birmingham Police Department toward high school students were unconstitutional.  The police department's appeal will be heard next month.  Ebony Howard, the lawyer who filed the class-action suit, speaks with special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault about the specific police conduct and the settlement.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Last September, a federal court in Alabama ruled that the Birmingham Police Department's disciplinary practices, including the use of pepper spray for minor discipline problems, is in violation of student rights and unconstitutional.

Attorney Ebony Howard of the Southern Poverty Law Center filed the class-action suit, and returns to court next month when the police department's appeal is heard.

As part of our year-long Race Matters conversations focusing on solutions, special correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault reports from Birmingham about reducing tensions between African-American high school students and the police.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT (NewsHour):  This video of a white South Carolina policeman roughly ejecting a black student from her classroom went viral and ignited a conversation about the proper role for police in schools.

Ebony Howard, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been involved in that conversation as a result of her successful suit against police macing students in Montgomery, Alabama.

Ebony Howard, thank you for joining us.

EBONY HOWARD, Southern Poverty Law Center:  Thank you for having me.

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT:  Can you tell us briefly about the case you won in Birmingham last year?


The case was about police officers who are stationed in Birmingham City high schools who are there to protect students, and they were using mace, or pepper spray is what it's sometimes called, against students for engaging in what amounts to normal adolescent behavior.


EBONY HOWARD:  Like, for example, one of our plaintiffs, plaintiff K.B., she was leaving class and going to another class with a fellow classmate.  And as she walked, a boy came up to her and started to call her really foul names that I won't repeat.

But as he called her those names, his friends who had come with him, they started to laugh.  And the more they laughed, the more names he called her.  And so she tried to walk away from him.  And as she walked away, he followed her and his friends followed her, and he continued to call her lots and lots of names.

And so eventually, as she walked the entire length of the school building, she started to cry.  And she became hysterical.  And when she reached the end of the school building, a police officer walked up.  And you would think that he would have taken care of her, but what he did was, he told her to calm down or he was going to arrest her.

And when she didn't stop crying, he put her in handcuffs.  And she continued to cry after he handcuffed her, and he told her, calm down.  And when she didn't calm down fast enough, he sprayed her with mace.

The other point that I forgot to mention, though, was that she was four months' pregnant at the time when he sprayed her with mace.  She was arrested and taken to the local juvenile facility, where she had to take off her pants and her underwear and squat and cough as a part of a strip search.

This post first appeared on Mage Soapbox, please read the originial post: here

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RACE MATTERS - To Police, Students Still Children


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