A middle school student spent 3 days behind bars after he wore the wrong socks to school
Meridian, Mississippi - An 8-year-old student in Meridian who had been paddled for talking in
class was hauled away in handcuffs when he wouldn't stop crying.
middle school student spent three days behind bars at the Lauderdale
County Juvenile Detention Center after he wore the wrong socks.
A high school student spent five days behind bars after she was tardy.
Belway, attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said all of these
cases involved African-American students in Meridian. "It absolutely
shocks the conscience," she said.
School board attorney John Compton said these allegations were all news to him.
Department officials have sent notices to both the Meridian Police
Department and Lauderdale County Juvenile Court as part of their
investigation into the juvenile justice system.
Compton said in a recent conference call with Justice Department officials, they said they hadn't made any prejudgments."They're not investigating the schools," Compton said. "They're investigating the city police and the Youth Detention Center."
In a meeting last month with parents and others, Justice Department
trial lawyer Allison Brown declared, "Meridian is our top priority."
Southern Poverty Law Center Attorney Belway said she is surprised to learn the extent to which schools use the criminal justice system to handle behavior.
the case of the middle school student, she said the school dress code
called for plain socks, and the student wore white socks with a Nike
case of the high school student, she had been arrested for shoplifting
and had been told not to violate any of the school rules, Belway said.
"She shows up tardy one day and hears her name called over the loud
speaker to come to the principal's office. She spends the next five days
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