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article imageSchool disciplines students with mace

By Christopher Wager     Jan 6, 2011 in World
Birmingham - No dunce hats or detentions according to SPLC and parents of the Birmingham City School System. Authorities crossed the line of student's civil rights when mace was used on students, critics allege.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued a press release on December 1, 2010 announcing they have filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the students of the Birmingham City School System after the school board refused to address the use of mace on the student body. The lawsuit states the school and the Birmingham Police Department violated the student's constitutional rights. The press release went on to say the school resource officers (Birmingham police officers assigned to schools) had been using mace and other brutal tactics as basic disciplinary action against the students. One of the points of the SPLC's lawsuit deals with the use of mace against students who wee completely restrained, no longer a threat, and had yet to be accused of any wrongdoing.
Mace is a chemical weapon made up of tear gas, and is illegal in most foreign countries. The effects of which can cause loss of vision, blistering eyes and skin. In the extreme, mace can cause life-threatening symptoms by inflaming the throat and restricting airflow to the lungs. This is particularly dangerous to the students of the Birmingham City Schools who are from areas where the children have a higher than average death rate due to asthma related conditions.
The lead attorney on the case against the school, Ebony Glenn Howard, gave this statement in the release, "We must ask ourselves: What kind of school system allows the entry of armed police officers who mace its students? One with a serious illness. One that needs to re-examine its ultimate purpose for existence - educating and protecting its students."
In addition, the SPLC included statements by Birmingham Police Chief A. C. Roper from last year where the chief went on to say how the use of mace and other tactics are forcing Birmingham students out of the school system in turn is having a profound effect on Alabama's work force. He went on to say, "The current system is dysfunctional, and that's putting it mildly." The chief reported hundreds of students were arrested last year for school offenses, that in his judgment, should have only constituted a trip to the principal's office.
More about Mace, Students, Discipline, Southern poverty law center, Birmingham
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