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Tue May 12, 2015, 07:39 PM

'Racially biased' arrests in Louisiana school district prompt appeal to feds

Source: The Guardian

'Racially biased' arrests in Louisiana school district prompt appeal to feds

Max Blau in Atlanta
Tuesday 12 May 2015 17.39 BST

After a 15-year-old boy in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, allegedly threw Skittles at fellow students on the bus ride home from school last January, he was picked up by police the next morning in the middle of a social studies test.

The policeman allegedly handcuffed him and twisted his arm in front of his classmates, and he was then charged with simple battery. He spent nearly six days inside Rivarde juvenile detention center. The school recorded some of those days as unexcused absences.

This case is one of many that has prompted the legal advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center to file a complaint with the US Department of Justice asking it to intervene. The SPLC’s complaint, which was filed on 7 May, highlights numerous instances of ongoing “intentional discrimination” and claims the school district has violated titles VI and IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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The legal advocacy group says Jefferson Parish public schools have the highest number of in-school arrests of all Louisiana school districts. Many of those arrests happened after incidents where students committed minor rules violations, Godchaux said. The in-school arrest program disproportionately affects African American students.

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Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/12/racially-biased-arrests-louisiana-jefferson-parish-public-schools

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