Last year, 19-year-old Drodriguez Williams spoke out being handcuffed one day at Capital City Alternative School for having an untucked shirt.
"When you get uncuffed it's 5 or 6 in the afternoon. After school. Sometimes you don't even get to eat lunch," he told us.
In her deposition, Principal Marie Harris admitted that some of her staff members used handcuffs to shackle students. She said the practice was done in good faith, and for student safety. But that's not how the Southern Poverty Law Center sees it.
"Most disturbing I think is the fact that the principal of the school admitted she personally developed this policy almost ten years ago, and was able to continue to handcuff kids to fixed objects for several years without any type of oversight," says Vanessa Carroll, Senior Staff Attorney for SPLC.
The lawsuit, brought on behalf of five students, is now settled. A long list of reforms are set forth for Capital City Alternative and other JPS schools. The district must bar the use of fixed restraints on students, revise the student restraint policy, and implement a social-emotional learning curriculum.
All Capital City Alternative employees must undergo extensive training from the Crisis Prevention Institute on behavior management, verbal de-escalation, and other matters.
In addition, a site council must be established, consisting of JPS students, parents, the JPS Director of Social Work, a mental health professional, a child advocacy representative, JPS security personnel, and school faculty. The council will meet monthly to oversee the reforms.
Each remedy JPS has to take is outlined in a letter, which will be sent to every student that attends Capital City Alternative School.
Carroll says the lawsuit could have been avoided. A letter was sent to JPS last year urging the reforms, but the District didn't make the changes.
"We didn't expect the District to try to defend what really are indefensible, unconstitutional acts," Carroll says.
The settlement requirements are expected to be met in a timely manner.
"If it is determined the District is not compliant with the terms of the settlement agreement, we'll take adequate (legal) action back in court," says Jody Owens, SPLC Director.
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:15 PM EDT2013-05-21 18:15:12 GMT
The two men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's democratic primary runoff. On the WLBT 6pm report, we talkedMore >>
The two leading men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:34 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:34:41 GMT
NOTE: Photos and videos will be added to this story later in the evening. The Walthall County Sheriffs Department along with The Humane Society of the United States are in the process of raiding a puppyMore >>
Among the dogs, many are dead, and skeletal remains were mixed with living animals in small, dark, filthy enclosures.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:50 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:50:22 GMT
MOORE, OK (RNN) – In one of the few positive stories to come from the deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, an elderly woman was reunited with a four-legged friend she thought was dead. Barbara Garcia, a residentMore >>
Elderly resident Barbara Garcia frantically called for her dog after the tornado had leveled her house, but with no success.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:35:44 GMT
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from missing to wanted during their 2012 searchMore >>
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from "missing" to "wanted" during their 2012 search following her disappearance.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:41 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:41:07 GMT
The Jackson Police Department is searching for two men who robbed a cell phone store Monday night. Shortly before 7 p.m., two male suspects entered the T-Mobile store at 4924 I-55 north. They robbedMore >>
The Jackson Police Department is searching for two men who robbed a cell phone store Monday night.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 11:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 03:48:15 GMT
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.A witness told police that the four girls, ages 7, 5, 3 and 1, had been in the same dirtyMore >>
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:16 PM EDT2013-05-22 02:16:08 GMT
Residents in tornado-stricken Moore, OK, await news on missing love ones Tuesday, a day after a massive tornado devastated the city, killing at least 51. Rescuers worked all night, with particular attentionMore >>
The tornado, with winds up to 200 mph, cut a 20-mile stretch as wide as two miles through the Oklahoma City metro area. The medical examiner's office reported 24 people died, including nine children. More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 12:10 PM EDT2013-05-21 16:10:13 GMT
The Ridgeland Police Department is searching for two suspects, both accused of stealing a cell phone, and is asking for the public's help identifying the men.According to Detective Don Martin, the firstMore >>
The Ridgeland Police Department is searching for two suspects, both accused of stealing a cell phone, and is asking for the public's help identifying the men.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 5:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 21:48:55 GMT
The storm system from Oklahoma is moving eastward Tuesday night. A Tornado Watch is in effect for Humphreys, Attala and Holmes counties until 10 p.m. Tuesday. The brunt of the action will stay northMore >>
The storm system from Oklahoma is moving eastward Tuesday night. A Tornado Watch is in effect for Humphreys, Attala and Holmes counties until 10 p.m. Tuesday.More >>
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