Civil rights advocates have filed suit against Jackson's public school district, claiming officials at one alternative school respond to minor violations by shackling children to railings and poles for hours at a time. Critics of the Capital City Alternative School in Jackson, Mississippi, say the allegedly excessive punishment at the schools makes such students more likely to drop out of school—and commit crimes later in life.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a suit yesterday in US District Court; it names Jackson Public Schools and Capital City Alternative School officials and seeks class-action status on behalf of all of the school's students. The complaint says the punishments violate the Constitution and school board policy. School district officials said the agency takes the allegations seriously and will respond through legal channels. (Read more lawsuit stories.)