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Mississippi Agrees to Stop Handcuffing Students to Poles

Medioimages/Photodisc/ThinkStock(JACKSON, Miss.) -- Students will no longer be handcuffed to poles in a Jackson, Mississippi public school.

The Capital City Alternative School, Mississippi’s second largest school district, reached the agreement with the Southern Poverty Law Center in U.S. District Court on Friday. They agreed to immediately stop the practice of handcuffing their students to poles and other objects, and must immediately place new methods of discipline in dealing with non-criminal behaviors.

According to the settlement, no student under the age of 13 can be handcuffed. Students over the age of 13 may be handcuffed only for crimes, but must not be handcuffed to stationary objects.

Jody Owens, director of the Mississippi office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, says the way the school dealt with discipline in the school was tantamount to child abuse, “We have some students who have gone on record to say it’s happened to them three or four days in a row. We know there are some students who actually had to eat their lunch with one hand handcuffed to a railing.”

Owens told ABC News that she is happy with the outcome, “We're excited to have a comprehensive settlement that changes not only the practice of handcuffing kids to railings but in addition the settlement focuses on changing the overall climate of this school from one that's jail like to one that focuses on education.”

In June 2011, the lawsuit against the Mississippi school distrcit was filed by Jeanette Murray whose son suffers from ADHD. Murray said in her lawsuit that students were routinely handcuffed for dress code violations.

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