Learning While Black

A school in Mississippi has been sued for sending children to prison for violating minor school infractions.

About 6,000 mostly African-American students attend grades kindergarten through 12 in a dozen schools in the Lauderdale County School District.

About 86% of the district’s students are African-American, but all of those referred to the court for violations were minorities, the government suit said.

Apparently none of the 840 of the white students ever break the rules.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin listed some of the ways the students were mistreated.

  • Children are handcuffed and arrested in school and incarcerated for days at a time without a probable cause hearing.
  • Children detained wait more than 48 hours for a hearing, in violation of constitution requirements.
  • Children make admissions to formal charges without being advised of their Miranda rights.
  • Children are not routinely granted legal representation during the juvenile justice process.

It wasn’t just the school that was involved. Lauderdale County, judges of the county’s Youth Court and the State of Mississippi Division of Youth Services were also named in the suit. This is a complete institutional racism and abuse.¬†¬†Lauderdale County Mississippi was not the only area where this was occurring: they were just the most committed.

Austin said Wednesday that Meridian is not the only location in the country with such a system. However, he said, it is the only one to date where local authorities have not been fully cooperative with federal investigators.

There is no mention of this in the article, but throughout the US are for-profit private prisons. There have been situations in the past where judges were given kickbacks from the corporations that own the prisons in return for keeping the cells full. It is reasonable to assume that something similar is involved here.

In a recent poll, Gallup identified Mississippi as the most religious state in the union. It is one of the states where attempts have been made to integrate religion into the science curriculum. In 2009, a bill was proposed to put a sticker in science textbooks stating that evolution is just a theory, although that bill died in committee.

Just another example of the impotence of religion in social justice. The abuse was driven by profit, racism, vengeance, or some combination. However, given the religious makeup of the state, most participants would classify themselves as religious. Many will say that anyone who could permit or promote this could not be a True ChristianTM, but by whose standards?

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