MCJ’s Education Campaign recently represented an autistic child who wore his uncle’s jacket to school.
Unbeknown to him it had some .22 caliber bullets in the pocket, but no gun. When a bullet fell out of the jacket’s pocket, the school immediately called law enforcement, referred him to Youth Court for “disturbing a public school session,” and suspended him.
Despite the fact he was SPED student no manifestation determination was done as required by federal law, nor was any there any attempt to comply with the specific state statute governing disruptive students Miss. Code 37-11-18.1 which requires a behavioral modification plan and psychological evaluation.
The Court granted our Motion to Dismiss holding that the general Disturbing Public School Sessions or Meetings Miss. Code 37-11-23 was not applicable to the event, and that the school should have followed the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) law and state statute specifically directed at disruptive students.
The knee-jerk referral of students to the criminal justice system without regard to the facts of the case or their protection under state and federal law is what creates the notorious “schoolhouse to jailhouse” pipeline.
If you have a child you think was inappropriately referred to law enforcement, MCJ would be happy to review the your case to see if his or her rights were violated. Contact us here.