Students rally at state capitol for better treatment in schools

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - Drawing inspiration from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., teenagers from across the state rallied on the steps of the state capitol Monday. They hope to shine a light on what they call "unfair treatment" in their schools.

As the teens chanted, "I'm trapped, trapped" it's obvious they're not shy about letting everyone know how they feel.

From counties like Carroll, Jones, Holmes and Washington, students feel they're prisoners in their own schools.

"We gotta be how they want us to be. If we ain't how they want us to be, well, we're trouble makers," said Carroll County student C.J. Tidwell.

Organizers say instead of places of learning, principals and teachers are worried more about how a student is dressed.

"Schools and administrators are under tremendous pressure to have safety and order so that they can get good results out of test scores," said MS ACLU Executive Director Nsombi Lambright.

Hinds County Youth Court Judge William Skinner told us by phone that when he took over the youth court, he was seeing 25 students in detention a week. But once he showed school leadership the seriousness of his detention center, that number was reduced to one student a week.

Mississippi ACLU executive director Nsombi Lambright says it will take everyone working together to make a difference.

"With the community, with the parents, with churches to come up with plans on how we deal with disciplinary issues, and at the same time have a healthy environment that's safe for both teachers and students," said Lambright.

Judge Skinner says since school administrators started handling most disciplinary problems, the number of students in the youth detention center dropped 90 percent.