SC law compounds ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ problem

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a vague South Carolina statute ends up disproportionately landing minority students in juvenile jail.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Justice Department filed what’s called a statement of interest in the American Civil Liberties Union’s challenge of South Carolina’s “disturbing schools” law.

In a statement, Civil Rights Division chief Vanita Gupta says the arbitrary enforcement of such vague statutes contribute to the “school-to-prison pipeline,” which disproportionately affects minorities and students with disabilities.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of students including Niya Kenny, the student who videotaped a Richland County deputy flipping a student backward out of her chair and tossing her across a classroom. Kenny told the deputy what he was doing was wrong and was arrested on a charge of disturbing schools.

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Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP . Read more of her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/meg-kinnard/