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Thursday, October 22, 2015

ACLU calls on DPS to end mass suspensions of high school football teams involved in on-field brawl

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 8:02 AM

The ACLU of Michigan has called on Detroit Public Schools officials to rescind the suspension of students on the football teams for Martin Luther King Jr. and Cody high schools following an on-field brawl earlier this month.

According to a letter sent from the ACLU to the school district on Wednesday, the mass suspensions are unconstitutional because "school officials did not distinguish students involved in the conflict from those who were not involved — and in some cases who were not even present at the game." In addition, the letter says "the procedure reportedly used for suspension may not have provided the students with constitutionally required due process."

According to the ACLU, the mass suspensions play into the “school-to-prison pipeline” problem endemic in Detroit. "Students belong in classrooms and not in the streets — an all-too-common destination for students who are suspended," the letter reads.

“In suspending all of the players from both schools, including those who were not involved in the altercation and those who weren’t even at the field, the Detroit Public Schools district is penalizing these young men for simply being on a team roster,” Mark Fancher, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan Racial Justice Project, says in a release. “These young men deserve due process, which can only be determined by a thorough investigation into the incident, not by knee-jerk punishment.”

Watch video of the brawl below, courtesy of WDIV:

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