Fighting the School to Prison Pipeline (Update)

In April, I posted this TV story about my client, a 14 year old boy with disabilities in 8th grade in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, who was given a concussion and black eye when he was slammed to the school floor by a school based police officer, without provocation.  Prior to that TV story airing, on behalf of my clients, I wrote the Sun Prairie Mayor and Police Chief asking them to investigate the incident, discipline the police officer, and enter into good faith negotiations to compensate my client for this act of police brutality.  We proceeded with the TV story because the City of Sun Prairie refused to investigate the incident, discipline the officer, or enter into good faith negotiations to resolve the matter quickly and quietly.

My clients and I decided to allow Sun Prairie some time to reconsider its intransigence after the TV story aired, but sadly, to date, Sun Prairie remains firmly committed to refusing to conduct an independent investigation, discipline the police officer or enter into good faith negotiations to compensate my client for the violation of his Constitutional rights to be free from unwarranted police brutality.  This leaves us with only one conclusion.  The City of Sun Prairie and its police department apparently believe that it is ok for its police officers to give concussions to their young residents without provocation.  Accordingly, yesterday, on my client’s behalf, I filed a federal civil rights lawsuit to bring this matter to the courts.  The Wisconsin State Journal covered the story in today’s paper.

My clients and I hope that filing this lawsuit will finally force Sun Prairie to retain attorneys who will recognize that it would be better to use this case as an opportunity to address problems in its police department’s interaction with teenage students rather than engaging in a protracted battle in court.  However, at this point, whether or not Sun Prairie will change its tune remains to be seen.  Until then, both my clients and I are ready, willing and able to assert my young client’s right to be free from unprovoked and unwarranted police brutality while attending school.

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For more information on how I can help you accomplish effective, progressive systems change e-mail Jeff Spitzer-Resnick or visit Systems Change Consulting.

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