Schools agree to stop handcuffing students

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Jackson public schools will no longer handcuff students to fixed objects and will train staff at its alternative school in better disciplinary methods.

Mississippi's second-largest school district made the agreement Friday in a settlement with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which had sued over the practice of shackling students to a pole at the district's Capital City Alternative School.

The 2011 suit said staffers routinely restrained students for hours for offenses as minor as dress code violations.

The settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge Tom Lee, says all district employees will stop handcuffing students younger than 13, and can only handcuff older students for crimes. In no case will employees shackle a student to a fixed object.

A district-paid monitor will check compliance in quarterly reports for two years.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)