by Courtney Jacobs
Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
An African-American eighth-grader was recently arrested for throwing Skittles on a bus in Louisiana.
According to online news site Vocativ, a bus driver transporting students in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish School District told a group of youths to stop throwing Skittles on the bus, but they continued anyway. The next day, an eighth grader present during the earlier him with “interference with an educational facility” and battery.
As the officer removed the boy in handcuffs, students and faculty heard the officer say he would “beat the f— out of” him, or to have his son, who is the same age as the student, do it, Vocativ.
After reportedly spending six days in juvenile detention facility, the youth saw a judge, who remarked, “Am I to get this right? Are we really here about Skittles?”
The boy’s mother has removed the youth from the school over the incident.
The arrest was the latest in a series of confrontations between police and youths in the Jefferson Parish School District, the state’s second-largest school district, which have drawn charges of racial discrimination.
According to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, police officers are making unlawful arrests of students for walking in the hallway without a pass, talking back to administrators, having cell phones on campus—but not using them—and failing to follow the school’s dress code. Eighty percent of the students arrested were African-American, although they only make up 40 percent of the school’s population.
“We are aware of and are very concerned by these allegations,” the school district said in a statement. “We pledge to work closely with those agencies involved to quickly resolve any issues that we identify. We are committed to ensuring that our students have a safe, healthy environment and are treated equably at all schools.”