Birmingham: Stop Pepper-spraying High School Students
  • Petitioned Maxine Parker

This petition was delivered to:

Birmingham city council member
Maxine Parker
Birmingham city council member
Jonathan Austin
Birmingham city council member
Steven Hoyt
Birmingham city council member
Lashunda Scales
Birmingham city council member
Kim Rafferty
Mayor, Birmingham, AL
William A. Bell, Sr
Birmingham city council member
James Roberson
Birmingham city council member
Valerie Abbott
Birmingham city council member
Roderick Royal
Birmingham city council member
Carole Smitherman

Birmingham: Stop Pepper-spraying High School Students

    1. LaTonya Stearnes
    2. Petition by

      LaTonya Stearnes

      Birmingham, AL

I once trusted the Birmingham Public Schools. I sent my children to school thinking they were safe and protected. I found out different.

My 17-year old-daughter Gloria was sprayed in the face with pepper spray by a Birmingham police officer assigned to protect students in the school.

She wasn’t being violent and she certainly wasn’t a threat to the officer. Gloria was upset because a boy had pushed her. While she was confronting the boy, the police officer grabbed her from behind, pulled out his canister of pepper spray, and sprayed her in the eyes, face, and mouth. My 15-year-old daughter Patrice saw her sister sprayed and ran to her side. As Patrice reached Gloria, the officer sprayed Gloria with a second burst of pepper spray. The second burst also hit Patrice in the face.

When I saw Gloria, I couldn’t believe how red and swollen her face was. She was crying out to me to help her and I couldn’t do anything. She had red welts all over her face and her eyes were red. Days later the welts turned to black scabs that took two weeks to go away. Every time she washed her face, she cried again because water only made the pain worse. For weeks she refused to come out of her room and fell into a deep depression. It was a nightmare knowing my child suffered physical pain and depression because she reacted emotionally at school. She’s a teenage girl, not a criminal.

After Gloria was sprayed, I was shocked to learn that this was not an isolated incident. Nearly 200 Birmingham high school students have been sprayed with pepper spray in just the last five years. The Southern Poverty Law Center hasn’t been able to find another school district that uses pepper spray on students for normal teenage behavior.

The Birmingham Board of Education and Superintendent know about the routine use of pepper spray in schools and have done nothing to stop it. Birmingham Mayor William Bell knows about and authorizes the use of pepper spray against our children. Birmingham’s elected officials, who are supposed to represent the interests of parents and residents, know this is happening and have done nothing to stop it.

We need to make it stop! Our children should attend schools without fear of being sprayed with dangerous chemicals and abused by police officers that should be protecting them. Help me tell Birmingham’s city officials that the police department needs to change the way it operates in schools. We want the Birmingham Police Department to:

1. Provide comprehensive and repeated training on dealing with young people and nonviolent conflict resolution to all officers stationed in Birmingham schools.

2. Adopt a specific policy on the use of pepper spray in schools, limiting when pepper spray can be used on children.

3. Institute screening procedures for officers before assigning them to schools.

Help me show my daughter that there are people willing to stand up for her.

Recent signatures

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    1. Reached 25,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • a m CA
      • about 2 years ago

      shoot that pig down. if it was my family, his would get McCoy'd to the Nth degree. period. If he doesn't , burn this motherfokker down. family first , scared pigs third.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kai Naihe ROCKLEDGE, FL
      • about 2 years ago

      If this keeps up, I fear for the future of this country ! And don't tell me this Nazi thug was 'only following orders" !

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Troy Logan NANUET, NY
      • about 2 years ago

      Becaouse if that were my son, I would be going to jail for defending him. Cops are trained to asses threats and how to react to them. They are trained in self defense and should not resort to the use of chemicals or firearms unless their lives are in danger.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Linda Barrow PORTLAND, OR
      • about 2 years ago

      Wow from Oregon!!!! That's horrible! Here's what an educator can do at our school. Let's stop these people!

      http://www.change.org/petitions/positive-role-models-in-our-hs-coaches

      Please support my petition too and put an end to this bullying educator/coach!

      Thanks!

      Linda

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kate Mullay SETAUKET, NY
      • about 2 years ago

      Because I wouldn't want to have my kids go to a school that does this, Its terrible!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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