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Students in Birmingham, Alabama, can be sprayed with pepper spray due to small fights, bad behavior or - shockingly - excessive talking, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports. The civil rights group has now sued the school district and the police chief on behalf of pepper sprayed students and their families.

School isn't prison, and using harsh chemicals on students who are doing something as benign as trash-talking or swearing doesn't teach them good behavior. It just encourages them to see themselves as criminals and fear school - and the adults in charge. 

Tell Birmingham's district that you support this lawsuit and are against the use of chemical weapons on children. Tell them they must drop this policy now.

Photo credit: The National Guard via Flickr

Letter to
Superintendent, Birmingham City Schools Craig Witherspoon
Board of Education Member W.J. Maye, Jr.
Board of Education Member Edward Maddox
and 7 others
Board of Education Member Virginia Volker
Board of Education Member Phyllis Wyne
Board of Education Member Alana Edwards
Board of Education Member Emanuel Ford
Board of Education Member Brian Giattina
Board of Education Member Tyrone Belcher, Sr
Board of Education Member April Williams
I am writing today to strongly urge you to end Birmingham City Schools' damaging policy of pepper spraying students.

A National Institute of Justice study found that pepper spray exposure was a contributing cause of death in 2 of 63 law-enforcement related fatalities due to it being used on people with asthma. The American Civil Liberties Union has come out against the use of pepper spray on nonviolent protestors, due to its chemical dangers and its capacity to inflict death or serious injury.

Students should want to go to school, not fear it. And school authority figures should teach with rules and logic, not chemicals. Please end this dangerous policy today.

Carol Scott started this petition with a single signature, and now has 418 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.