A three-hundred-to-one disparity:
From 2006 to 2011, police in Birmingham public schools – whose students are predominantly African American – used chemical weapons on about 300 students and in the vicinity of 1,250. By contrast, in the neighboring, largely suburban Jefferson County schools, chemical spray was used just once during that same period.
The SPLC suit alleges that many students were already restrained or posed no safety threat when they were pepper-sprayed. Others were bystanders.
As a 2012 court order notes, none of the students named as plaintiffs committed a crime serious enough to warrant such force. In fact, no criminal charges were lodged against any of the students, who had “only committed minor school infractions,” the court wrote.