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A.H v. Hinds County (Miss.) School District

Hinds County School District officials violated the constitutional rights of a 10th–grader who was expelled for throwing a penny that landed on his school bus driver. The expulsion and subsequent assignment to an alternative school threatens to derail the academic and athletic career of the 16-year-old boy, a good student who dreamed of a collegiate basketball scholarship.

The teen, known as “A.H.” in the lawsuit, maintains he did not throw the penny that hit the bus driver, who was unhurt. Nonetheless, after extracting a false confession from the boy through threats and intimidation, school officials placed him in a school where only about half of his classes are taught by teachers. A.H. spends the other half of his classes in front of a computer, teaching himself.

The lawsuit is part of the SPLC’s broader effort to reform overly harsh school discipline practices that needlessly push children out of school and into the juvenile justice system, a path known as the “school-to-prison” pipeline.