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Children's Rights

Date Filed

January 11, 2012

African-American students in Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public Schools were disproportionately arrested for minor rule violations across the school district. These students often experienced physical abuse while being detained, including one student whose arm was broken as sheriff’s officers detained him. They were also subjected to racially offensive language and other inappropriate comments while being detained. The U.S. Department of Education launched an investigation after the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a complaint describing these conditions.

Criminal Justice Reform
Landmark Case

Date Filed

February 26, 1974

Conditions in Alabama's prisons were an inhumane nightmare - violent, overcrowded and unsanitary. In a 1976 landmark ruling, a federal judge declared the prisons "wholly unfit for human habitation" and ordered detailed reforms.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

May 13, 1999

The Alabama DOC prohibited its prisoners from receiving gift subscriptions for publications. Inmates were forced to buy subscriptions from their prison trust accounts.

Immigrant Justice
Active Case

Date Filed

December 03, 2018

Peter Sean Brown was illegally detained in Florida’s Monroe County jail for deportation despite his repeated pleas to authorities that he was a U.S. citizen and the county’s own jail file showing that he was born in Philadelphia. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Brown, whose Fourth...

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

June 05, 1984

In the mid-1980s, a North Carolina Klan group was one of the most militant and violent, engaging in paramilitary-style training, using U.S. military personnel to prepare recruits for combat. After a series of terrorizing incidents, the Center sued the Klan and won court orders shutting down their illegal training camps.

Children's Rights
Landmark Case

Date Filed

October 13, 1998

An African-American teenager was denied school enrollment simply because she was homeless. The Center immediately sued, and "Penny Doe" was soon enrolled in school. The case was settled with officials adopting policies to ensure compliance with federal law.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

December 16, 2013

After an Alabama man discovered that state laws refusing to recognize his lawful same-sex marriage from another state would prevent him from collecting the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of his deceased husband, the SPLC filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the laws. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, a federal judge ruled that he could collect the proceeds as the surviving spouse.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

October 01, 2013

Aldermen in the small town of Shannon, Miss., unjustly denied a business license to a lesbian who wanted to reopen a bar catering to the LGBT community. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit against the town and its leaders for violating the bar owner’s equal protection and free-speech rights under the First and 14th Amendments.

Landmark Case

Date Filed

January 03, 1972

As late as 1972, there was not a single African American Alabama state trooper in a state that is one-quarter black. African Americans were refused jobs as troopers, but were easily hired as janitors. The SPLC filed suit, challenging the state's blatant racial discrimination.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

October 01, 2008

Students with disabilities in Palm Beach County, Fla., endured a culture of neglect and overly harsh discipline because the school district failed to provide the counseling, social work and psychological services required by law. The Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of advocacy groups filed a class action administrative complaint to bring Palm Beach County schools into compliance with federal special education law and end practices that exclude or isolate children with disabilities.

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