When does the boisterous behavior of schoolchildren become criminal? Under a South Carolina law, it was not so clear. I’m Amy E. Feldman.
In 2015, a South Carolina student was forcefully removed from her chair and slammed to the floor by a school resource officer. Another student used her cell phone to record the event. Both girls were arrested under a state law that made boisterous, disorderly, or obnoxious behavior in school a crime.
The ACLU challenged that law as unconstitutionally vague, and this week, the appeals court struck down that law, noting that by making boisterous conduct illegal, “any person passing a schoolyard during recess is likely witnessing a large-scale crime scene.” Isn’t that the truth? While the court noted that schools are not powerless to discipline students who disturb the learning environment and may adopt and enforce codes of conduct, it said school kids can’t be arrested for being disorderly kids.
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