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In a story that sounds like something out of Charles Dickens or Franz Kafka, the mother of an Arlington, Texas eighth-grader is filing a federal civil rights complaint against the Arlington Independent School District after a teacher at his school poured pencil shavings into his mouth.

Deidre Brown, the mother of 13-year-old Marquis Jay, filed a complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights against the district.

The 8th grade student at Boles Jr. High School in Arlington says a teacher poured the pencil shavings in his mouth in January. The teacher was handed down a brief suspension following the incident, but has since returned to work.

Local Civil Rights Activist Kyev Tatum is representing the family in the case and says the complaint charges the district didn’t handle the teachers actions appropriately, that the boy involved was discriminated against because of his race and disability, and that the school was trying to coverup the whole thing.

“Instead of coming out clean and saying we don’t tolerate this, they decided to cover it up and let her go back to class,” said Tatum. “There’s no difference between what they did and the administration at Penn State [University] did.”

While Tatum is overstating things by comparing what happened to Marquis to Jerry Sandusky's rampage, this whole story makes for horrifying reading.  Marquis was sitting in class with his head tilted back and his mouth open when a teacher who was stopping by to help out in his class walked by and poured the shavings down his throat.  Arlington ISD called the teacher's actions "unacceptable"--but only suspended her and made her apologize before allowing her to come back to work.

Local chapters of the SCLC, LULAC and NAACP were up in arms over this--and for good reason.  Apparently Marquis was the only black student in the room that day.  Beyond any racial overtones, Marquis could have choked on those shavings.  

This teacher should have been fired and forced to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and an argument can be made that she should be up on criminal charges as well.  Hopefully the DOE will take this district to the cleaners for this.

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