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US school sued over punishments

US civil rights activists have filed a lawsuit against a Mississippi public school body, claiming officials at one alternative school respond to minor violations by shackling children to railings and poles for hours at a time.

Critics of the Capital City Alternative School in Jackson say the allegedly excessive punishment makes students more likely to drop out of school - and commit crimes later in life.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre filed a lawsuit naming Jackson Public Schools and Capital City Alternative School officials and seeking class-action status on behalf of all the school's students.

The complaint says the punishments violate the US Constitution and school board policy.

School district officials said the agency takes the allegations seriously and will respond through legal channels.

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