Published: 2020-07-21 15:12
Last Updated: 2021-05-07 18:30
Hundreds of students protested outside their high school in Detroit on Thursday, demanding the release of their classmate who was imprisoned for not completing schoolwork.
The 15-year-old student, identified as Grace, was on probation for robbery and fighting with her mother, according to ProPublica.
She was jailed after a judge ruled that she violated her probation by not submitting her homework.
Demonstrations started at Groves High School in Beverly Hills, then moved to the Oakland County’s Circuit Court and prosecutor’s office, where protestors held up ‘Free Grace’ signs.
School closures have disrupted education across America and tens of thousands of students have failed to attend online classes or submit homework.
Lawyers and supporters in Michigan have said this is the first time a child has been arrested for failing to complete academic obligations as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Grace’s mother believes the fact her daughter is black in a predominantly white community has played a part in the decision.
Grace was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, which made studying remotely a challenge for her, reported ProPublica.
“It didn’t seem like the judge or the caseworker knew how grades and due dates and things were structured during the pandemic shutdown in the spring,” a teacher at Groves High School told Reuters.
“I think this is a huge injustice.”
During the protest, speakers asked students to raise their hands if they failed to hand in assignments during the coronavirus pandemic, and all of them raised their hands.
“The prosecution’s only witness was unaware of the student’s learning disabilities. Witnesses who could have provided a better understanding of the situation, like the student’s teachers, were unable to testify,” said Congressional Representative Andy Levin.