Student Takes Legal Action Against Illinois City For Alleged Civil Rights Violations Over School Ticketing Incident

by Gee NY
Amara Harris

Amara Harris, a young Black woman from Naperville, Illinois, is taking legal action against the city after a years-long battle stemming from a school ticketing incident.

At the age of 17, Harris found herself at the center of a controversial case when she was accused of stealing a classmate’s AirPods.

Despite maintaining her innocence, Harris was ticketed by a police officer based at her high school, leading to a legal ordeal that lasted nearly four years.

Now 21 and a recent graduate of Spelman College, Harris has filed a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations, including racial discrimination and malicious prosecution.

The lawsuit names the city of Naperville, as well as the former school-based police officer who issued the ticket and his supervisor.

Harris’s attorneys argue that the ticketing incident not only lacked evidence but also violated Illinois law, which prohibits schools from imposing fines on students.

The case gained national attention after being highlighted in the “The Price Kids Pay” investigation by ProPublica and the Chicago Tribune.

The investigation revealed a troubling pattern of police ticketing students for minor infractions, disproportionately affecting Black students like Harris.

Despite being acquitted in a jury trial, Harris hopes that her lawsuit will bring about systemic changes and prevent other students from facing similar injustices.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages of at least $20 million, punitive damages, and calls for training and oversight within the Naperville Police Department to prevent future civil rights violations.

While the city has denied the allegations, Harris remains determined to seek justice and hold those responsible for her ordeal accountable.

The case forms part of broader concerns about the role of law enforcement in schools and the disproportionate impact of disciplinary measures on students of color.

As efforts to address these issues continue, Harris’s lawsuit serves as a reminder of the importance of advocating for fairness and equity in the education system.

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