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Faith groups want change in how mace is used in schools (Fox News)

Don't Mace Our Kids


BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Faith groups came together Tuesday night fighting for change. And one big target is macing students in schools.

Latonya Stearnes says her two daughters were maced by a resource officer at Huffman High School in 2010. It's something Stearnes is still upset about.

Stearnes said, "It's like where do we stop? If my child is at home misbehaving and I decided I can't control them and I'm going to mace them. What will happen to me? My children will be with DHR and I'll be locked up."

Folks packed First Presbyterian Church to hear Stearnes' story and others affected by two issues in Birmingham.

Macing in schools is one them.

Ebony Howard is with the Southern Poverty Law Center. She said, "We have the exact same cops that work beats on the street who are coming in with training applicable to common criminals. We need to be providing training to them on how to work with students."

The other issue discussed is predatory payday lenders.

Reverend Marcus Singleton with Birmingham Faith in Action says some of them can be unfair businesses.

Singleton said, "If I loan you $100 and expect you to pay me back $175, that's not a fair deal. It's happening more so in poor communities."

Birmingham Faith in Action is a group of 25 congregations working towards a change.

Singleton calls this rally a movement to restore dignity for Birmingham families. From a podium, he challenged each person in the crowd to be on board with that idea.

Organizers Tuesday were glad some local elected officials were in the crowd, hearing the concerns people have.

Some Birmingham city councilors and school board members attended. Birmingham Faith in Action will take these concerns to lawmakers in Montgomery.

The group is also asking for the city council to control the growth of new payday loan businesses.

The group also plans to meet with the mayor, police chief, and superintendent about what it will take to stop resource officers from using mace on students.