Many called it one of the most outrageous examples of the school to prison pipeline, sparking protests from an African-American community in Tennessee.
The Rutherford County District Attorney Jennings Jones looked at the case and said Thursday that he will dismiss charges against Hobgood Elementary School students, ages 9 to 12, in Murfreesboro, Fox News reports.
According to WKRN-TV, the police arrested the children at school in April, put some in handcuffs, and took them to juvenile detention—not for what they did, but for what they didn’t do: break up a fight off campus. They were charged with criminal responsibility for the conduct of another.
Pastor James McCarroll of First Baptist Church in Murfreesboro told WKRN-TV in April news of the arrests shocked him. He stated:
“It’s hard to see a child arrested when they do something wrong being a child, but it’s even that much harder, and that much more difficult to stomach, a child being handcuffed that has done nothing wrong.”
The station reported that a parent said the fight was little more than a scuffle involving school children pushing each other around during a basketball game. Authorities said it was a case of bullying, and there was a victim.
McCarroll reached out to his community on Facebook Live. His message was viewed more than 31,000 times, according to the news station.
The pastor held a meeting at First Baptist Church, which was attended by the Murfreesboro police chief and community members. One mother told the audience that the police arrested her two children, even though they were not at the basketball court.
Dad Zaccahaeus Crawford told WKRN-TV that the police arrested two of his “babies,” and he took another of his children to surrender. They were ages 9, 10, and 11. Two of them, Crawford said, were not at the basketball game.