On November 16, 1999, former United States presidential candidate was arrested in Decatur, Illinois, at a protest outside Dwight D. Eisenhower High School. Jackson had been in Decatur to protest the expulsion of six students for a brawl at a football game. Jackson, as well as several local ministers, was escorted away in handcuffs after he crossed a police line outside the school. After spending several hours in the local jail, Jackson was released after being charged with mob action, solicitation to commit a crime and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He stated, “It is an honor to be arrested for a righteous cause.” Local reaction to Jackson’s presence was mixed, with some supporting him and others supporting the school board’s actions.
The students, all black, were expelled from the school for two years following a September 17th brawl at a high school football game. While the school contended it was merely enforcing its zero tolerance policy against violence, Jackson and the students believed that enforcement of the policy was racial. Under pressure from Jackson and other politicians, the school board reduced the expulsion to one year and allowed the students the option to return immediately to alternative schools. A December trial, despite uncovering the fact that 47 out of 57 students expelled from Decatur high schools in the previous four years were African-American.