The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California is suing a school district and law enforcement authorities for allegedly racially profiling 55 Hispanic students.

The ACLU says Glendale Unified School District illegally detained and searched the students, who were rounded up and help for an hour in September 2010. The Los Angeles police departments and Los Angeles County Probation Department were also named in the lawsuit.

The students were searched and questioned by police about possible gang affiliations.

The ACLU says the students weren't doing anything illegal and were targeted by race.

District spokesman Steven Frasher denies any profiling. He tells the Los Angeles Times that the operation was an educational effort to deter students from joining gangs.

"The allegation of racial profiling is ridiculous. We are going to try and do all we can to protect any student we fear is going to be at risk for being sucked into a criminal lifestyle," Frasher told the newspaper.

The ACLU told the LA Times that the students were asked for personal information, including addresses and telephone numbers, questioned about scars or tattoos and "repeatedly threatened."

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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