DECATUR, Ill. (AP) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson was led away in handcuffs by police today after he, parents and ministers tried to force a confrontation over the treatment of six students expelled for a brawl.

Jackson and his followers fought their way through a mob of reporters and cameramen to the edge of the grounds of Eisenhower High School. There an officer cuffed the hands of an unresisting Jackson behind his back. Several officers lead him away, while another videotaped the arrest."We want the youth to stand still knowing that their parents and their ministers would cross the line for them," Jackson said shortly before his arrest. At least four others were arrested with him.

Jackson and representatives from the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition had met with school officials this morning to discuss the expulsions in an effort to prevent a confrontation. The meeting ended shortly after noon with no agreement reached.

"They're so locked into imposing a one-year punishment, no matter how well they (the students) do in school," Jackson said after the meeting.

He had vowed to stage an act of civil disobedience if officials did not agree to review the expelled students' punishments on a case-by-case basis. He wants the students to have the chance to return to school by January if they do well in an alternative program.

Decatur Superintendent Kenneth Arndt had said earlier today that talks had been continuing behind the scenes through an intermediary. An emergency school board meeting was scheduled for this evening to discuss the situation.

At a meeting Monday, Alberta Brown, 46, said she was willing to risk jail to make a statement on behalf of her 12-year-old daughter and other public school students.

"I've never been (to jail) but I feel like it's a good time to find out what it's all about," she said.

School officials had sounded just as obstinate.

"Go home. You're definitely not going to get through our doors," Arndt said of protesters.

The students are black, but Jackson has said it was not a question of racism but whether the students were treated fairly.

They were given two-year expulsions after allegedly taking part in a brawl in the stands at a football game Sept. 17. A seventh withdrew from school during expulsion hearings.

Under pressure from Jackson, the governor and the national spotlight, school board members voted last week to trim the expulsions to one school year and let the students attend alternative education programs. But Jackson was holding out for students to get the chance to return to regular classrooms sooner.