One U.S. “School-to-Prison” Pipeline Case Settled With Mississippi Decree


The Meridian, Ms., Public School District has agreed to watch out for racial disparities in student discipline and the U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to dismiss complaints about a “school-to-prison pipeline,” reports the Jackson (Ms.) Clarion-Ledger. Superintendent Alvin Taylor told The Meridian Star his administration had already made at least half the changes requested by the department and was working on the rest when talks began. The consent decree needs approval by U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate. The school board approved it unanimously last week. A lawsuit against state and local official remains pending alleging that that authorities in Meridian and Lauderdale County had policies that locked up students for minor infractions and that black or disabled children were most affected. Students could be arrested and shipped 80 miles to a juvenile detention center without probable cause or legal representation, the lawsuit said. The new decree limits use of suspension, alternative placement and expulsion, and prohibits such “exclusionary” discipline for minor misbehavior.

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