MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — The Meridian 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.”
Superintendent Alvin Taylor told The Meridian Star that 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 unanimously it last week, Taylor said.
It won’t affect a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi Division of Youth Services, the Meridian Police Department, Lauderdale County and two county youth court judges, Jocelyn Samuels of the department’s Civil Rights Division said Friday.
The school district was not a defendant in that suit, which suit alleges 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 department worked with the district through a longstanding federal school desegregation decree which prohibits the district from discriminating against students based on race.
Taylor said the core of the issue, which DOJ has acknowledged happens throughout the country, is suspending students for non-threatening acts or for what they view as minor infractions.
“The vast majority of these allegations that caused all this stem from the years 2007 to 2010. When my administration came in 2011, we were already making changes so by the time DOJ came in here to do their investigation, we had done 50 percent of the changes already and were moving to do others,” Taylor said. “They simply came in and talked about changes that we were already making.”
Among other things, the decree:
-Limits use of suspension, alternative placement and expulsion, and prohibits such “exclusionary” discipline for minor misbehavior;
-Prohibits school officials from using law enforcement to deal with behavior that can be safely and appropriately handled under school disciplinary procedures;
-Requires training for school law enforcement officers on bias-free policing, child and adolescent development and age appropriate responses, practices proven to improve school climate, mentoring and working with school administrators;
-Requires monitoring of discipline data to identify and respond to racial disparities;
“We’re going to keep law and order,” Taylor said. “There will never be a time where teachers have to worry about kids being in school that have committed violent acts or threatening people’s safety, but we have to do a better job of not putting kids out of school for minor infractions – putting kids out of school for dress code violations or because they rolled their eyes or things like that – those are things that everybody in education has to improve on.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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