Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meridian, MS School-to-Prison Pipeline Closed

On March 22, 2013, the United States Department of Justice issued a Consent Decree to prevent and address racial discrimination in school discipline in Meridian, Mississippi. 

Colorlines.com published the legal victory, and reported in part:

It’s a big day for the small city of Meridian, Mississippi, home to one of the nation’s most notorious school-to-prison pipeline systems. This morning the Department of Justice filed a consent decree with the Meridian Public School District to address its school discipline practices which not only were ushering kids into jail for the lightest of infractions—including wearing the
wrong color socks or showing up to school without a belt on—but also singling out black students for the harshest treatment.

“Today, together with the school district and private plaintiffs in the case we are filing a proposed consent decree that addresses claims of racial discrimination in student discipline in Meridian County schools,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “As part of efforts to enforce a longstanding desegregation decree we investigated complaints that the district implemented a harsh and punitive discipline policy that resulted in the disproportionate suspension, expulsion and school-based arrest of black students in Meridian public schools.”

See an excerpt from the Consent Decree below:

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
Friday, March 22, 2013

Justice Department Files Consent Decree to Prevent and Address Racial Discrimination in Student Discipline in Meridian, Miss.
The Justice Department announced that, jointly with the Meridian Public School District in Meridian, Miss., and private plaintiffs, it has filed a landmark consent decree to prevent and address racial discrimination in student discipline in district schools. If approved by the court, the proposed consent decree will resolve the department’s investigation into complaints that the district unlawfully and disproportionately subjects black students to suspension, expulsion and school-based arrest, often for minor infractions. In the course of the investigation, the department found that black students frequently received harsher disciplinary consequences, including longer suspensions, than white students for comparable misbehavior, even where the students were at the same school, were of similar ages, and had similar disciplinary histories. The consent decree would amend a longstanding federal school desegregation decree enforced by the United States, which prohibits the district from discriminating against students based on race.
“The American dream is rooted in education. In Meridian, that dream has long been delayed by discipline practices that deny students access to education,” said Jocelyn Samuels, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We commend the Meridian Public School District for taking this huge step toward ensuring that its schools are safe and welcoming to all students and that education is a road to success instead of a pipeline to prison.”

Continue reading at 

Mary Loves Justice


  1. Seeing an end to harsh treatment of anyone is a welcome sign and great progress. Harsh punishments that outweigh the infractions are absolutely unnecessary and unbiblical.


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