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.”
“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.”
Mary Loves Justice