Meridian Mississippi Officials Sued by Department of Justice for Operating "School to Prison Pipeline"

Last Updated: October 29, 2012

This article appeared in the October 2012 Rural Policy Matters.

Editor's note: Links are free and current at time of posting, but may require registration or expire over time.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed suit against a number of agencies in Meridian and Lauderdale County Mississippi charging that they are operating a “school to prison pipeline.” DOJ conducted an extensive investigation and gave the agencies 60 days to cooperate or face legal action.

The DOJ charges that students are handcuffed and arrested in school for minor infractions, held for as many as 48 hours without a hearing, and sent to youth court without proper legal representation. Many of these students wind up on probation and then are summarily sent to jail for other minor offenses.

Meridian Public School District is not named as a defendant, but the lawsuit says incarceration is used as a “medium for school discipline.” The lawsuit states: “For example, some Behavior Intervention Plans prepared by the district for students with disabilities have listed ‘Juvenile Detention Center’ as a consequence for student misbehavior.”

Nationally, more than 70% of students arrested in school, or otherwise referred to law enforcement, are African American or Latino.

See previous RPM coverage here.

Read more:


Read more from the October 2012 Rural Policy Matters.

Related Categories: In Local News, Rural Policy Matters

Related Tags: Disabilities, Discipline