Mississippi town sued over 'school-to-prison pipeline'
In 2009, the Lauderdale County Juvenile Detention Facility in Meridian was the target of a federal class-action lawsuit.
October 26th, 2012
11:00 PM ET

Mississippi town sued over 'school-to-prison pipeline'

By Terry Frieden, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Federal civil rights lawyers filed suit Wednesday against Meridian, Mississippi, and other defendants for operating what the government calls a school-to-prison pipeline in which students are denied basic constitutional rights, sent to court and incarcerated for minor school infractions.

The lawsuit says children who talk back to teachers, violate dress codes and commit other minor infractions are handcuffed and sent to a youth court where they are denied their rights.

It's the first time a jurisdiction has been charged under a law designed to protect the due process rights of juveniles in such circumstances.

Also among the defendants were Lauderdale County, judges of the county's Youth Court and the State of Mississippi Division of Youth Services.

About 6,000 mostly African-American students attend grades kindergarten through 12 in a dozen schools in the Lauderdale County School District.

About 86% of the district's students are African-American, but all of those referred to the court for violations were minorities, the government suit said.

The federal action came more than two months after the Justice Department warned local and state officials that they had 60 days to cooperate or face a federal lawsuit.

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Filed under: Black in America • Education • How we live
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    They should get rid of disruptive students in the classroom, so kids who want to learn are able to learn. Also, I fail to see the angle that this article takes regarding incarcerating black kids? If 86-percent of the district is black, it seems plausible that all incarcerated would be black. Also, are the teachers who turn in these kids black? If most of the teachers are black, and they turn in mostly black students to the cops–in a district where there are 86-percent black students no less-how is this racism? Where exactly are the evil white rednecks involved in this?

    November 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jorge

    Hey, waddayawant? It's Mississippi...'nuf said.

    October 30, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |