Federal civil rights attorneys are suing the city of Meridian, Mississippi, and others for operating what the government labels a school-to-prison pipeline. Federal lawyers contend that students in Meridian are being denied their constitutional rights and that they are incarcerated for minor infractions in school.
The defendants include Lauderdale County, judges of the county’s Youth Court and the State of Mississippi Division of Youth Services. Roughly 6,000 students, more than 85 percent of them African-American, attend grades kindergarten through 12th grade in a dozen schools in the Lauderdale County School District.
“We had no choice but to file suit,” said Roy Austin, a deputy assistant attorney general.
It’s the first time that a local jurisdiction has been charged under a law designed to protect the due process rights of juveniles in such circumstances. (BET)