MERIDIAN — The Meridian Public School District released the following press release late Thursday night. More information will be available in The Meridian Star on Saturday:
The Board of Trustees of the Meridian Public School District unanimously approved a consent order with the United States Department of Justice and private plaintiffs in the District’s continuing desegregation case. The order ensures that student discipline is fair and non-discriminatory and that all students have an equal opportunity to learn in a safe, orderly and supportive environment. The consent order will now be sent to United States District Court Judge Henry Wingate for approval.
“The District’s main focus, in relation to discipline, will be intervention for students instead of just punishment,” said MPSD Superintendent Dr. Alvin Taylor. “Discipline, in the past, has been more assertive and focused on consequences; but now we will look into the cause of student behavior and put measures in place to help prevent those misbehaviors. The District will not lose focus on one of its main goals to maintain safe and orderly schools.”
The District appreciates the cooperative working relationship it has developed with the Department of Justice and the private plaintiffs in reaching this consent order.
As part of the agreement, the Meridian Public School District will implement the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. Implementation of this program began in the 2012-2013 school year, but will be full-scale for the 2013-2014 school year. PBIS focuses on encouraging and rewarding students who exhibit positive behavior. To help with full implementation of PBIS, and as set out in the consent order, the MPSD will hire a PBIS director. Discipline policies and procedures will be revised for the upcoming school year as well.
“The Meridian Public School District will continue to focus on providing teacher support for implementation of PBIS, positive school climates, and more collaboration with parents and community partners to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all students,” said MPSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Amy Carter.
For the past two years, MPSD has worked cooperatively with the Department of Justice during its investigation into school discipline policies and practices. The initial investigation began during the 2007-2008 school year and culminated in the summer of 2012. During this time, MPSD provided the Department of Justice with extensive discipline data, policies and practices, school tours, and interviews.