The second in a series of meetings to explain Meridian Public School District's consent decree regarding discipline in the district's schools will be held Thursday at Velma Young Community Center.
Presented by the Meridian branch of the NAACP, and representatives of the multi-racial civil rights organization Advancement Project based in Washington, D.C., One Voice United and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the 90-minute meet is designed to provide parents and the community a better understanding of the consent decree and MPSD's new disciplinary policies for the new school year, said Randle Jennings, education chairman for the local NAACP branch.
On May 30, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi approved a landmark consent decree filed by the Justice Department, together with private plaintiffs and MPSD to prevent and address racial discrimination in student discipline. The consent decree is described by the Department of Justice as "a far-reaching plan to reform discipline practices, including suspensions, expulsions and school-based arrests that unlawfully channel black students out of their classrooms and, too often, into the criminal justice system."
A meeting to explain the consent decree and new disciplinary policies for the local school district was held last month at First Union Missionary Baptist Church. According to Jennings, it was at that meet that MPSD Superintendent Dr. Alvin Taylor suggested additional meetings be held throughout the community.
"The consent decree is a 44-page document. What we've done is broken it down into a Power Point slide presentation so people can have a much better understanding of it," Jennings said.
Dr. Amy Carter, MPSD assistant superintendent Student Services, said it is vital that the school district, students, parents, and community members work hand-in-hand to ensure the success of students, both academically and behaviorally,
Meridian Public School District is in the final stages of revising its Code of Conduct for the upcoming school year to reflect the items listed in the consent decree.
"We are pleased to have come to an agreement with the Department of Justice through the Consent Decree," Carter said. "We are excited to continue the implementation of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support program (PBIS) ... We are looking forward to another great school year."
Officials and school administrators will also be available to answer questions. Also, a CNN news team will be present to interview students and parents who may still experience problems with discipline in the schools, Jennings said.
Future meetings will be held the last Thursday of the month. Dates and locations are: July 25, Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi, 1717 45th Ave., and Aug. 29, East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA) auditorium, 2128 Highway 39 North.
Want to go?
What: Meeting to explain Meridian Public School District's consent decree
When: Thursday, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Velma Young Community Center, 2400 16th Ave.