Report: Harsh Policies Funnel Mississippi Students into Justice System

HeadlineJan 18, 2013

A new report says students across Mississippi are being expelled and incarcerated for minor offenses due to harsh school policies that mainly affect youth of color. The report by groups including the ACLU and NAACP follows the filing of a Justice Department lawsuit alleging officials in Meridian, Mississippi, have created a “school-to-prison pipeline,” sending disproportionately African-American and disabled students to juvenile detention for violations like flatulence or breaking the dress code. The report says a five-year-old boy in Holmes County was escorted home in a police car for a dress code violation — the school required black shoes, but his mother had tried to cover other colors on his shoes with black marker. Researchers wrote: “Whether it is a dress code violation, profane language, or a schoolyard scuffle, young people are being herded into juvenile detention centers and into the revolving door of the criminal justice system.” The report comes as President Obama is backing a plan to increase police officers in schools, a policy some fear could lead to even higher incarceration rates for students of color.

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