WASHINGTON, DC. – The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has reached an agreement with the city of Meridian and the state of Mississippi that settles allegations relating to the unfair arrest of students.
The DOJ filed suit in 2012 claiming the city had policies in place that allowed students to be detained for minor infractions and without probable cause or legal representation. The suit maintained that the policies mainly affected black and disabled children.
The settlement agreement stops police from arresting students for behavior that is a school discipline issue, and requires documented probable cause for any youth arrested for criminal offenses. And the city and state will work with the United States and independent auditors to establish community input programs, in which residents are informed of the process in implementing the agreement.
Lauderdale County and the Lauderdale County Youth Court were also named in the suit. A spokesperson for the DOJ said the allegations against them have not been resolved.