MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -- The NAACP Town Hall meeting offered community members the opportunity to share their experiences with Meridian Public Schools.
(Photo Source: WTOK-TV)
The open discussion is traced back to a 1965 desegregation case against what was then called the Meridian Separate School District. This also includes the 2013 consent decree that was placed based on racial discrimination in student discipline.
“So the desegregation order came into play. It came out in ’68. Consent decree came out in 2013 and both of those are still in play. And so it’s our responsibility as the legal defense fund that represents basically this class of black students. Students of color,” Alexis Hoag of the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund said.
Representatives from the NAACP say their goal is to ensure that each student is offered the same equal opportunity to a quality education.
“We’re here today to continue to hear from the community so that we can best represent their interest and their experiences before the federal court. And the federal court then determines is it time to lift this desegregation order. Is it time to lift this consent decree,” Hoag said.
Richard Coleman was a part of the original lawsuit in 1965. He says that the best solution is to encourage parents and continue similar town discussions.
“What you have to do is make the community feel welcomed to visit the school. By encouraging parents, inviting parents, going to parents, going to the homes,” Coleman said.
But, Coleman says that he doesn’t think it’s time to withdraw from the lawsuit.
“It’s more than just a classroom to be a quality teacher or a quality administrator. These are some things that I don’t know if it’s going on in Meridian. But I’ll tell you what, we do not need to come out from under the lawsuit,” Coleman said.
“These consent decrees, desegregation orders were never envisioned to be indefinite. So it’s really about bringing all of the information together and making sure that the school district is meeting their constitutional obligations,” Hoag said.