National and local civil rights groups leaders hosted a community awareness program Monday night in Meridian. A staff member from The Advancement Project in Washington, D.C. came to Meridian and partnered with the local NAACP to discuss the recent federal consent order regarding discipline practices in the Meridian Public School District. A federal judge last week approved the agreement between the U.S. Justice Department and Meridian Public Schools. It's an issue the Civil Rights activists have been working to resolve for some time, according to Randle Jennings, of Meridian's NAACP. "We went back and reviewed all the policies and shared it with some other folks. The Department of Justice came in and believed what we were trying to tell them what was going on. So, we gave them the information, and they investigated the district. They both agreed that there was some ways they could change the disciplinary policy. " Steve Roberts, of The Advancement Project, says it changes the way students will be disciplined in Meridian Public Schools. "For instance, students will no longer be able to be suspended for being tardy, or dress-code violations, things that don't really create disruptions or safety issues in schools." The agreement calls for the District to end discriminatory punishment by the end of the 2016-2017 school year.
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