Meeting Highlights School Disciplinary Changes

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Meridian, Miss. A meeting Thursday evening at Velma Young Center was a chance for members of the Meridian-Lauderdale County NAACP to inform parents and community members about disciplinary changes in the Meridian Public School District.

Due to an agreement between the school district and the U.S. Department of Justice, there are five different levels of punishment, based on the offense. Tardiness and dress code violations will not result in suspension or expulsion.

"It's going to be important that all parents know that while we're working on the needs of students who have issues, we're also not going to lose sight of the students who come to school to do what they're supposed to do," said Dr. Amy Carter, MPS assistant superintendent for student services.

"Public education is all of our educational responsibilities," said Randle Jennings, representing the NAACP. "We just happen to have a system in place and we as the community advocates have to make sure we're doing our part."

A committee will be formed to make sure that the new discipline procedures are being followed and that students aren't being targeted unfairly.

School administrators will also be required to hear from students about why they committed a disciplinary violation, before a punishment is issued.

The changes go into effect in the 2013-2014 school year.