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MDE Responds to the ACLU Report on School Discipline Policies

by Patrice Guilfoyle, APR, Director of Communications | Jan 17, 2013

NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: January 17, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Education encourages districts to set policies that ensure all children are treated fairly.

While districts establish their own discipline policies, the department has provided training and has set guidelines for addressing discipline issues appropriately. In 2012, the Mississippi Board of Education added new guidelines to its alternative education policy, which included cautioning districts against implementing policies that remove students from the traditional school setting to an alternative school setting for minor infractions.

“We hope districts continue to evaluate their policies and to take steps that will prevent any unfair treatment of students,” said Dr. Lynn House, interim state superintendent of education. “It is important for administrators to find ways to address disciplinary issues that will keep students engaged in their education because we know that a child’s school experience influences his or her decision to drop out.”

The policy also states that unless a child has been suspended or expelled from school for a felony offense, such as bringing a weapon to school, the student must be assigned to an alternative school setting. However, if the acts of a student, although not rising to a felony, are such that the student poses a threat to the safety of himself or others or will disrupt the educational process at the alternative school, the school district is not required to admit the student into alternative school.

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