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August 13th, 2012
11:52 AM ET

Is Miss. school a 'school-to-prison pipeline'? CNN education contributor Steve Perry on 'disgusting, reprehensible' behavior alleged against educators

A school in Meridian, Miss. is under fire for the way it put into effect its disciplinary actions. According to a Justice Department probe, students in a predominantly black school were being incarcerated for minor disciplinary infractions, including dress code violations and using profanity.

Civil rights investigators claim that the Lauderdale County Youth Court, Meridian Police Department and Mississippi Division of Youth Services operated "a school-to-prison pipeline whereby children arrested in local schools became entangled in a cycle of incarceration without substantive and procedural protections required by the U.S. constitution," basically being arrested without probable cause and failing to have due process in court.

The town itself denying any wrongdoing despite the findings from the Department of Justice. The federal agency is giving local officials 60 days to negotiate an end of the constitutional violations or face a federal lawsuit.

Steve Perry, CNN education contributor and founder of Capital Prep School in Connecticut, says if the allegations against the school are true, it's not typical and should not be tolerated.

"This is not normal behavior," Perry tells Soledad. "It's disgusting, reprehensible, and every single child in the school needs to be given the opportunity to go to another school because the people who are offensive are the ones, to me, who are calling the police for actions that they should be taking care of themselves as skilled educators."

Filed under: Education
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