Target: Dr. Alvin Taylor, Superintendent of Meridian, Mississippi School District
Goal: Stop the arrest and imprisonment of students for minor infractions
Students in Meridian, Mississippi have more to fear than bad grades and detention when they misbehave in school. Like some other school systems across the country, the Meridian school district turns their troublemakers over to the police. However, the Meridian Police Department then arrests these students and sends them to juvenile detention. Their ‘crimes’ can be as minor as violating a dress code or passing gas in class. The punishment for the students is an extreme violation of their basic human rights, and needs to be stopped.
An investigation by the Department of Justice revealed that the Meridian Police Department ‘automatically arrests all students referred to MPD by the District. The children arrested by MPD are then sent to the County juvenile justice system, where existing due process protections are illusory and inadequate.’ The children lose their right to be treated fairly by the justice system. They are not arrested with more evidence than the word of a teacher. They are then sent to juvenile detention without a trial. Also, the students arrested most often are African American or disabled. The population of Meridian is 62% African American, and these students appear to be targeted by the schools for the harsh punishment.
These students are clearly being denied their rights by the school system. They have lost the right to due process and a fair trial. The school district is at fault for not only denying students’ rights, but failing to protect the students as it is the school’s duty to do. The school district must stop the practice of sending students to be arrested and imprisoned for minor actions that are not even legally considered crimes. Tell the superintendent of the Meridian school district to stop this practice.
Dear Dr. Taylor:
The Meridian, Mississippi school district has a practice of sending students to the Meridian Police Department for minor infractions. The police then arrest these students and send them to juvenile detention. This is a practice that violates the rights of these students and is a cruel punishment for relatively minor incidents.
I ask you to stop this practice. Students trust their schools and school officials to guide them, but instead the Meridian school district is imprisoning students for infractions as minor as violating the dress code. These students deserve to be treated with respect. Stop this practice and stop violating the rights of these students.
[Your Name Here]