JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department says a federal judge has approved a deal with a Mississippi school district to end discriminatory disciplinary practices in which black students face harsher punishment than whites for similar misbehavior.
The deal was reached in March with the Meridian Public School District and was approved Thursday.
A federal investigation found that black students in Meridian are five times more likely than whites to be suspended for comparable misbehavior.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels says in a news release the agreement will mean real reform in Meridian schools and serve as a blueprint for other school districts.
The agreement is separate from a lawsuit against the city of Meridian and others alleging there was a “school-to-prison pipeline” that locks up students for minor infractions.