“A bracing Department of Justice lawsuit filed last month against Meridian, Miss., where Green lives and is set to graduate from high school this coming year, argues that the city’s juvenile justice system has operated a school to prison pipeline that shoves students out of school and into the criminal justice system, and violates young people’s due process rights along the way.
In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest. The police department’s policy is to arrest all children referred to the agency.”
You can read the DOJ’s full complaint here. For fans of dry dark comedy, the high point comes after the lawyers quote the county’s “probation contract” for young offenders: “Youth counselors themselves are unable to clearly explain what the language in the above paragraph means.” Also illuminating: a list of offenses for which kids are “regularly incarcerated,” which range from “dress code infractions” to “using vulgar language” to “flatulence in class.”