Education Department to review Tupelo discipline

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Representatives of the U.S. Department of Education will be in Tupelo next week investigating whether discipline in the city’s school district is consistent along racial lines.
During the spring, the department’s Office of Civil Rights began a compliance review to determine whether the school district disciplines black students more frequently and more harshly than it does white students who commit similar offenses. Next week’s visit will be part of that review.
As part of the visit, the OCR will host a community forum on Monday night from 7 to 8 p.m. on Itawamba Community College’s Tupelo campus in the Technical Building Auditorium.
During its on-site visit, the OCR will review documents and conduct interviews.
The OCR will assess whether any discrepancy in discipline rates between black and white students is the result of infractions that involve subjective staff decisions, USDE press officer Jim Bradshaw said in June.
Tupelo is one of 20 school districts chosen for a compliance review, Tupelo Interim Superintendent David Meadows said during an April school board meeting.
OCR doesn’t discuss why specific institutions were selected for reviews or details of its investigation until complete.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com