Jackson (Miss.) Schools Could Lose Accreditation Thursday

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jackson's public schools could lose state accreditation Thursday, after district board members rejected a deal that would have given the system longer to comply with rules regarding special education.

The pact would have given Jackson until June 2013 to resolve special education problems that have lingered for years. But it required the local system to give up substantial control over special education to the state, and board members rejected it 4-3 Monday, with some expressing concerns about losing local rule. Jackson Public Schools have a Tuesday deadline to sign the deal.

Students will still earn state-recognized diplomas, meaning colleges will accept graduates.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, Southern Disability Law Center and Disability Rights Mississippi filed an administrative complaint with the state claiming the district was overly punitive toward special education students, suspending them or sending them to the district's alternative school. In a parallel action, the groups sued the district over the practice of handcuffing students at the alternative school, winning a settlement barring use of restraints.

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