Victory for charter schools in Mississippi
Mississippi Justice Institute and other defendants protect constitutionality of charter schools according to trial court
(JACKSON) – Hinds County Chancery Judge Dewayne Thomas ruled today in the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of charters schools in Mississippi. Judge Thomas ruled in favor of the charter schools and their parents, and against the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Mississippi Justice Institute (MJI) Director Shadrack White, who represents the parents of charter school students, said, “This is a critical victory for the parents and their children who attend charter schools in Mississippi. Judge Thomas saw that the constitution does not trap my clients in their traditional public schools when public charter schools provide a better option. These parents know what’s best for their children.”
The charter lawsuit turned on whether the Mississippi Constitution allowed funding from state and local governments to be spent at charter schools. “Our case was simple,” said White. “My clients pay taxes, so they should have the right to take that money to a public charter school if that is a better option for their children. These schools are making their lives better. The plaintiffs in this case, however, had an extreme argument: that the funding for charter schools, agricultural schools, some alternative schools, and other types of non-traditional public schools should be barred.”
“As this case marches forward, I am going to continue thinking about all the good that charter schools have done for my clients, like Gladys Overton and her daughter Drew,” said White. “When we started this case, Gladys told us that, in her old school, Drew experienced nonstop bullying and a difficult classroom environment. Drew moved to ReImagine Prep, a charter school in Jackson, and today she is thriving. She was the most improved student in her class last year and, like every other student at ReImagine, is learning computer coding skills to prepare her for the workforce.”
“Students like Drew are who we fight for,” added White.