- Associated Press - Friday, October 24, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - The Mississippi Department of Education must take steps to provide training and assistance to implement a sustainable special education program in the Jackson Public Schools, a judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III administratively closed a class-action suit filed by special-needs students against the Department of Education but he wrote in his order that either party can reopen if necessary.

The settlement was filed with the federal court in Jackson and Jordan issued his order in September.

“We reached an agreement with the state because we felt it was in the best interest of our clients,” Corrie Cockrell, attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, which represents the students, told The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/1tiAjeX ).

The Department of Education also must conduct quarterly reviews of that program through the end of the current school year and provide summaries of those reviews to attorneys for the plaintiffs.

The Jackson school students, who now are seniors, argued they were denied a free and appropriate education as guaranteed by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, http://www.clarionledger.com

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