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State lacks power to take action against school district for not reporting abuse

ST. MARTIN, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi Department of Education says it doesn’t have the ability to take action against a school district superintendent for not reporting a special education student’s mistreatment.

The Sun Herald of Biloxi quotes department spokeswoman Patrice Guilfoyle as saying it lacks “jurisdiction to pursue licensure action” against Jackson County School District Superintendent Barry Amacker. She says that’s because the abuse happened before a law change went into effect.

In 2015, a law passed that allows Mississippi to punish superintendents who don’t report misconduct within 10 days of learning about it. Amacker admitted he failed to report the assault after video evidence was found. One video shows a special education teacher shoving a towel into a 14-year-old girl’s mouth. Another shows a then-bus driver sitting on and threatening to kill the child.