Mississippi State panel will allow old records' destruction

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The State Records Committee approved a schedule last week that will permit destruction of state records dating to 1927, some of them detailing allegations of abuses and injuries to patients at Ellisville State School.

"If you're throwing that much information away, you're losing history," said researcher Jan Hillegas of Jackson, who attended the meeting at which the decision was made. "People need to be writing this history. They need to be aware of it."

The five-member committee approved a schedule that enables Ellisville State School to destroy records from between 1927 and 1999 that include allegations of mistreatment of patients as well as injuries to patients caused by accidents.

But Bob Dent, division director of state records at the Department of Archives and History, said those records are being preserved in other ways.

"If there are allegations of abuse, abuse is always documented in the patient file, and that's a permanent record," he said. "Those are never destroyed.

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