The Mississippi School for the Deaf (MSD) is a Mississippi school for the deaf and hard of hearing accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It offers elementary and secondary education, covering students from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade.
Established by legislature on March 1, 1854, the school was originally named the Mississippi Institution for the Deaf and Dumb. In its early years, the school was troubled by a lack of teaching staff, which sometimes closed its doors, but in 1857 Lawrence Saunders, the school's first student, returned to teach. Although the school was closed during the American Civil War from 1861 to 1871 when the building was used as a hospital by the Confederate States Army, it never had to close for lack of instructors again. Saunders continued to teach until he died in an accident on Christmas Day in 1895.
The current 51 acres (210,000 m2) campus is located at 1253 Eastover Drive in Jackson, the fifth building to house the school.
The goal of the Mississippi School for the Deaf is to provide for early language acquisition and to facilitate the development of two languages, American Sign Language (ASL) and English. This goal is accomplished with the belief that for most Deaf students, American Sign Language is the accessible, dominant language used for communication, and thinking, while English is learned as a second language. By fostering competencies in these two languages and by providing an academically and culturally enriched learning environment, Deaf students will have the skills and attitudes necessary to function effectively with members of the Deaf and Hearing Communities.