A Mississippi town has been ordered to desegregate its high schools and middle schools – 62 years the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional.
As reported by DailyMail:
U.S. District Judge Debra Brown ruled Friday that the town of Cleveland must merge its mostly black schools with historically white institutions – ending a five-decade long battle for desegregation.
‘The delay in desegregation has deprived generations of students of the constitutionally guaranteed right of an integrated education,’ Brown wrote in her opinion, seen by DailyMail.com.
‘Although no court order can right these wrongs, it is the duty of the district to ensure that not one more student suffers under this burden.’
Cleveland School District enrolls 3,600 students – around a third of whom are white and two thirds are black, CNN reports.
But the town’s abandoned Illinois Central Railroad tracks still serve as the line of demarcation between the virtually all black schools on the east side, and the whiter populations in the west, according to the federal court opinion.
The case against what is now the Cleveland School District was brought by parents and guardians of 131 minority children 50 years ago.
It alleged that the schools district had continued to operate schools ‘on a racially segregated basis’, despite the Supreme Court’s ruling more than a decade earlier.
Parents had complained that their children were being ostracized for attending a school on the ‘wrong’ side of the tracks.
In a statement, the U.S. Justice Department said people had testified that ‘the stigma long associated with the district’s black schools and the sense among black children in the community that white children attended better schools.
‘Parents of all racial backgrounds testified that they want their children to learn in a diverse environment to prepare them to encounter the world today.’
Brown’s proposal would see East Side High School, where all but one student is black, combined with the more diverse Cleveland High, while D.M. Smith Middle, which is 95 per cent African-American, is integrated with Margaret Green Junior High which has around a 30 per cent white population.
Consolidation used to be common practice in the 1960s and 1970s as a way of tackling desegregation.
But it is unusual for the practice to still be considered a necessity in 2016.
Read more at DailyMail.
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