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Desegregation of Public Education

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Administered by:

US Federal Government Agency (see all agencies)
Department of Justice , Civil Rights Division
CFDA #: 16.100

Program accomplishments...

Among the Section's most important priorities is its responsibility to monitor approximately 359 school districts currently covered by desegregation orders in cases in which the United States is a party. To ensure that districts comply with their obligations, the Section routinely reviews matters relating to student assignment, faculty assignment and hiring, transportation policies, extracurricular activities, the availability of equitable facilities, and the distribution of resources. The Section also routinely responds to requests by other parties to modify court orders to reflect current circumstances, and also to requests by parties and courts regarding unitary status and the ultimate dismissal of the lawsuit. As a result of these activities, the Section obtained relief in a number of cases, including improved facilities for minority students, the elimination of one race schools and consolidation of schools to ensure desegregation, the desegregation of faculty and recruitment of minority faculty and staff, more equitable transportation routes for minority students, the elimination of segregative transfers, and the elimination of racially dual awards. Also, where appropriate, the Section agreed that the desegregation process had been completed in several districts and agreed to declarations of unitary status. For FY 2003, the Section embarked on several new initiatives. First, we expanded our amicus practice to include cases involving religious discrimination. We filed amicus briefs in cases to support after school use of public school facilities for programs which included among other things, worship; we also successfully supported a group of students who wished to distribute candy canes to which they attached messages of a religious nature. We also conducted a review of the practices of a professor who refused to provide recommendations to students allegedly because of religious discrimination. Our investigation led to a change in the professor's policy. The Section also launched investigations to determine whether limited English proficient students were receiving services to permit them to participate in the educational process, and concluded and reached agreements in other such investigations. Other notable achievements in safeguarding the educational opportunities for all students included: (1) continuing to monitor school districts under court order and notifying 45 school districts regarding concerns about compliance and resolving concerns; (2) obtaining a favorable judgment in our litigation against the Bertie, North Carolina school district, as well as favorable desegregation relief in, for example, Port Arthur, Texas and Clay County, Alabama; (3) obtaining a remedy in our successful litigation against the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) to ensure equal opportunity for girls in high school sports throughout the State; (4) obtaining a favorable judgment in a case involving a collateral attack on a consent decree that provides equal opportunity for girls in high school sports in South Dakota; (5) working with parties in longstanding desegregation cases to ensure that requests for unitary status were properly evaluated and agreeing to unitary status in 20 cases where our efforts helped achieve unitary school systems; (6) opposing requests for declarations unitary status in several cases, and attempting to resolve the cases amicably where we do oppose, where appropriate; (7) increasing the number of case reviews initiated to 119; (8) finalizing a consent decree in the Madison, Tennessee racial harassment case which provides for damages and injunctive relief; and (9) continuing attempts to voluntarily resolve issues through alternative dispute resolution in 7 cases. Quiries into school districts to determine whether legally appropriate services are being provided to limited English proficient students and disablestudents, and