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Justice Approves End to Busing in Norfolk

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The head of the Justice Department's civil-rights division told a federal appeals court at a hearing this month that the Norfolk, Va., school board's effort to dismantle its 14-year-old busing plan "is perfectly constitutional," according to press reports.

The board's proposed neighborhood-school policy, which would leave 10 of the city's elementary schools more than 90-percent black, should be approved because the school system was declared fully desegregated in 1975, and should "be entitled to be treated just as any other unitary system," William Bradford Reynolds, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, was quoted as telling a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

'Invidious and Race-Based'

Lawyers for the naacp Legal Defense and Educational Fund, meanwhile, labeled the plan "invidious and race-based," warning that it would lead to resegregation across the country if allowed to stand.

A federal district judge approved the plan last July, but the school board, anticipating an appeal to the circuit court, decided to delay its implementation. The Justice Department in early December filed a brief with the court supporting the board's position. (See Education Week, Dec. 12, 1984.)--tm

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