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A group of civil-rights lawyers has filed suit against the state of Connecticut, charging that racial segregation in the schools denies children their right to equal educational opportunity under the state's constitution.

The state-court lawsuit represents a "departure from the reliance on federal courts in desegregation actions," John C. Brittain, a lawyer for the Connecticut Coalition for Educational Equity, said last week.

The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of students of the Hartford schools.

Mr. Brittain added that the action was spurred by a recent report by Commissioner of Education Gerald N. Tirozzi, which recommended voluntary approaches to reducing racial imbalances in the schools. Critics contend that such strategies are unlikely to achieve equity. (See Education Week, April 19, 1989.)

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