Education

Alabama District Files Court Papers in Desegregation Case on Secession

By Mark Walsh — August 15, 2017 1 min read

The predominantly white Alabama town seeking to take control of its schools from a more racially diverse county system has filed court papers arguing that its actions were not motivated by race and would not harm the racial balance of the larger system.

The Gardendale City Board of Education moved quickly to file a cross-appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, after a civil rights group last week filed its appeal in a case that has garnered nationwide attention.

A federal district judge found earlier this year that race was a motivating factor in the Gardendale school district’s effort to secede from the Jefferson County, Ala., school system. Nevertheless, the judge allowed Gardendale to take control of the two elementary schools within its limits. That decision was appealed Aug. 7 by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund on behalf of black schoolchildren as part of a long-running school desegregation case.

The Gardendale district’s cross-appeal, filed Aug. 11, seeks the right to take control not just of the two elementary schools, but also the middle school and high school in the community.

Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala had ruled that the upstart district could not take control of those campuses for at least three years, and that Gardendale would have to compensate the Jefferson County system for a relatively new high school building.

Gardendale also argues that the judge erroneously ruled that it was liable for statements by private individuals on social media that demonstrated racial bias in the runup to the creation of the separate city school district in 2014.

“They were ... the statements of private persons, none of whom were on the Gardendale Board and who collectively comprised a small fraction of the city’s population,” Gardendale’s appeal says. “The court also erred by reading racism into comments expressing opinions about the socioeconomic and political potential of a smaller, more local school system.

The district also argues that taking control of all four schools would not harm the racial balance of the Jefferson County system.

“Gardendale seeks to create a smaller, local school system to provide better schools for children of all races,” the cross-appeal says. “Gardendale believes the lower court erred by obstructing that effort.”

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Data Analyst
New York, NY, US
New Visions for Public Schools
Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read