Education A National Roundup

Federal Lawsuit Filed Against Illinois Districts For Leaving League

By David J. Hoff — April 18, 2006 1 min read

A group of primarily white Illinois school districts violated federal and state civil rights laws when they chose to leave an athletic conference that included schools with predominantly minority student enrollments, a lawsuit filed in federal court argues.

The 22 suburban Chicago high schools that have formed two new conferences “destroyed the racial diversity” of the South Inter-Conference Association and “created two new, separate and segregated conferences,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed by districts remaining in the old conference.

“By seceding from SICA,” the lawsuit says, defendants “are creating, to the extent feasible, separate interscholastic competitions for white and black students—and racial motivations are the reason.”

Plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit include two districts remaining in the SICA and several parents and students in those schools. The suit was filed April 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago.

Officials for school districts listed as defendants in the case were unavailable for comment.

The two new conferences are called the Southwest Suburban Conference and the South Suburban Conference.