A judge has ordered a small southern Mississippi school district to stop allowing hundreds of white students to transfer out of majority black schools, calling the practice a violation of both a desegregation order and federal law.
U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee last week sided with the Department of Justice in its complaint against the Walthall County school district. Its schools in Tylertown are about 75 percent black and enroll 730 students. The student population at the Salem Attendance Center is 65 percent white with some 650 students in grades K-12. Salem and the Tylertown schools are about 10 miles apart.
The Justice Department contended that the district had, for years, allowed hundreds of white students to transfer from Tylertown to Salem.
Walthall County schools Superintendent Danny McCallum was not available for comment. He has said that, because of the way district lines are drawn, some students who are assigned to Tylertown actually live closer to Salem, and that was why transfers were granted.
A version of this article appeared in the April 21, 2010 edition of Education Week as Judge Bars Transfers of Pupils in Bias Case