A divided federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit alleging that a Pennsylvania district acted with racial bias when it disproportionately assigned African-American students to special education classes.
Several black families sued the Lower Merion district under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But a majority of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit held that there was no evidence the district purposely discriminated against students based on race.
Among the evidence cited in the families’ suit was that the district had assigned black students to special education at a much higher rate than white students relative to their proportion of enrollment.
A version of this article appeared in the September 24, 2014 edition of Education Week as Appeals Court Tosses Suit Over Racial Bias in Spec. Ed.