Judge orders desegregation of Cleveland, MS schools - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Judge orders desegregation of Cleveland, MS schools

Source: Raycom Image Bank Source: Raycom Image Bank
CLEVELAND, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Nearly 62 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional, some schools in the Mississippi delta are still divided, but not for long.

After five decades, the Cleveland School District in Bolivar County must merge its high and middle schools to achieve racial desegregation.

The court rejected as unconstitutional two alternatives proposed by the school district, agreeing with the Justice Department that the only way to achieve desegregation is by consolidating Cleveland’s high schools and middle schools.

A federal judge handed down the ruling late Friday.

The Justice Department sought the merger, saying Cleveland was illegally maintaining schools that were racially identifiable as black or white.

“Six decades after the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education declared that ‘separate but equal has no place’ in public schools, this decision serves as a reminder to districts that delaying desegregation obligations is both unacceptable and unconstitutional,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “This victory creates new opportunities for the children of Cleveland to learn, play and thrive together.  The court’s ruling will result in the immediate and effective desegregation of the district’s middle school and high school program for the first time in the district’s more than century-long history.”

The Mississippi NAACP issued a statement Tuesday that said, in part:

"The Mississippi State Conference NAACP believes that the recent federal decision to desegregate schools in Cleveland, MS is a crucial step in the right direction towards providing quality education for all children.  Fifty-one years after Bolivar County parents filed a lawsuit challenging the segregated school system in the county, African American students in the district finally will be allowed to attend schools without the stigma of race and poverty. Ironically, this decision has come down almost 62 years to the exact day of the historic 1954 landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education."

Report finds segregation in education on the rise

Copyright 2016 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly