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United States v. West Carroll Parish School District

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

June 2, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
WEST CARROLL PARISH SCHOOL DISTRICT

RULING

ROBERT c. JAMES, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is a Motion for Declaration of Unitary Status ("Motion for Unitary Status") [Doc. No. 68] filed by the West Carroll Parish School Board ("West Carroll"). The United States of America, through the Department of Justice ("DOJ"), filed a Response to the Motion for Declaration of Unitary Status ("Response") [Doc. No. 73].

For the following reasons, the West Carroll's motion is GRANTED, the District is hereby declared UNITARY in all regards, and this case is DISMISSED.

I. ORIGINAL ORDER, MODIFICATIONS, AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 10, 1969, the Government filed a complaint against West Carroll, asserting that it was operating a dual school system in violation of the United States Constitution.

On June 5, 1969, this Court (Judge Ben C. Dawkins, Jr., presiding) concluded that West Carroll was operating a discriminatory dual school system and ordered the parties to submit desegregation plans.

On August 1, 1969, Judge Dawkins accepted the plan submitted by West Carroll and issued an order ("1969 Plan") establishing certain student attendance zones designed to remove the vestiges of racial discrimination under the dual school system that had been in place. Under the 1969 Plan, three schools-Fiske Union Elementary School, Goodwill Elementary School, and Forest High School- remained "white" schools. The 1969 Plan was modified in 1970, at the request of the Government, to add more detailed provisions. However, West Carroll's school system has never been reviewed since the Supreme Court's decision in Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenberg Bd. of Educ., 402 U.S. 1 (1971).

In 1976, the 1969 Plan was modified, at the request of West Carroll, to permit the consolidation of Pioneer Elementary and High Schools at the Pioneer High School site.

On April 29, 1991, the Court again modified the 1969 Plan, at the request of West Carroll, to change attendance zones. At that time, Pioneer became a K-8 school, and students in grades 9-12 who had been assigned to Pioneer were re-assigned to Epps High School.

The 1976 and 1991 modifications were not opposed by the Government.

From 1971 to 2003, the Government took no action in this Court, other than its consent to entry of the 1976 and 1991 orders.

In 2003, the Government investigated the inter-district transfer of white students from the virtually all-black Eudora, Arkansas school system to West Carroll schools. On August 11, 2003, a Consent Order was entered requiring West Carroll to monitor intra-district and inter-district transfers, to verify students' residences, and to take steps regarding the recruitment and hiring of faculty and professional staff.

On November 29, 2005, the Government filed a Motion for Further Relief, seeking Court intervention for the consolidation of West Carroll schools in order to implement a new student assignment plan.

On January 24, 2006, West Carroll filed a memorandum in opposition to the Motion for Further Relief and further moved the Court for a finding of unitary ...


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