I was stunned when I read the headline: "Judge tells Mississippi schools to stop segregating". I thought it had to be a typo. How, in this country, could any community be so retrograde in thinking as to allow this to continue? Why was it even necessary for a Judge to have to order the end to a practice that most civilized and thinking Americans know to be wrong?
It boggles the mind. The following are excerpts from an article that was posted on Reuters:
(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Tuesday ordered a rural Mississippi school district to comply with a nearly 40-year-old order and halt long-disputed practices that led to racial segregation in its schools.
The Justice Department accused the Walthall County School District in rural Mississippi of annually permitting more than 300 students, most of them white, to transfer to a school outside of their residential area, shifting its racial makeup.
Further, administrators at three other schools grouped most of the white students into their own classrooms "resulting in significant numbers of segregated all-black classrooms at each grade level," the U.S. government said in a court filing.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Tom Lee, in Jackson, Mississippi, ordered the school district to significantly limit transfers. Lee also ordered the district to stop assigning students to classrooms that resulted in segregation, demanding that it use a software program to randomly assign them.
"It is unacceptable for school districts to act in a way that encourages or tolerates the resegregation of public schools," said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.
In 2008, the Walthall district had about 2,550 students -- of whom about 64 percent were black and 35 percent were white.
At four schools, less than a quarter of the students were white while at least 73 percent of the students were black in 2008, according to the government court filing. In 1992, the racial makeup of those schools was between 59 percent and 70 percent black and at least 30 percent white.
Meanwhile at another school, Salem Attendance Center, 66 percent of the students were white while a third were black students in 2008. That was a dramatic shift from 1992 when a majority, 58 percent, were black and 42 percent were white.
The change in the school racial makeup was not because of population shifts, but rather "the product of unlawful district transfer policies that permit hundreds of white students" to transfer each year, the Justice Department said.
The superintendent for the district declined to comment on the judge's ruling.