US Appeal Filed in Alabama School District Secession Case

00:02  09 august  2017
00:02  09 august  2017 Source:   usnews.com

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The 67-page appeal , filed Monday to the 11th Circuit, argues that the decision should be overturned The issue of secession garnered national attention in April, when Judge Madeline Haikala of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, ruled in favor of Gardendale.

The appeal filed by the NAACP in the Alabama school district secession case asks the court to follow the judge’s findings to their “logical conclusion” and thwart the efforts of the town of Gardendale to create their own “segregated” school district .

Gardendale High School bio tech teacher Justin Ingram readies his classroom before school begins next week in Gardendale, AL on August 4, 2016.: Gardendale High School bio tech teacher Justin Ingram readies his classroom on Aug. 4, 2016.© (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post/Getty Images) Gardendale High School bio tech teacher Justin Ingram readies his classroom on Aug. 4, 2016.

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is appealing a district court’s decision allowing the predominantly white, middle-class city of Gardendale, located just outside Birmingham, Alabama, to secede from majority non-white Jefferson County School District.

“The District Court agreed that Gardendale’s bid to form its own school district was designed to exclude black schoolchildren,” Chris Kemmitt, senior counsel for the legal defense fund, said in a statement. “In filing this appeal, we are simply asking the Circuit Court to follow that finding to its logical conclusion and prohibit Gardendale from creating a separate, segregated school district at the expense of the broader community.”

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This week's federal appeals court decision rejecting a predominantly white Alabama community's by organizers of the secession effort that not-so-subtly suggested that the separate school district would eventually The desegregation case involving the Jefferson County system was filed in 1965, and

A majority-white Alabama town can’t split from its majority-black county school district . But Circuit Judge William Pryor of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in the panel’s opinion that Haikala erred not in her finding of racial motivation but instead in letting the secession continue.

The 67-page appeal, filed Monday to the 11th Circuit, argues that the decision should be overturned because the secession would impede desegregation efforts in the country, which is under a longstanding desegregation order, and because the secession was motivated by an intent to discriminate based on race.

The issue of secession garnered national attention in April, when Judge Madeline Haikala of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama in Birmingham, ruled in favor of Gardendale. The ruling, which acknowledged that "race was a motivating factor" behind the effort, would allow Gardendale to begin operating two elementary schools on its own as soon as the 2017-2018 school year.

If the secession goes forward, it would be the eighth such move by wealthier and whiter municipalities in the state and the 47th in the country since 2000, according to a report from EdBuild, a nonprofit that focuses on education funding and inequality.

“If we win, I think it probably makes it harder for subsequent towns to secede,” Kemmit tells U.S. News. “It would not affect towns that have already been allowed to do so.”

The court could hear oral arguments as early as next spring.

Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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