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Pitt County School Board Under Fire By Parents

By Brian Alluisi Posted August 6, 2013 at 6:24 am

Photo by Doug Wilson

PITT COUNTY – The case of Everett V. Pitt County School Board has brought a lot of attention to Greenville, NC and the PittCountySchools and could have implications for statewide changes.

Last Monday, lawyers squared off in federal court over a 2011 student assignment plan that many parents say re-segregated several schools in the district.

Nearly 60 years after the U.S Supreme Court struck down segregation in public schools, Pitt county remains on federal supervision until it reaches unitary status.  Civil rights attorney Mark Dorosin says this is not an isolated school district.

“There are a number of counties and school districts across the south that are in a similar position to Pitt County, that is school districts that have been under court order for many years, and are still under court order” Dorosin said.

Achieving “unitary” status means that Pitt County School Board would no longer be under federal supervision to ensure desegregation. Dorosin says this case could have effects on other districts in the south that have not received unitary status.

“The ruling itself will be contained directly to impacting Pitt County,” Dorosin said “but the whole process and how the court handles the allegations I think are being watched closely by education advocates and school districts across the region”

Several families have joined forces with the Coalition to Educate Black Children as plaintiffs against the district.  Dorosin says they hope to end some of the current changes that they feel have re-segregated schools.  He says many people both in Pitt County and other counties are watching this case to see the results.

“Some folks who live in those districts, on both sides of the issue, the school districts themselves and the parents whose children attend those schools are watching this case to see whether the decision will have any bearing on how they should proceed toward unitary status in their districts” Dorosin commented.

Judge Malcom Howard will make the final decision in the next few weeks on whether Pitt County Schools have tried to desegregate and create unitary status.

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