Huntsville City Schools granted partial unitary status in desegregation case

Updated: Jan. 9, 2020 at 6:48 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - On Thursday, the Huntsville City Board of Education’s attorney, Chris Pape, announced that the court granted the board’s recently filed joint motion for partial unitary status in its school desegregation case Hereford and the United States v. the Huntsville City Board of Education.

This marks the first time that the Huntsville school board has earned unitary status in any Green factor in the 57-year old case.

The court’s grant of partial unitary status was limited solely to the “student transportation” Green factor.

Green factors, named for the 1968 Supreme Court case Green v. County Board of New Kent County, are the areas where the board must eliminate the effects of the former segregated system. The factors applicable to Huntsville City Schools include student assignment, equitable access to course offerings, extracurricular activities, faculty and staff assignment, facilities, student discipline, and transportation.

A court may grant unitary status to a school system in an individual Green factor, but a desegregation case does not end until the school system achieves unitary status in all Green factors.

In her order, Judge Madeline Haikala explained that she was granting the joint motion:

“Because the Huntsville Board has demonstrated that it has, in good faith, eliminated to the extent practical the vestiges of de jure segregation from its transportation system and is committed to operating its transportation system in a non-discriminatory manner after federal supervision ends, the Court releases the Board from supervision of its transportation system under the 1970 desegregation order.”

The court also explained that its grant of the joint motion does not change or impact any of the board’s obligations related to other Green factors in the board’s consent order.

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