Segregation in Mississippi Public Schools in 2010?

Federal judge orders Mississippi school district to end policies.

ByABC News
April 13, 2010, 5:54 PM

WASHINGTON, April 14, 2010— -- A federal judge in Mississippi has ordered a school district in the state to change school attendance policies that he said amount to racial segregation.

The Justice Department had been investigating the Walthall County school district for several years, alleging what it called was a "flagrant violation" of a desegregation court order from 1970.

Federal District Judge Thomas Lee agreed with the Justice Department's claim that the school administration was transferring mostly white students out of district to a "racially identifiable white school," while the enrollment in their home district "has become predominantly black."

Prosecutors charged "that District annually permits over three hundred transfer students -- the vast majority of whom are white to attend Salem Attendance Center even though they reside in the Tylertown attendance zone."

"As a result of these transfers, Salem Attendance Center has allegedly become a racially identifiable white school while the student enrollment of the Tylertown schools has become predominately black," the judge wrote.

The district allegedly also "clustered" students in the individual schools, creating a "disproportionate numbers of white students into designated classrooms" at elementary schools in Tylertown, "resulting in significant numbers of segregated, all-black classrooms at each grade level."

Calls to Danny McCallum, the superintendent of education for Walthall County and Conrad Moore, the lawyer representing the county, were not returned today.

In November 2007, the Justice Department requested information from the school district to determine if it was in compliance with the 1970 desegregation order.

The Justice Department proposed a consent decree to remedy fixes to the school board's practices, but according to a Justice Department brief filed in the case, "on September 8, 2009, the Walthall County School Board rejected the United States' consent decree without proposing an alternative solution or inviting further negotiation."