The Lawyers’ Committee and partner, University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights are pleased to announce a significant victory which occurred on May 7, 2012, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion in the federal school desegregation case (Everett v. Pitt County Board of Education, 6:69-cv-00702-H) vacating the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina and remanding the case for reconsideration consistent with the appellate court ruling.
The Fourth Circuit opined that the federal district court applied an incorrect legal standard in the plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief in a student redistricting plan issued by the Pitt County Board of Education located in Pitt County, North Carolina. Under the court’s ruling, the Pitt County Board of Education has the burden of proof to show that its student assignment plan moves the school district closer toward attaining “unitary status,” a judicial determination that the district has eliminated the vestiges of racial segregation from its system of public education. The Fourth Circuit’s ruling moves the plaintiffs one step closer to ensuring that the Pitt County Board of Education discontinues a student assignment plan that has a racially disparate impact upon minority students in the school district.
On May 21, 2012, the Pitt County School Board petitioned the Fourth Circuit to hear the case en banc. A ruling is pending.
To read the Fourth Circuit’s May 7th opinon, please click here.