Why one black family is suing St. Louis over desegregation

A lawsuit filed by the mother of a St. Louis charter school student alleges that regional policies restrict which schools black children are allowed to attend.

A St. Louis charter school student is the subject of a lawsuit targeting a regional desegregation policy that may in fact be keeping black students from transferring schools.

The St. Louis area's desegregation program enacted more than 30 years ago allows black students to go to school in mostly white suburban institutes, and for suburban students to attend city charter schools. Black suburban students, however, cannot.

Gateway Science Academy third-grader Edmund Lee has attended the school since kindergarten and previously lived in St. Louis but recently moved to Maryland Heights, around 20 miles outside the city. His mother, La'Shieka White, alleges that Edmund would not be allowed to transfer back to Gateway next year because he is black.

"We are long past the days when students can be turned away from school based on their race," Ms. White told the Associated Press. "Well, that's what I thought."

"It's like being caught in a time warp," she added.

The suit claims that rules of the St. Louis-area school superintendent's board behind the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) provide that "African-American students are prohibited from transferring," as they wish, highlighting the "race-based restrictions in the transfer program."

Regional schools were found to be illegally segregated in 1980 in federal court, prompting the issuance in 1983 of rules designed to "balance the racial makeup of the city and county schools."

Joshua Thompson, White's attorney, however, says the rules target blacks in St. Louis County while giving white students an opportunity to transfer as they please.

"It is outrageous that in this day and age, there will still be policies on the books that turn children away from school because of the color of their skin," Mr. Thompson said.

The AP reports that while Gateway officials declined to respond to requests for comment, they previously said they want Edmund's presence but could not allow it under the county rules.

Thompson says the obstruction is most likely due to the neglect of old policies rather than racial preferences.

Material from The Associated Press was used for this report.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Why one black family is suing St. Louis over desegregation
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today