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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 26, 2010
Justice Department Settles with Louisiana School District to Ensure Students Have Equal Opportunities

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced that it entered into a settlement agreement with the Monroe City School District in Louisiana to address the educational inequities between schools serving virtually all black student populations and those schools that serve most of the district’s white students. The settlement agreement, in the form of a consent decree and subject to court approval, stems from a longstanding desegregation order governing the Monroe City School District to ensure that the district complies with Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and provides all students with the equal protections of the law.

The consent decree will, among other things, address disparities between the courses offered at the district’s virtually all black high schools and its high school that serves almost all of the district’s white population, as well as a significant black population. For instance, at a 100 percent black high school, there were no Advanced Placement (AP) courses and only five Gifted and Honors classes. However, at the school with a population that is 43 percent white, the District offered over 70 Gifted, Honors and AP courses. The agreement requires the district to take specific steps to offer the same courses at every high school in the district, including AP, pre-AP, Honors and Gifted classes. Additionally, the agreement requires that the district work with a third-party organization, the Equity Assistance Center of the Intercultural Development Research Association, to ensure an equitable opportunity for all district students to participate in Gifted, Honors, pre-AP and AP programming. The district has already begun the process of engaging the Equity Assistance Center to address these inequities. http://www.justice.gov/crt .

"Education is the most important gift we can give to children to help them succeed, and all students must have access to a quality education that provides them with equal opportunities, regardless of their race," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "We will continue to ensure that all students have such access and will carefully scrutinize school districts that operate pursuant to federal desegregation orders to ensure that these districts are meeting their obligations to their students."

The enforcement of the Equal Protection Clause and Title IV in school districts is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department is available on its Web site at

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