Court Approves Comprehensive Assignment Plan in Longstanding Tennessee Desegregation Case
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee today approved a comprehensive consent order in McFerren v. County Board of Education of Fayette County, which the Department of Justice negotiated with the Board of Education of Fayette County, Tennessee and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund to desegregate the Fayette County public schools.
The consent order requires the district to implement a controlled choice program by the start of the 2014-15 school year for three of its six elementary schools so that all three schools achieve desegregated enrollments. To further desegregation at the other elementary schools, the district must close two of its elementary schools, construct a new elementary school, revise attendance zone lines and create a magnet program at the elementary school with the highest percentage of African-American enrollment. If the magnet program fails to produce a desegregated school after three years, the consent order requires the district to take additional steps. The district further agreed to provide gifted services at each elementary school, offer additional advanced courses at the high school, and continue certain intra-district student transfers that further desegregation among its schools.
“We are pleased that the parties were willing to work so hard to reach such a substantial and important agreement in this case,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The order shows the type of meaningful progress parties can achieve toward ensuring equal educational opportunities for all students if they are willing to be both steadfast and creative, and we look forward to working with the district over the next few years to implement the order and bring this case to a close.”
The enforcement of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in school districts is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt .