Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Jackson County Florida School District on School Desegregation
The Department of Justice on Friday, Feb. 23, reached an agreement with the Jackson County School Board in Florida that paves the way for the district to complete desegregation and achieve full unitary status. The agreement, which was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida on Friday, addresses all remaining issues in the school desegregation case and, when fully implemented, will lead to the closure of that case.
The agreement declares that the district has achieved partial unitary status in the areas of student assignment (between schools); transportation; extracurricular activities; and facilities. The agreement retains judicial supervision over the areas of recruitment, hiring and promotion; and within-school segregation related to student discipline.
The agreement puts the district on a path to full unitary status by early 2020 provided it takes steps including: formalizing and implementing a plan to attract a diverse pool of applicants for faculty, administrator, and staff vacancies; revising the District’s code of conduct to ensure fairness and consistency in the handling of student disciplinary offenses; and providing district staff with additional tools to address student misbehavior and promote positive behavior.
The court will retain jurisdiction over the agreement during its implementation, and the Justice Department will monitor the district’s compliance.
“We are pleased with the work the district has done to comply with many of its desegregation obligations,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We look forward to working with the district to ensure fair and equal treatment for all its students in the remaining areas and bringing this case to a successful close.”
Promoting school desegregation and enforcing Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 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.