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Press Release

Justice Department Reaches Agreement With Suffolk City Virginia School District to Desegregate Its Schools

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Department of Justice has reached an agreement with the Suffolk City School District in Virginia that paves the way for the district to complete desegregation and achieve full unitary status. The consent order, which was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia today, addresses all remaining issues in the school desegregation case and, when fully implemented, will lead to the closure of that case.


The consent order declares that the district has achieved partial unitary status in the areas of facilities, extracurricular activities, transportation, and faculty and staff assignment. The consent order retains judicial supervision over the area of student assignment through the 2019-20 school year.


The consent order puts the district on a path to full unitary status within three school years provided it:


  • Continues to implement its majority-to-minority transfer program in accordance with the court’s 2014 consent order and makes reasonable efforts to expand the program;

  • Modifies the attendance zones of students who will be affected by the opening of the new schools in North Suffolk in a manner that furthers desegregation in the district; and

  • Develops and implements a student discipline improvement plan to ensure fairness and consistency in the handling of disciplinary offenses.


The court will retain jurisdiction over the consent order during its implementation, and the Justice Department will monitor the district’s compliance.


“We are pleased that the district has made significant progress in this longstanding case,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Rights Division Tom Wheeler. “We look forward to working with the district to ensure fair and equal treatment for all its students 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

Updated March 21, 2017

Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 17-291