Today, the Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement with the Robertson County, Tennessee, school district to resolve the department’s determination that the district had yet to fulfill its desegregation obligations in the areas of student assignment and school construction. The department identified a series of district decisions that, over decades, impeded desegregation by building and expanding almost all-white schools while leaving African-American students disproportionately in overcrowded schools with portable classrooms.
As a school system formerly segregated by law, the district has a duty to remedy past discrimination and avoid actions that reestablish segregated schools. The district also has an ongoing obligation under federal civil rights laws to treat all students equitably regardless of race or ethnicity. Under the agreement, all Robertson County students will be assigned to schools, and school facilities will be constructed and maintained, in a desegregated and non-discriminatory manner.
In addition, the agreement ensures that:
the new elementary school set to open next year will be desegregated,
overcrowding at predominately minority schools is addressed,
anticipated changes in student assignment to middle and high schools will further desegregation, and
cultural sensitivity and competency training is provided to teachers and staff.
“We are pleased that the Robertson County Schools has committed to take steps to provide all students with equitable educational opportunities regardless of race,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division. “We will work closely with the district as it implements the agreement and develops an effective student assignment plan for its middle and high schools.”
Promoting school desegregation is a priority of the department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Division is available at www.justice.gov/crt.