A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down a lower-court ruling that allowed an Alabama town to essentially segregate its schools, finding that the new school district’s intentions to split from Jefferson County schools were racially motivated and typical of how white people will do whatever it takes when black people get too close.
OK ... I may have made up the last part of that sentence.
AL.com reports that a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rescinded the U.S. District Court’s April 2017 decision to allow the 88 percent white town of Gardendale, Ala., to pull out of Jefferson County’s 74 percent black schools and form its own district.
In the earlier ruling, Judge Madeline Haikala admitted that race was the primary motivation for the white parents’ desire to separate, calling the reasons “deplorable,” but Jefferson County Board of Education v. Gardendale City Board of Education’s eventual conclusion allowed the Birmingham, Ala., suburb of Gardendale to essentially kick out its black students for what Haikala called “a number of practical considerations.”
The ruling would have forced the mostly black kids who lived outside of Gardendale to travel miles to attend other schools in the county. Even when Jefferson County Schools objected to the secession on the grounds that it had just built a sparkling new school for Gardendale, the parents wanted the black kids gone so badly, they offered to buy the school back from Jefferson County.
“The district court [Haikala] found that the Gardendale Board acted with a discriminatory purpose to exclude black children from the proposed school system,” wrote Judge William Pryor in his opinion (pdf).
The ruling was lauded by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which represented the black students.
As background, the ruling cited a group called Future of Our Community Utilizing Schools Gardendale, formed by the white parents:
FOCUS Gardendale circulated a flyer that depicted a white elementary school student and asked, “Which path will Gardendale choose?” It then listed several well-integrated or predominantly black cities that had not formed municipal systems followed by a list of predominantly white cities that had. The flyer described the predominantly white communities as “some of the best places to live in the country.
The Gardendale School District was the most prominent case in a recent explosion of white suburbs trying to separate from black school districts. As George Benson and Whitney Houston once sang: “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way ... unless they’re black. Then fuck them.”
I may have made up that last part.