MALDEF Wins Ruling Striking Down Racial Segregation Case In Dallas Elementary School

November 16, 2006

Dallas, TX - Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that the principal of Preston Hollow Elementary School in Dallas segregated minority students on the basis of their race in violation of the U.S. Constitution and ordered the principal to cease the segregation and pay punitive damages to injured students.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by MALDEF, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, on behalf of Latino parents and students who alleged that Latino students were assigned to separate classes from Anglo children because of their race.

The Court found that Principal Teresa Parker intentionally assigned English-speaking Latino and African American students to English as a Second Language classes to keep them separate from Anglo students, and that at Preston Hollow, 'predominantly minority classrooms are, in some grades, physically separated in different hallways from the predominantly Anglo ... classes.'

Although the court declined to find the Dallas Independent School District liable for the discrimination, it chastised District supervisors for being 'asleep at the wheel' while Preston Hollow segregated students, stating that DISD supervisors knew or should have known of the illegal racial discrimination.

'Segregation in our public schools is intolerable. We are extremely proud of this victory. MALDEF will continue to defend the right of all Hispanic youth to equal access to education,' stated John Trasvina, President and General Counsel of MALDEF.

'The court sent a strong signal today that racial segregation in the schools will not be tolerated,' commented David Hinojosa, MALDEF Staff Attorney and lead counsel in the case. 'The court adamantly rejected the defense offered by DISD that children at Preston Hollow were receiving a separate but equal education,' continued Hinojosa.

The court has ordered the Principal of Preston Hollow Elementary to stop segregating students on the basis of race and to pay $20,000 in punitive damages to the plaintiff students.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

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