MALDEF Intervenes on Behalf of LULAC and GI Forum to Protect Desegregation Provisions in Texas School Districts

Transfer provisions aimed at enforcing desegregation are in
danger of being dismissed

December 03, 2007

AUSTIN, TX – The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), the nation’s leading Latino legal organization, will intervene on behalf of LULAC and the GI Forum to uphold transfer provisions for Texas school districts in order to ensure that desegregation efforts are not impeded. Multicultural Education, Training and Advocacy, Inc. (META) serves as co-counsel in the United States v. Texas case which will be argued before the Fifth Circuit by David Hinojosa, Staff Attorney for MALDEF’s Southwestern Region, on December 5, 2007.

This desegregation case dates back to 1970 when the United States filed suit under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment against the State of Texas, the Texas Education Agency (TEA), and a group of school districts for maintaining all-black and all-white segregated schools in Texas. Following a trial later that year, the District Court found that the State Defendants had contributed to the continuation of racially segregated schools in Texas, seventeen years following the Brown v. Board decision. Thereafter, the Court issued a desegregation order (known as Order 5281), which included TEA’s obligation to monitor student transfers between districts statewide to ensure that desegregation was not impeded.

In the current intervention filed in 2006 by Independent School District’s (ISD) Harrold and Samnorwood, the Districts claimed that the State had unlawfully withheld their funds after they failed to enter student transfers into the state’s student transfer computer system. The Districts also argued that the transfer provisions of Order 5281 only applied to those school districts that were part of the original 1970 suit and that ISD’s did not need to report Hispanic transfers.

Despite having prevailed in court, the districts argued that the transfer provisions should not remain intact and the state consented. MALDEF filed a brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and will argue: 1) that the matter is moot since the Districts prevailed in the trial court; and 2) that the transfer provisions remain relevant and are aimed at TEA’s past violations. If TEA desires to have those modified or dismissed, then it must properly bring a motion before the District Court, not the Court of Appeals.

For all media inquiries, please contact Laura Rodriguez.

Copyright 2009 MALDEF — Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund