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Posted: 9/1/2002 12:13:09 AM EDT
THE REGION [size=4]High Court Scraps Racial Limits in School Transfers[/size=4] [list]Law: State justices side with a father who argued that a Huntington Beach district's policy aimed at preserving ethnic balances is illegal.[/list] [size=1]By MONTE MORIN and DAVID HALDANE, TIMES STAFF WRITERS[/size=1] The California Supreme Court has backed a father who argued that a Huntington Beach Union High School District policy limiting student transfers on the basis of race violates state law. The court Wednesday upheld without comment a June appellate court ruling. Lawyers for the state Department of Education, which supported the district, said the ruling could cripple voluntary desegregation efforts statewide and said they may seek an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. "We don't want [the school at the center of the case] to become any more racially isolated than it already is," said Joanne Lowe, a lawyer with the education department. "To allow that would be to violate the rights of kids to get an equal education." The case--Crawford vs. Huntington Beach Union High School District--began in 1999 when Donald Bruce Crawford, a Fountain Valley parent, sued the district alleging that its policy of denying some students transfers within the district to maintain ethnic balance discriminated against white students and violated the state Constitution as amended by Proposition 209, the 1996 state ballot initiative that ended affirmative action. Since 1994 students in the district had the right to freely transfer among its eight high schools. Then district officials began noticing that many white students were transferring out of schools with large ethnic enrollments such Westminster High School, where the percentage of white students dropped from 25% to 16% in just a few years. In an effort to stem that tide, they revised the policy in 1999, requiring that transfers be balanced to maintain the racial and ethnic character of each school. A lower court upheld the policy, ruling in the district's favor. In June, however, the 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana struck it down, ruling that the attempt to maintain balance by race and ethnicity was an unconstitutional violation of Proposition 209. "We do not dispute the evils of segregated schools and we recognize the potential benefits of attending a racially and ethnically diverse school," Justice David Sills wrote, "but the people have spoken." Though a California appellate court decision is technically not binding outside its district, experts said, most state courts of appeal ordinarily defer to such rulings. Still unclear Thursday was how many other districts in the state will be affected by the ruling. Marian Bergeson, a former member of the State Board of Education and secretary of education under Gov. Pete Wilson, said the ruling simply reinforced the direction in which most school districts state--and nationwide--are already headed. "I'm not aware of any other districts that do this," she said, referring to the Huntington Beach policy. "The general movement has been in the opposite direction." But Sharon Browne, a lawyer with the Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented Crawford, predicted a wide fallout. "This ruling sends a message to all school districts that have similar policies," she said. "It tells them that their policies are unconstitutional and they need to get rid of them or they're wide open for a lawsuit." Crawford expressed satisfaction at the outcome: "To me, it's not just a great legal victory, but a great moral victory. I think that race-based transfer policies in general are morally repugnant." School board member Michael Simons said trustees would meet with their lawyer Sept. 10 to decide what to do. * Times staff writers Henry Weinstein and Vivian LeTran contributed to this report. [url]www.latimes.com/editions/orange/la-me-racial30aug30.story?coll=la%2Deditions%2Dorange[/url] -------------------- California outlawed affirmative action and race-based enrollment, yet across the state school districts refuse to obey the law. Someone needs to open a can of whup ass on these people.
Link Posted: 9/1/2002 9:39:28 AM EDT
Three loud cheers for this ruling!!!! First thing I plan to do as King is to ban ALL references to race from census counts & govt forms, drivers licenses excluded. This country is WAY too focused on race.
Link Posted: 9/1/2002 11:31:17 AM EDT
It is always encouraging to read this type of ruling. That it came from Kalifornia is astounding.[^]
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