ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–An African-American mother today sued over race-based transfer
restrictions for St. Louis-area public schools that will block her son
from attending the school of his choice — simply
because he is black. La’Shieka White is represented, free of
charge, by attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), a national
public interest watchdog organization that litigates for equal rights
and educational choice.
Her federal lawsuit targets race-based restrictions that prohibit
African-American students who reside in St. Louis County from
transferring to public schools in the City of St. Louis, while allowing
students who are not African-American to make such transfers.
The restrictions — described as “outrageous” by PLF — were first adopted
decades ago as part of a consent decree governing court-ordered
integration of St. Louis-area schools. The implementing program is
called the St. Louis Student Transfer Program.
Until recently, Mrs. White lived in the City of St. Louis, where her
nine-year-old son, Edmund, is a third-grader at Gateway Science Academy,
a charter school in south St. Louis. The family has now moved to
Maryland Heights, in St. Louis County, but would like Edmund to continue
at Gateway. However, they are barred from doing so in the coming school
year, because the transfer program allows only non-black students in the
County to transfer to public schools in the City.
“It is outrageous that in this day and age, there would still be
policies on the books that turn children away from the school of their
choice because of the color of their skin,” said PLF Principal Attorney
Joshua Thompson. “This discrimination isn’t just unacceptable, it is
flat-out unconstitutional. No matter how benign the goals of this policy
might have seemed decades ago, as an instrument of desegregation, race
can no longer be the driving force in determining where St. Louis-area
children may go to school. There can be no excuse in the 21st century
for denying any student equal opportunity without regard to race. Under
our Constitution, the schools system cannot say to La’Shieka White and
her son, ‘You are black, therefore, no transfer for you.’”
The lawsuit is White
v. Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation. More
information, including the complaint,
and a podcast,
may be found at: www.pacificlegal.org.