Imagine for a moment a Black mother attempting to enroll her son in a local, high-performing magnet school with open spots, only to be wait-listed and denied one of the open seats due to the fact that they were reserved for white students.

Seems hard to believe that it would take place today, but that story of Lashawn Robinson and her son was the reason for a 2018 lawsuit aimed at dismantling a Hartford, Connecticut law that was originally tasked with desegregating schools through the use of “racial quotas”.

Following the 1996 case Sheff v. O’Neill, Connecticut ruled that the Hartford’s students of color were having their right to an equal educational opportunity violated as a result of segregated, unequal schools. The result lead to the creation of a “network of magnet schools aimed at attracting white students to schools comprised mostly of black and Hispanic children.”

An expansion of the hartford ruling has seen state law require “racial quotas” demanding that Connecticut inter district magnet schools reserve 25 percent of classroom seats for white or Asian students. The unintended consequence of discrimination against black and brown students attempting to fill empty seats in high-performing magnet schools is what lead the Connecticut Parents Union (CTPU) to file a lawsuit aimed at protecting equal access to education for all children in Connecticut.

Reached for comment, CTPU founder and president Gwen Samuel said:

“Connecticut taxpayers spend billions to eliminate the achievement and opportunity gaps for Black and Hispanic children, which exist in part due to unsafe and poor quality neighborhood schools. So why would Connecticut, also known as the Constitution state, think it was okay to deny Black and Hispanic kids on wait lists, access to safe and quality public magnet schools in their own neighborhood to help eliminate these very same achievement and opportunity gaps. I understand belief gaps exist due to racial biases but these biases do not trump the Constitutional rights of Black and Hispanic children. Racial discrimination is Unconstitutional”

Read the full lawsuit below:

CTPU Federal Lawsuit Compla… by on Scribd

Josh Stewart considers himself a global citizen first and foremost and is passionate about cultural exchange. He has a B.s. in Political Science and Hispanic Studies from St. John's University in Minnesota and experience as both an ESL and social studies teacher in Korea and the Philippines. He currently works a digital content Manager for Citizen Education and Education Post and enjoys both traditional and creative methods crafting messages around the desperate need to improve our education system and provide quality options to the most marginalized students and families.


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