Monroe v. Board of Commissioners: Facts of the Case

2012-10-14 23:48:43 by admin

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners

Monroe v. Board of Commissioners: The Court’s Ruling

A state law from 1954 required racially segregated schools in Tennessee. The city had eight elementary schools, three junior high schools, and two senior high schools. Five elementary schools, two junior high schools, and one senior high school were for Whites. After Brown, the state adopted a pupil placement law. Basically, the law allowed current students to stay put and gave local school boards the authority to approve pupil placement and transfer requests. Under this plan, no White students enrolled in African American schools, and only seven African American students applied for enrollment in the White schools.

In 1962, the Sixth Circuit ruled that the placement plan was inadequate when it came to dismantling a segregated school system. After the plaintiffs filed action in the district court in 1963, a plan with courtordered modifications was adopted. Elementary students living within attendance zones were automatically assigned to schools in zones that had geographic or neutral boundaries; however, the plan also included a free transfer provision. Citing evidence that the African American schools had remained onerace schools and that only 118 African American students attended White schools, the court held that the plan had been administered in a racially discriminatory manner.

The board also filed its plan for desegregating the junior high schools. In 1964, all three junior high schools retained their traditional racial identities. The faculties of the schools were also segregated. Despite parental protests that the board had gerrymandered school attendance zones, the district court ruled for the board. The court further held that a feeder system recommended by expert witnesses did not have to be adopted. The court of appeals affirmed the decision but remanded for further proceedings on the issue of faculty desegregation.