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New Jersey sued for public school segregation

[JURIST] A group of non-profit corporations including New Jersey Coalition of Diverse and Inclusive Schools (NJCDIS), along with New Jersey students, sued [complaint, PDF] the state of New Jersey Thursday for having racially segregated schools.

In addition to relying on Brown v. Board of Education, the plaintiffs also cited the New Jersey Constitution, which expressly prohibits segregation by race in public schools. The plaintiffs used the data that 66.1 percent of Black students attend public school districts where the non-white students make up 75 percent or greater of the student population. In addition, 24.4 percent of Black students attend a public school district where 90 percent of the student body is made up of Latino or Black students. This is compared to the 42 percent of White students who attend public school districts that are made up of a student population that is 80 percent White or greater.

The complaint lists three main causes of the segregation of New Jersey public schools: "(1) residential segregation, (2) municipalities and school district drawn inside the segregated residential zones, and (3) state laws assigning students to schools by residency."

There are three recommended forms of relief, (1) interdistrict desegregation plans, (2) interdistrict enrollment in magnet schools, and (3) regional controlled choice. These policies would include allowing schools to voluntarily send students to others outside of their residential district.

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