Little Rock School District On Trial

46 minutes ago

Attendance zones for Central High School are one of the issues in a lawsuit alleging a pattern of racial discrimination in Little Rock School District.
Credit / National Park Service

The state’s largest school district is scheduled to be on trial again. The case “Doe versus the Arkansas Department of Education” alleges a pattern of racial discrimination has been a significant factor in decisions in the Little Rock School District.

The lawsuit against LRSD claims bias against black students has impacted everything from which buildings in the Little Rock School District do or do not receive maintenance and upgrades to which academic courses are offered in different schools.

Commissioner of Education Johnny Key has led the embattled district in place of an elected school board since its takeover by the state in 2015. Key and Superintendent Michael Poore are defendants in the case.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge D. Price Marshall, Jr. ruled in favor of Poore and Key in a summary judgment on parts of the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs had not provided enough evidence to prove racial bias as a district-wide practice at least in regards to discipline practices and determining which teachers are assigned to which schools. However, Marshall denied the request for summary judgments on the issue of building maintenance decisions, academic course offerings, and the attendance zone for Central High School.

In a brief, Marshall said, “the Court concludes that it can make a better judgment on the facilities/resources claim after seeing and hearing the witnesses, plus considering all the documents with the context that only live testimony, as well as oral argument, will provide.”

The trial is set for Tuesday, July 18.