Court Approves Desegregation Plan for Cleveland, Mississippi, Schools
Cleveland School District to Open Consolidated Middle and High Schools by August 2017
U.S. District Court Judge Debra M. Brown of the Northern District of Mississippi today approved a joint settlement agreement filed on Feb. 8 by the Justice Department, private plaintiffs, and the Cleveland School District. The agreement will lead to the effective desegregation of Cleveland’s middle and high schools by the start of the next school year.
Under the terms approved today, the school district agrees to comply with a May 13, 2016 court ruling mandating consolidation of Cleveland middle and high schools to remedy decades-long segregation in the school district. The consolidated high school, to be named Cleveland Central High School, will open by August at the current Margaret Green/Cleveland High campus. Also by August, the district will open the consolidated middle school (seventh and eighth grades), Cleveland Central Middle School, at the current East Side High facility. Under the agreement, sixth grade students will attend district elementary schools rather than the consolidated middle school.
As part of the agreement, the district and plaintiffs have withdrawn all alternative desegregation proposals from consideration by the Court. The district has also withdrawn its pending appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
“The Department is pleased to have reached agreement with the Cleveland School District and private plaintiffs to settle this decades-long litigation,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The plan approved today allows the community to move forward together. It reflects the parties’ shared commitment to high quality equal educational opportunities for all Cleveland students.”
Additional information is available on the Justice Department’s website at: www.justice.gov/opa/pr/federal-court-orders-justice-department-desegregation-plan-cleveland-mississippi-schools.
Promoting school desegregation and enforcing Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt.