4 area school districts still under desegregation orders

Published 3:33 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Four area school districts are among the more than 30 still under open federal desegregation orders.

On June 1, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke visited Mississippi. While speaking at the Holmes County Circuit Court Complex, Clarke noted there are approximately 30 schools in the state that remain under federal desegregation orders. The Department of Justice is still working to provide black students with equal access to education programs, she said.

“In our ongoing efforts to fulfill the promise of Brown v. Board of Education (1954), we currently have 32 open cases with school districts here in Mississippi,” said Clarke. “And in each of those cases, we are working to ensure that these districts comply with desegregation orders from courts.”

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The four area districts are Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Lawrence County and Copiah County.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, desegregation plans and court orders are resolutions of past discrimination by districts determined by the Office of Civil Rights or by the courts. Some of the Mississippi cases have been open for decades.

Interim State Superintendent of Education Mike Kent said desegregation orders are unique to specific school districts. All negotiations and interactions occur at the local level, with no involvement from the MDE, according to Kent.

Since 2014, 29 additional cases in Mississippi have been closed by the DOJ.