Using legal double speak, an ever increasing commonality in tackling race issues in America, Judge Madeline Haikala of the U.S. District Court in Birmingham ruled in favor of allowing a majority white city secede from the predominantly Black school district it was in. That ruling has come under fire drawing criticisms from many, especially after much of the South has done its best to mask segregation tactics.
While willfully acknowledging that the secession efforts were based on race and the message of racial inferiority and assailed “the dignity of black schoolchildren”, Haikala ruled Monday that the secession movement could move forward because she sympathized with the local families who wanted out of the school district.
Attorney for the Black plaintiffs, U.W. Clemon, slammed the ruling stating “If this decision stands, it will have a tremendous adverse impact.”
The dangerous precedent set by the ruling would only encourage other cities to follow suit believing that “If Gardendale can do it, with its history of racism . . . then any other city would have the right to do what Gardendale has done.”
Obvious selective inclusionists argue that the secession movement is not in fact racially motivated but an issue of local control.
“We know that the community is anxious and ready to achieve its goal of a locally led public school system. We are, too,” Chris Segroves, president of the Gardendale Board of Education, said in a statement. “While the court’s order is progress and represents a significant development in that process, we must ask for your continued patience and prayers in the coming days as we work through this together for the betterment of our community.”
“Gardendale, a bedroom community outside Birmingham, has been pushing for years to leave the predominantly black school system in Jefferson County and form its own small district.
Haikala’s finding of a racial motivation in Gardendale’s separation, and her defense of the ongoing need for federal oversight of school desegregation cases, made her decision all the more perplexing to civil rights advocates.
Federal judges have over the years allowed a succession of majority-white cities to pull their schools out of the Jefferson system, leaving the county schools with a smaller tax base and a growing proportion of low-income and black students. But until now, no judge has so closely examined whether efforts to draw new school-district boundaries here were racially motivated — much less concluded that they were.”
Despite the obvious signs of discriminatory intentions, Judge Haikala turned a blind eye while claiming that Gardendale failed to show how their efforts wouldn’t hurt desegregation, something the south has been struggling with since black parents sued in the 1960s.
“Nonresident students are increasing at [an] alarming rate in our schools,” one organizer wrote on Facebook. “Those students do not contribute financially. They consume the resources of our schools, our teachers and our resident students, then go home.”
Haikala pointed out that such rhetoric sent a clear message to black students, “These schools are not yours, and you are not welcome here.”
Haikala sympathized with the black students, saying that they were caught in the middle against their will.”