July 15, 2016

Edmund's fight against discrimination continues

By Wen Fa Attorney

Today a federal court issued an extremely disappointing decision dismissing our lawsuit, which sought to give our client, third-grader Edmund Lee, Jr., the same opportunity to attend Gateway Science Academy as his white neighbors. As a result, Edmund will now have to leave Gateway, the school he has attended his entire life, for no other reason than because he is black.

PLF Principal Attorney Joshua Thompson had this to say about the decision — and our next steps in litigation:

“This is a deeply disappointing decision, but we are determined to press ahead. We believe the court is wrong on the law, and we know we are right on the underlying principle — that the Constitution does not allow public schools to discriminate based on race. As Dr. King said, the arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice. Sometimes the same is true of litigation — it can take a long time and lots of perseverance to right an injustice. From the beginning we knew this case might need to be decided, ultimately, by the U.S. Supreme Court. We are prepared to go all the way to that level, if necessary, to stop St. Louis-area schools from turning away students based on their color.”

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E.L. v. Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation

As part of a decades-old desegregation lawsuit settlement in St. Louis, Missouri, the Voluntary Inderdistrict Choice Corporation (VICC) enacted a policy for city and county schools that prohibits African-American students who live in the county from transferring into magnet and charter schools within the St. Louis city limits. White students may transfer to these schools. African-American third grader Edmund Lee happily attended a charter school in the city and wanted to continue when his family moved out into the county. The policy prohibited his transfer because of his race. PLF represents Edmund and his mother, La’Shieka White, in a lawsuit challenging the policy as violating the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause.

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