May 11, 2016

Preliminary injunction filed in St. Louis segregation case

By Joshua P. Thompson Senior Attorney

This afternoon we filed a motion for preliminary injunction in White v. Voluntary Interdistrict White Family PicChoice Corporation. This is our challenge to a St. Louis-area policy that prevents black kids — and only black kids — from transferring from St. Louis County into public schools in the
City of St. Louis. This is a blatant, invidious, unjust, and racist policy that prevents black children from having the same opportunity as other kids simply because they are black.

Our clients, La’Shieka White and her son Edmund, are challenging this racially discriminatory policy under the United States Constitution. We argue that the race-based restrictions violate the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

There’s one problem, however. Because court cases like this can take years to resolve, Edmund will have to suffer under these discriminatory policies for years until the court strikes them as unconstitutional. That’s why we filed a motion for a preliminary injunction today. Our motion asks the court to enjoin these restrictions while the lawsuit is ongoing.

The motion, as its name suggests, only seeks “preliminary” relief. If the Court grants the preliminary injunction, it means that Edmund will not be prevented from enrolling in Gateway Science Academy — the only school the third-grader has ever known — because he is African-American. Because Edmund needs this relief urgently, we hope the Court grants the preliminary injunction while the litigation on this case progresses.

You can view a copy of our motion here, and La’Shieka White’s declaration in support of the motion here.

learn more about

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.

Read more

What to read next