February 20, 2019

Connecticut magnet schools’ racial preferences challenged

Hartford, Connecticut; February 20, 2019: The Connecticut Parents Union has launched a federal lawsuit to end race-based enrollment preferences that unfairly—and illegally—deny black and Latino children access to the state’s world-class magnet schools.

The CTPU, which works to expand educational opportunities for Connecticut families, seeks to end this blatant racial discrimination. CPTU founder and president, Gwen Samuel, says educational opportunities should not depend on race.

“Magnet schools in Connecticut offer the most promise for the futures of many children and their families,” explains Gwen. “Using skin color to block life-changing opportunities for these children isn’t just unfair, it’s unconstitutional. That’s why we’ve taken our fight to the courtroom.”

At issue is a state mandate that all Connecticut interdistrict magnet schools reserve 25 percent of classroom seats for white or Asian students. The racial quota originally applied only to Hartford, where a group of parents led by LaShawn Robinson filed a similar lawsuit last year. A law passed in 2017, however, expanded the quota statewide. Schools failing to meet the quotas face funding cuts or even closure, as with New Haven’s Creed High School which closed in 2018 after enrolling too many black and Hispanic students.

“Incredibly, the state incentivizes public schools to deny black and Hispanic children opportunities for an exceptional education for no reason other than skin color,” said Oliver Dunford, attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation. “This lawsuit aims to protect equal access to education for all children in Connecticut.”

Pacific Legal Foundation represents clients in both cases free of charge. More information is available at pacificlegal.org/CTMagnet.

About Pacific Legal Foundation
Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 39 states plus Washington D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 11 victories out of 13 cases heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

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