May 4, 2016

St. Louis Transfer Rules Block Student Because He Is Black

By St. Louis Transfer Rules Block Student Because He Is Black

Harold Johnson and Joshua Thompson are joined by PLF client La’Shieka White to discuss her suit over race-based transfer and enrollment restrictions for St. Louis-area public schools that will block her son from attending the school of his choice next year — simply because he is black.

Until recently, Mrs. White lived in the City of St. Louis, where her nine-year-old son, Edmund, is a third-grader at Gateway Science Academy, a charter school in south St. Louis. The family has now moved to Maryland Heights, Missouri, in St. Louis County, but they would like to continue enrolling Edmund in Gateway, where he has been excelling since kindergarten.

However, they are barred from doing so in the coming school year, because he would have to transfer into Gateway from their new residence in the County — and the St. Louis Transfer Program would not allow him to do so, because he is African-American. The St. Louis Student Transfer program allows only non-black students living in the County to transfer to public schools in the City.

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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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