Quarles v. Oxford Municipal Separate School District

868 F.2d 750 (1989)

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Quarles v. Oxford Municipal Separate School District

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
868 F.2d 750 (1989)

Facts

In 1969, a class of Black students and parents in Oxford, Mississippi (plaintiffs) sued the Oxford Municipal Separate School District (district) (defendant) in district court, seeking compelled school desegregation. The court ordered the district to submit a desegregation plan, and the district complied. By 1972, the district court, in a decision declining to impose mandated busing in the district, praised the district’s success “to an astonishing degree” in integrating its schools. The district had been grouping and continued to group students in third through eighth grades by ability level. Students in higher levels were disproportionately White, and students in lower levels were disproportionately Black. At the high school level, accelerated and Advanced Placement courses were open to all students; however, the students who chose to enroll in them were disproportionately White. In 1987, the class of students and parents petitioned the district court, seeking an injunction against the district’s ability-grouping system, claiming that the system constituted unlawful discrimination against Black students. The district court analyzed the system and concluded that its segregative impact was minor and that any segregative impact was not causally related to past discrimination. The district court declined to issue any injunction related to the ability-grouping system, and the class of students and parents appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Reavley, J.)

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