Appeal on the Way in Desegregation Lawsuit

Walter Searcy, NAACP Legal Regress, addresses the appeal of Judge Sharp’s decision

The desegregation lawsuit over Metro School’s zoning plan is not over. The local chapter of the NAACP formally announced today it will appeal a ruling handed down last week.

At the heart of the original case was the argument that Metro Schools purposefully drew new zones to “make majority black population schools blacker and majority white schools whiter.”

Judge Kevin Sharp found that intent wasn’t there, and threw out the case. However, he did find that that the district’s plan essentially lead to segregation.

State Representative Brenda Gilmore says that’s the real issue.

“Resegregation whether intentionally or unintentionally still has the same impact on our community. The things that we had fought for thirty, forty, fifty years ago, that we should have to revisit is a travesty.”


For its part, Metro has argued that the district’s diversity isn’t just a matter of school zones. Spokewsoman Meredith Libbey points out that there are also magnet schools open to students from every neighborhood.

“We provide bus passes for students who are lower income to attend our magnet schools, and we do a lot of outreach to families, such that about a quarter of our students don’t attend their zoned school – they make an active choice.”


The appeal will likely be filed before the end of the year.

Web extra:

The legal battle dates back to 2009, when the NAACP filed suit along with the parents of a African-American girl who’d been rezoned from mostly white schools in West Nashville to a cluster of lower performing ones that were closer to their home–and majority black.

The parents were not present at the appeal announcement.

Representative Brenda Gilmore seated far right next to Reverend Sonnye Dixon were among those in the Nashville NAACP branch to speak on the issue of segregation caused by the MNPS zoning plan.

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