NAACP Files Civil Rights Complaint Against MNPS -Yahoo!by Elyssa Durant
January 20th 2009
Nashville, Tennessee, January 26, 2009. The Nashville affiliate of the NAACP has filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education over the pending rezoning of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools. Keith Caldwell, community member and parent filed the was sworn into office as the first Black president in the United States of America.
This announcement, made Monday morning, January 26, 2009 at the NAACP headquarters of the local affiliate as the media and several members the community watched.
Reverend James Lawson, civil rights activist who worked with Martin Luther King Junior, and Marilyn Robinson, president of the Nashville NAACP, joined Caldwell. In a statement, Rev. Lawson stated that he believes the rezoning plan is "immoral, unethical, and wrong."
Mr. Caldwell fears that the already segregated neighborhoods of Nashville will suffer as a result of a return to neighborhood schools. Both look towards the landmark Brown vs. Board decision as an example of how separate but equal is inherently unequal, however there a several well- known and established members of the Black community who disagree.
Pastor Enoch Fuzz, community "leader" and activist, expressed concerns that a return to neighborhood schools will encourage parent involvement and brings with it large federal subsidies to provide students and their families with much needed financial resources in the poorest sections of Nashville.
Karen Johnson, elected member to the school board also points out that the plan includes comprehensive plans to allow significant choice that includes transportation for children who are not performing well in their current school environment.
The rezoning hearings took place in an open environment and involved a Task Force made of up of community members and parents. The Task Force, majority African-American, unanimously supported a return to neighborhood schools in favor of the rezoning plan. The plan allows for choice with transportation.
The Civil Rights branch of the DOE investigates discrimination complaints for institutions that receive federal funding, will investigate the claim.
If MNPS is found to be in violation, MNPS stands to lose as much as 67 million dollars in federal funding. Caldwell's children attend magnet schools and are not at risk of being transferred back to their locally zoned schools, however, Caldwell hopes that this investigation will prompt MNPS to halt the implementation of the rezoning plan.