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Judge Denies Huntsville, Alabama School District’s Re-Zoning Plan Due to Segregation Issues

By: Krystle Crossman

Huntsville, Alabama has been segregating it’s students for quite some time. They were trying to come up with a proposal to re-zone the school district but U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala struck the proposal down quickly. She instead brought in Judge John Ott, Chief Magistrate, to take a closer look at the schools and try to find out where the racial disparities are and what they can do to solve them.

Judge Haikala stated in her 107 page ruling that she had not noticed an effort on the school district’s part to make sure that the black students in the school were as prepared as they needed to be. Often times they were not prepared for AP classes and so they didn’t take them. If they didn’t take these classes the schools that failed to properly prepare them blamed the students for their educational gaps. She also found that the superintendent was moving paperwork around so that the transfers of black students into schools that had a majority of white students was delayed.

The school board held “community meetings” days before their proposals were put into place, supposedly so they could get feedback from the entire community. The superintendent however admitted that even after these meetings nothing on the proposals ever changed which means that they did not give the community a fair amount of input. The re-zoning proposal that they had in the works would aim to combine two of the high schools where black students were the majority. Judge Haikala stated that this was in no way working towards desegregation as the black students would be more secluded from the white students than they already were.

Over the next few months the Huntsville School District will be looking into continuing the re-zoning of the schools but they will be much more unitary than the plan that the school board had come up with. Judge Haikala sees many challenges down the road when trying to enforce the desegregation but feels that the minority students will benefit greatly if they are all taught at the same level as the non-minority students.

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