A federal appeals court struck down a lower-court ruling allowing an Gardendale, Alabama to segregate its schools.
The appeals court decided the new school district’s intentions to split from Jefferson County schools were racially motivated.
The three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Haikala rescind the part of her order from last year that allowed Gardendale to secede over a three-year period from Jefferson County schools and form its own system, reported AL.com.
The panel’s decision rescinded the U.S. District Court’s April 2017 decision to allow the 88% white town of Gardendale, AL to pull out of Jefferson County’s 74% black schools and form its own district.
“The district court [Haikala] found that the Gardendale Board acted with a discriminatory purpose to exclude black children from the proposed school system,” wrote Judge William Pryor in his opinion.
The original ruling by Judge Haikala stated that under an experimental plan, 2 elementary schools in Gardendale could separate while she evaluated the racial mix and the demographic mix of those schools. Then at some future time middle and high schools might be allowed to separate.
Gardendale does intend to appeal the ruling and continue to push for racial segregation in the school system.