EBR Observes the End of the Desegregation Case
- Jul 18, 07
School Board President Patricia Haynes-Smith presents the welcome message during the commemoration
“Where one lives should not and cannot determine the quality of education that is delivered in the classroom.” This was the message from Superintendent Charlotte D. Placide as the East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS) observed the end of the 51 year old school desegregation case.
“Re-Focus, Re-Connect, Re-Commit” was the theme of the event, held at McKinley Middle Magnet School on Monday, July 16, 2007. Dozens of people gathered to reflect on the significance of the day. Speakers included U.S. District Judge James J. Brady and U.S. Attorney David Dugas. Judge Brady approved the Final Settlement Agreement in 2003. It officially ended at midnight, Saturday, July 14, 2007.
The initial desegregation lawsuit was filed in 1956 on behalf of 37 North Baton Rouge African-American students by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Former NAACP President Alvin Johnson told the audience equity in public schools means future opportunities for children. “Education is the pathway out of poverty,” Washington said.
The end of the Final Settlement Agreement takes control of the school system away from the courts and brings it back to the community of East Baton Rouge Parish. Superintendent Charlotte Placide urged the community to take ownership of its public school system. “This is a new journey. There will be no more court supervision, no more monitors, no more excuses, no more blame, no more flight, and no more low expectations. Instead, we will take responsibility for where we are, who we are, and what we want to become as a community,” she said.
Other featured speakers included Dr. Christel Slaughter and Brace Godfrey, Jr., co-chairs of the Citizens Task Force on Education Improvements. During the desegregation case, this group of business and community leaders was organized to bring both sides together to end the case. Stephen Moret, Chief Executive Officer of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke on behalf of area business leaders. He pledged the support of the chamber’s members to EBRPSS.
Invited guests who attended included former EBRPSS Superintendent Gary Mathews and former School Board Members Ingrid Kelly, Roger Moser, Warren Pratt and Press Robinson.
In recognition of the community and the school system’s accomplishment, Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden issued proclamations to honor the historic event.
In a memo, General Counsel Domoine Rutledge saluted EBRPSS staff’s dedication and hard work to exceed the expectations of Final Settlement Agreement. “You are an outstanding group of professionals to whom this community owes an enormous debt of gratitude,” he wrote.
Principal Brister in Washington, D.C., to Accept McKinley Middle School’s Second Blue Ribbon Award
On Tuesday, November 13, 2012, Principal Herman Brister (pictured, left) and the school’s Teacher of the Year, Lynn Williamson (right), were in Washington, D.C., accepting McKinley Middle Academic Magnet School’s National Blue Ribbon Award from U.S. Department of Education’s Director of National Blue Ribbon Schools Program Aba Kumi (center). The event, which recognized some 314 schools from across the United States, was held at the Omni Hotel. Click herefor story.
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