Appeals Court Rules Against Pitt County Schools

May 8, 2012

The U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned a lower-court ruling that dealt with student assignment in Pitt County Schools. The 4th Circuit said the school district that serves the Greenville area did not adequately consider race when drawing attendance boundaries.

Dave DeWitt: Pitt County is one of a handful of school districts in North Carolina that is still under a federal desegregation order from the 1970s. As such, any major changes it makes to student assignment must consider race.

A black parents' group argued the district didn't do that when it adopted the most recent student assignment policy. A lower court found for Pitt County Schools, but the 4th Circuit has overturned that decision.

The court's decision was split, 2 to 1. They sent the case back to the lower court, with instructions that the Pitt County Schools must prove its student assignment plan moves toward a so-called "unitary" status of desegregation.