Blog | Center for Civil Rights

Center Files Amicus Brief in North Carolina Voting Rights Case

The CenterThis week the Center for Civil Rights filed an amicus curiae brief in the in the ongoing legal challenge to HB 589, the State’s 2013 voting law that imposed voter id requirements, cut early voting, and eliminated same-day registration, out of precinct ballots, and pre-registration of 16 and 17 year olds.


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Posted by Mark Dorosin on Fri. May 27, 2016 2:34 PM
Categories: Race Discrimination, Segregation, Voting Rights

Plaintiffs File Brief to NC Court of Appeals in Halifax County Leandro Litigation

On Wednesday, May 4, the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardians of schoolchildren filed their brief to the North Carolina Court of Appeals in Silver v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners. The Plaintiffs brought suit against the County last August, seeking to vindicate the constitutional right of all Halifax County schoolchildren to the opportunity for a sound basic education established under the Leandro decision. The Plaintiffs’ appeal comes after the trial court dismissed the lawsuit in early February, holding that the County has no constitutional obligations under Leandro.

In their brief to the Court of Appeals, CEES and the NAACP argue they must be afforded the opportunity to present evidence at trial and prove that the County’s maintenance of its three racially segregated school districts blocks all students’ opportunity to receive a Leandro-compliant education. Leandro II provides that local governments must allocate resources in a manner that provides children the opportunity for a sound basic education.

Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Youth Justice Project of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, on behalf of Public Schools First NC, filed an amicus brief in support of the Appellants’ Leandro claim. The amicus brief highlights Legal Aid of North Carolina’s work with students in Halifax County, and the lack of educational opportunity these students face because of the misallocation of educational resources among the county’s three school districts. Amici note that at-risk students in Halifax’s racially isolated districts suffer inadequate educational programs, poor academic outcomes, and disproportionately high rates of student discipline.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Fri. May 6, 2016 12:20 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Segregation

CCDC and NAACP File Accreditation Complaint, as Duplin County Schools Move Forward With Facilities Plan

On April 15, the Concerned Citizens of Duplin County (CCDC) and the Duplin County Branch of the North Carolina NAACP filed an accreditation complaint against the Duplin County Board of Education.  The complaint alleges the Board has failed to comply with a number of standards set by AdvancED, a school accrediting agency that accredited Duplin County Schools in September 2014.

The CCDC and NAACP filed the complaint less than two weeks after the Duplin County Board of Education voted to begin construction to retrofit existing school facilities, turning them into K-8 schools as part of a $65 million dollar facilities plan.  In December 2014, the CCDC filed a Title VI complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging the Board’s facilities plan illegally discriminates against non-white students by denying them access to quality facilities and concentrating them in racially segregated schools.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Mon. April 18, 2016 4:47 PM
Categories: Education, Segregation

Increasing Segregation and Achievement Disparities Persist in Wake County Schools, as Title VI Investigation Continues

On Tuesday, April 12, investigators from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights met with parents, students, and concerned community members from Wake County, as part of their ongoing investigation of a Title VI complaint filed against Wake County Schools (WCS) in 2010.  During the meeting, the Center for Civil Rights provided OCR investigators with updated student demographic and testing data for schools in the Wake County district. 

The NAACP, community organizations, and local parents filed the Title VI complaint after Wake County Schools abandoned its socioeconomic-conscious student assignment plan in the summer of 2010.  The complaint alleges the district’s abandonment of its former assignment plan—as well as its student discipline practices—illegally discriminate against non-white students by denying them equal access to educational resources.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. April 13, 2016 4:52 PM
Categories: Education, Race Discrimination, Segregation, Wake County

Plaintiffs Appeal in Halifax County Leandro Litigation

CEES banner

On February 22, the plaintiffs in Silver et al. v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners announced they are appealing the dismissal of their education equity lawsuit filed last August.  The suit, based on the North Carolina Constitution’s guarantee that every child be provided the opportunity to secure a sound basic education, argued that the county commissioners’ maintenance of three inefficiently funded, racially segregated school districts in Halifax County undermines educational opportunities guaranteed by the constitution and the state supreme court’s landmark Leandro decisions.  Read about the dismissal.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Wed. February 24, 2016 11:14 AM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Segregation

Community Group Sues Johnston County Board of Education to Obtain Public Records

On February 18, the Concerned Citizens for Successful Schools (CCSS) filed a lawsuit against the Johnston County Board of Education and Johnston County Schools Superintendent Ed Croom, seeking a court order compelling the school district to provide requested public records.

The North Carolina Public Records Act is clear: public records are the property of the people.  Members of the public have the right to inspect and receive copies of non-confidential records created and maintained by State and local government.  This right is essential to good governance and the efforts of community leaders across the state to engage with elected officials on important policymaking decisions.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Mon. February 22, 2016 11:00 AM
Categories: Education

Center for Civil Rights and Youth Justice Clinic File Amicus Brief in Fourth Circuit Case Challenging North Carolina Parole System Treatment of Juvenile Offenders

On February 16, the UNC Center for Civil Rights and the UNC Youth Justice Clinic filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Hayden v. Butler.  The amicus brief supports Plaintiff-Appellee Shaun Hayden, a North Carolina prisoner challenging the constitutionality of the State’s parole system as it applies to juvenile offenders.  Hayden, who is represented by North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for crimes he committed when he was 15.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Thu. February 18, 2016 2:42 PM
Categories: Amicus Curiae, Criminal Justice

NC Court of Appeals Rules in Eugenics Cases

On February 16, 2016, the North Carolina Court of Appeals issued an opinion in the consolidated appeals of three victims of the state’s more than forty-year forced sterilization eugenics program. Those appeals challenged as unconstitutional the Eugenics Compensation Act’s requirement that a victim be alive on June 30, 2013, to be eligible for compensation. Compensation was meant to be “restitution” for the injustices suffered under the state’s eugenics policy, which left more than 7,600 people — disproportionately non-white women — unable to conceive or bear children. The appellants, through their counsel at the Center for Civil Rights and pro bono lawyer Ed Pressley of Statesville, argued that the State had no legitimate basis to deny restitution to a victim’s heirs because the victim died before June 30, 2013 while granting it to heirs of a victim alive on that day.

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Posted by Elizabeth M. Haddix on Wed. February 17, 2016 1:00 PM
Categories: Race Discrimination, Sterilization

Superior Court Dismisses Halifax Leandro Litigation

In a disappointing but not surprising decision, Superior Court Judge W. Russell Duke, Jr. dismissed Silver et al. v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners, the lawsuit filed last August by the Center on behalf of the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardian in Halifax County, NC.
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Posted by Mark Dorosin on Wed. February 3, 2016 3:19 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Segregation

2015 UNC Center for Civil Rights Year in Review

As we approach the end of 2015, I have been reflecting on the events of the last year and a half, and the work of The Center for Civil Rights.  Since coming to UNC in June of 2014, I have been immersed in the history and the contemporary workings of North Carolina. As an attorney for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund for twenty-five years, and the Justice Department before that, I litigated civil rights cases all over the South, including North Carolina.  I have deep family roots in the state, including relatives known and unknown. Yet, it is one thing to know a place from a distance and even to spend time there, and quite another to live here.
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Posted by Theodore M. Shaw (Ted) on Mon. December 21, 2015 10:34 AM
Categories: General
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