Update: COA Denies En Banc Petition and issues Mandate - District court must implement Opinion favoring Plaintiffs

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The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Pitt County Board of Education's petition for an en banc hearing in Everett v. Pitt County Schools. On June 5, 2012, the Court of Appeals denied the petition, stating that no judge called for the case to be reheard. Read the court's denial of en banc rehearing (PDF).

On June 13, 2012, the Court issued a Mandate stating: "The judgment of this court, entered May 7, 2012, takes effect today." Read the Mandate (PDF).  The Mandate is a clear affirmation that the Court of Appeals expects significant and immediate action from the district court.

Pitt County Schools' en banc motion sought a rehearing by all fifteen Court of Appeals judges of the 2011 appeal by the Pitt County Coalition for Educating Black Children. Read about the history of this case in previous posts.

A three judge panel heard oral arguments in January 2012, where the Center for Civil Rights asserted on behalf of Plaintiffs that the district court applied the wrong standard of law when it failed to require the board to demonstrate that its actions are in compliance with its duty to eradicate the vestiges of the racially discriminatory system. The Court of Appeals held that the district court erred by failing to require the School Board to rebut "a presumption that any racial disparities in the 2011-2012 Assignment Plan resulted from the School Board’s prior unconstitutional conduct in operating a racially segregated school district before 1970.” The court affirmed that School Board retained its affirmative duty to “take whatever steps might be necessary to convert to a unitary system.”

The Court's May 2012 decision vacated the district court’s August 2011 decision and remanded the case for reconsideration with the correct burden of proof. The Mandate reaffirms the court's duty to correctly apply the burden of proof on the school board and hold PCS to its affirmative duty.

Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Wed. June 13, 2012 9:22 AM
Categories: Education, Pitt County, Race Discrimination
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