Blog Posts: Halifax County

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

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

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

Pretrial Hearing in Halifax County Sound Basic Education Suit

On Tuesday, December 22, in Halifax, NC, Judge Russell Duke will hear a number of pretrial motions from the Halifax County Board of Commissioners, including a motion to dismiss, in Silver et al. v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners.  The hearing will be the first to address substantive issues since the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardians filed suit against the Board of Commissioners in August, to vindicate the state constitutional right of all Halifax County children to the opportunity for a sound basic education.  Read the Plaintiffs’ brief in opposition to the Board of Commissioners’ motions.

Earlier this month, Judge Duke denied eight of nine motions to have out-of-state attorneys from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and Latham & Watkins LLP join the Center for Civil Rights in representing the Plaintiffs.

Center attorneys Mark Dorosin and Elizabeth Haddix, as well as Eileen O’Connor from Lawyers’ Committee, will represent the Plaintiffs at Tuesday’s hearing.


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Posted by Brent J. Ducharme on Fri. December 18, 2015 4:46 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County

From EdNC: Local groups sue Halifax Commissioners, hold press conference

Check out EdNC's article on the Halifax County lawsuit filed by community groups and parents over violations of Halifax students' constitutional right to a sound basic education. The article provides a good summary of the case and a video of the press conference held by community members.


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Posted by Mark Dorosin on Fri. August 28, 2015 10:32 AM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Segregation

Halifax County Board of Commissioners Sued for Not Providing Sound Basic Education

Today, as children in Halifax County begin a new school year, the Coalition for Education and Economic Security (CEES), the Halifax County Branch of the NAACP, and three parents and guardians of children attending public schools in Halifax County filed suit (PDF) against the Halifax County Board of Commissioners in Silver et al. v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners, to vindicate the North Carolina constitutional right of all Halifax County’s schoolchildren to the opportunity for a sound basic education.


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Posted by Mark Dorosin on Mon. August 24, 2015 4:29 PM
Categories: Education, Halifax County, Segregation

Managing Attorney Mark Dorosin Interviewed in Halifax County Education Documentary

"School Days: Education in Halifax County Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" is a short documentary by Tom Adams from the Center for Documentary Studies. Center Managing Attorney Mark Dorosin was interviewed and talks about the history of school desegregation in Halifax County.


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Posted by Bethan R. Eynon on Thu. March 13, 2014 11:56 AM
Categories: Halifax County

Halifax County Settles Lawsuit with Brandy Creek Residents

On Monday, December 2, 2013, the Halifax Board of County Commissioners voted to approve a settlement to resolve an ongoing lawsuit with the residents of the Brandy Creek. Gary et al. v. Halifax County, was scheduled to go to trial in January. The settlement is a milestone in the residents’ struggle for justice following the failed plans to develop the Carolina Crossroads entertainment district and the Roanoke Rapids Theater in their neighborhood. The community was represented by the UNC Center for Civil Rights and Halifax County attorney Bettina Roberts-Flood.


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Posted by Jennifer Watson Marsh on Wed. December 11, 2013 12:01 PM
Categories: Annexation, Community Inclusion, Halifax County, Halifax Taxes

59 Years after Brown vs. Board of Ed, the Spectrum of Segregation Persists

The Center was invited to write for Teach For America's blog, Pass the Chalk, to commemorate the Brown v. Board of Education anniversary. We wrote about the spectrum of segregation and resegregation in North Carolina as an example of this disturbing nationwide trend.

Halifax community members at a rally for education equality

Although racial segregation in public schools was held unconstitutional in 1954 by Brown v. Board of Education, massive resistance by segregationist state and local governments prevented meaningful implementation of this landmark ruling for over a decade. It wasn’t until the late 1960s, and in response to community activism, litigation, and intervention by the federal government, that the doors of educational opportunity were finally forced open to create equal access for children of color.

Today, almost 60 years after Brown, its promise of an integrated and equal education remains unfulfilled. The cross-exposure of black and white students—an important measure of integration—peaked in the mid-1980s but, by 2000 was even lower than in 1968.


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Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Thu. May 16, 2013 12:09 PM
Categories: Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Education, Halifax County, Pitt County, Race Discrimination, Segregation, Wake County

Halifax advocates mark anniversary of Center's report, continue struggle for education equity

Education advocates gather in Halifax, NC to mark the one-year anniversary of the Center's report and the county's renewed struggle for education equity

This summer marked the one-year anniversary of the UNC Center for Civil Rights’ report, “Unless Our Children Begin to Learn Together: The State of Education in Halifax County.” To commemorate this milestone, education advocates in the community held a press conference at the Old Halifax County Courthouse, where the report was first presented, to review what had been accomplished in the year and the challenges that remain to bring high-quality, equitable education to Halifax County.

At the press conference, CEES Vice President Gary Grant, speaking on behalf of the Coalition, called upon county and school elected officials, parents, teachers, and students to continue the struggle for equity: “We bear witness to the fact that the problems of poor and barely mediocre student performance at the three public school systems has not been addressed. Nor has the root cause, the continuing extreme racial segregation among the three school districts in Halifax County. The quality of education has been undermined on a county-wide basis for much too long at too great a cost to too many of our children.”


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Posted by Taiyyaba A. Qureshi on Mon. September 17, 2012 4:17 PM
Categories: Community Leaders, Education, Halifax County, Leandro, Race Discrimination, Segregation
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