Calhoun County Schools Bus.JPG

A Calhoun County Schools bus.

A federal court is seeking public input on the Calhoun County school system’s request to be released from court-ordered desegregation actions, according to an announcement forwarded to school system parents Wednesday. 

“This is the first time we’ve done this, and we really don’t know what kind of response we’ll get,” said Whit Colvin, the school system’s lawyer. 

Like many Alabama school systems, Calhoun County’s school district has for decades been under a court order that allows federal judges to track its progress in dismantling racial segregation  in schools. It’s a legacy of Lee v. Macon, the state’s landmark school desegregation case. 

County officials will go before a Judge Annemarie Carney Axon at 1 p.m. Dec. 18 at the federal courthouse in Anniston to argue that process is complete and that the school system has achieved “unitary status.”

The last time the school system pushed for release from the court order, a judge found that the school system had too few minority teachers and disciplined black kids at a higher rate than white kids. Since then, according to court documents, school officials have stepped up efforts to recruit teachers at historically black schools and implemented new disciplinary techniques that have brought down discipline rates across the board. 

According to the school system’s Wednesday announcement, the Dec. 18 hearing will be open to the public, with opportunities for the public to speak. People who wish to speak at the hearing must submit written comments to the District Court for the Northern District of Alabama at 1729 Fifth Ave., Birmingham, 35203. Comment forms are available at the school district’s central office on McClellan Boulevard; the form also was attached to the school board’s email on Wednesday and posted to the school district’s website

The deadline for written comments is Dec. 4.

 

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Public hearing on releasing Calhoun County Schools from federal court oversight

WHERE: Federal courthouse, 1129 Noble St., Anniston

WHEN: 1 p.m. Dec. 18

Capitol & statewide reporter Tim Lockette: 256-294-4193. On Twitter @TLockette_Star.

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