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Federal judge ready to close Richmond County school desegregation lawsuit

U.S. District Court to hear arguments in 1964 desegregation case

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 7:01 PM
Last updated Wednesday, June 5, 2013 7:43 AM
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A desegregation lawsuit naming the Richmond County school system still open after nearly 49 years might soon be over.



In an uncommon judicial move, Senior U.S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. has ordered the attorneys and parties involved to attend a hearing in the Augusta Judicial Center and John H. Ruffin Jr. Courthouse on June 17, the anniversary of the filing of Robert L. Acree v. the Richmond County Board of Education.

Each side will present reasons to convince the judge that the desegregation case should remain open – else it will be closed.

“It would hardly be a stretch to say that the current level of integration within the facilities, staffing, elected school board, and student population of the Richmond County school system vastly exceeds any likely expectation of the original plaintiffs and their attorneys at the time of the filing,” Bowen wrote. “While I have no statistics to support such speculation, I cannot but observe that this case must be one of the hoariest of its ilk. No one seems to know quite why it is still pending.

“If it can be said that the school system’s desegregation objectives cannot be met with the presently composed elected school board and three successive black school superintendents, what is the prospect for the future?”

When the lawsuit was filed June 17, 1964, the Richmond County school system was racially segregated. But that is far from the racial makeup of the system today, according to Bowen.

In addition, the case has lain dormant for more than three years. The last activity Bowen found in the case record is the authorization of a $14,075 payment for attorney fees to Benjamin Allen on March 2, 2010.

“I inherited this case sometime after I was appointed to the district bench in December of 1979,” Bowen wrote. “... this case has outlived the three previous district judges who handled it from time to time.”

It has also outlived most of the original lawyers and many of the original plaintiffs.

Bowen quoted the federal judge who coined the phrase “The Alabama Punting Syndrome” in 1979 to describe state government officials who, refusing to comply with court orders, attempt to correct presumed unconstitutional conditions in prisons and mental institutions by forcing the court to stop the perceived violations.

Unless someone convinces him otherwise, Bowen said, it’s time for the government to take back the responsibility for ensuring that students are afforded the constitutional right to an equal education.

“There is ample reason to believe that the current pendency of this action is the result of something akin to the ‘Alabama Punting Syndrome,’ ” he wrote. “Moreover, it is my view that it would be unconscionable to allow this case to attain its 50th anniversary.”

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dichotomy
34496
Points
dichotomy 06/04/13 - 09:20 pm
9
2
It just seems to me that

It just seems to me that after 49 years, and the aggrieved parties now being the majority population, and the aggrieved parties now being half of the commission and half of the school board and controlling the votes of both, and we have a black school superintendent, a black fire chief, and a black sheriff, and a black procurement director, and we will soon have a black mayor and possibly a black majority on the commission, THAT THIS LAWSUIT IS Overcome By Events (OBE). To keep it alive is ridiculous. Anyone wanting to keep this thing alive is looking for more than equality.

just an opinion
2722
Points
just an opinion 06/04/13 - 10:48 pm
6
1
Its all about attorney fees

This thing has been milked a long time. It's not about black and white, it's about GREEN at the taxpayer's expense. And the students suffer as well because of this.

Austin Rhodes
2913
Points
Austin Rhodes 06/04/13 - 11:26 pm
9
2
ACTUALLY...

...to achieve the racial balance ordered in the original case...RC-BOE would have to start firing black folks to replace them with white folks.

Dead serious about that.

mrsbras
103
Points
mrsbras 06/05/13 - 06:30 am
0
3
ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIRST GRADER

Way to much of my tax dollars are in the attorneys pockets.Lets get to educating the children the way they should.@austin is replacing the black people with white people going to educate the children any better than there being educated right now.All i want is a better education and dont care about the color of the skin its about the doing the right thing by our children.It should be about preparing the children to be productive members of society.

Riverman1
87135
Points
Riverman1 06/05/13 - 07:06 am
7
2
"Hoariest." Ha. But it's been

"Hoariest." Ha. But it's been so long there could be a case for turning it around to ensure the rights of whites. Wait another 50 years and Hispanics will be the ones in charge.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 06/05/13 - 07:20 am
4
2
Hispanics will be the ones in charge.

Except it won't take 50 years,....in the last 10 years the hispanic student population tripled in Gwinnett county....move over folks!

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 06/05/13 - 07:23 am
4
2
BTW

Our school taxes are going up also.....ain't life grand!

mrsbras
103
Points
mrsbras 06/05/13 - 07:38 am
3
3
ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A FIRST GRADER

Way to much of my tax dollars are going in the attorneys pockets.Lets get to educating the children. @austin is replacing black people with white people gonna educate the children better than there being educated now. All i want is a better educating to make our children productive members of society.NOT CARING WHAT THE OF THERE SKIN COLOR IS

internationallyunknown
4482
Points
internationallyunknown 06/05/13 - 07:43 am
4
3
Imagine if white people had

Imagine if white people had the same history as black people...

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 06/05/13 - 07:53 am
4
3
Lordy lordy

Just imagine you say---same history...

Some might be surprised how POOR some of the posters were in their childhood days......I could write a book but just don't feel like it.....south Augusta wasn't known for the "wealth" of Richmond county...even in by gone days...many fellow posters on here have done without & now are productive-producing adults...pleeezee don't talk poverty or hard times to me....
Have you ever heard of THE DEPRESSION......it didn't have a color.

Riverman1
87135
Points
Riverman1 06/05/13 - 07:58 am
5
4
I imagined I had the same history as black people...sort of

I imagined I had the same history as black people. In Ethiopia black folks were starving because rains weren't coming to the desert. I would have packed up and left. In Augusta with the crime and bad schools I would have packed up and left for Columbia County. 50 years of litigation and federal oversight have not helped the Richmond County Schools or black folks one bit.

GnipGnop
12467
Points
GnipGnop 06/05/13 - 09:10 am
4
1
This should have been done long ago.

Imagine the transportation savings!!

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 06/05/13 - 09:22 am
5
1
Gnip

Too late for sensible thinking my friend....we have reaped what we sowed......that plan probably created more private schools than anything ....

countyman
20630
Points
countyman 06/05/13 - 02:37 pm
1
4
Facts

Does Riverman have to bash Richmond County at least once a day? The suburban county always has the better overall system, but things are much different when you compared individual schools.. Young people are moving into the cities(especially the urban core) across the US, and Augusta is on the bandwagon. What's going to happen to certain schools/areas in Columbia County when the minority population reaches a certain level? Some people will move into the smaller counties like Mcduffie/Lincoln to get away.

What areas of Columbia County are so much nicer than Summerville, West Augusta, Forest Hills, Southwest Augusta, etc? Anybody can see Martinez in Columbia County absolutely has the worst part of Washington rd(between Pleasant Home rd/Club Car)... The only new developments were really the Tire center, Stanton Optical, apartment complex, and the recent Carolina Pottery(old K-Mart)..
West Augusta didn't even have the vacant land similar to Evans, and still managed to build the Sheraton, Holiday Inn Express, expanded Fresh Market, Electrolux, Mercedez Benz showroom, Kroger shopping center expansion, etc...

While some areas outside the city limits with the Grovetown address(Columbia rd, William Few Pkwy, etc) are fine.. There's plenty of undesirable areas in the actual city limits off Wrightsboro rd. Even with all the growth lately in Grovetown(percentage) I've heard their building another IGA(KJ Market). I don't see how Grovetown offers this much difference between South Augusta. Willis Foreman rd, Diamond Lakes, Goshen, etc in South Augusta are nice too. The city limits of Hephzibah offers better housing compared to Harlem.

The funny thing is Columbia County relies more on Richmond County than even Aiken does, but some of their residents love to point the finger.. I'm laughing because Big Lots is opening in Evans, but some people seem to have their nose in the air lol.

Riverman1
87135
Points
Riverman1 06/05/13 - 04:06 pm
2
1
Countyman and Diversity

Countyman asked, "What's going to happen to certain schools/areas in Columbia County when the minority population reaches a certain level?"

As I stated if I were black, I'd move to Columbia County. I'm white and live here now why wouldn't I? Black folks are welcome here. You act like it's a negative if there are too many black people. We welcome all hard working, law abiding people who want their kids to attend good schools. Good people tend to live in the same areas no matter their race. I'm glad you like Goshen and the neighborhood around Willis Foreman Rd.

Darby
27002
Points
Darby 06/05/13 - 04:12 pm
1
0
"Imagine if white people had the same history

as black people..."

.
They do, just not in the United States. There is not a race or ethnicity on earth that has not been subject to slavery.

Whites, (or any other ethnic body) however, have not suffered the indignity of having an entire political party develop, grow and prosper, fueled largely by their former bondage. Keeping large numbers fixed in poverty as virtual wards of the state in the process.

Make the effort to research your history and learn what the political elite work so diligently to suppress!

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 06/05/13 - 04:24 pm
0
0
I believe
Unpublished

it's time to fire the blacks that are unworthy of their positions. Blacks have screamed for years about "quota systems" and they are the proponents of such systems. When I walk into city, county, state and federal offices, I'm generally waited on by a black person. Certainly blacks have not out populated whites in America, have they?

countyman
20630
Points
countyman 06/05/13 - 05:48 pm
1
3
Fact

If good people tend to live in the same areas no matter their race.. Then why do you continue to bash Richmond County daily? The funny thing is you bash the majority black areas(Laney Walker & South Augusta) of Richmond County which have nice areas... Richmond County also has a majority black neighborhood (Belair Estates)were the majority of homes cost over $300K.

The majority of racial comments on here are from people who live outside of Richmond County(a lot from Columbia County).. The same thing which occurred in different parts of both Gwinnett/Cobb in Atlanta will happen too Columbia. I'm laughing because a lot of the past growth in Columbia County had to do with some white people leaving South Augusta, because some areas became too black.. A lot of those white people will also move from parts of Columbia County once the minority population reaches an certain level, and some middle class blacks will follow behind them later on.. This is how cities tend to have suburbs and then form exurbs.

The 'best schools' are located in Richmond County. Davidson and AR Johnson are located in the CBD and Laney Walker. The best high school in Columbia County(Lakeside) is not even in the top 50 high schools in the state of Georgia.

seenitB4
90981
Points
seenitB4 06/05/13 - 06:43 pm
1
0
ctyman ctyman ctyman

I can tell by your posts you have never had children in the school system...you don't have a clue how messed up the busing craze disrupted neighborhoods/friendships/schools in area & etc.....common sense would have been send kids to the school in the area..ALL kids...but that is not what happened....nooo...didn't happen that way...whites were shipped miles from home....into areas they were not familiar & in some cases couldn't cope....as I said before..WE REAP WHAT WE SOW...& now that goes for the hispanics in schools....they will also change the school system--neighborhoods & etc.....until daddie giverment finds out that you can only do so much FORCING down the throat.....my days of having kids in school are over........now I just want a peaceful life without the drama...sooooo it won't be in a noise--gun shooting---have at it area...if that means exburbs--so be it!

Darby
27002
Points
Darby 06/05/13 - 07:26 pm
2
0
Countyman is right about the "Good"

schools in Richmond county.... but he doesn't finish what he started. The two schools he named are both magnet schools. If you average ALL the schools in Richmond county, you would have the equivalent of a school much worse than the worst in Columbia county.

Two magnet schools do NOT a good school system make. Quite the opposite.

And yes, I live in Richmond county. Both my grandkids attended Davidson. The granddaughter, just last week graduated from NYU with Honors.

I give much of the credit to the magnet school concept which allowed her to maximize her potential.

Riverman1
87135
Points
Riverman1 06/05/13 - 08:43 pm
0
0
Countyman said, "The funny

Countyman said, "The funny thing is you bash the majority black areas(Laney Walker & South Augusta) of Richmond County which have nice areas... Richmond County also has a majority black neighborhood (Belair Estates)were the majority of homes cost over $300K."

Care to show me what you mean by me bashing majority black areas? I don't "bash" anything because of the color of the residents. By the way, this neighborhood, Belair Estates, is zoned for Barton Chapel and Glenn Hills schools?

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