When you can’t win in the arena of public opinion, go to the courts. This seems to be the mantra of the Jefferson County Schools, a system so bad an entire city tried to get out. Parents and citizens in Gardendale had enough and decided they wanted out, the courts said “nah, you are just being racist“:
“The district court (Haikala) found that the Gardendale Board acted with a discriminatory purpose to exclude black children from the proposed school system and, alternatively, that the secession of the Gardendale Board would impede the efforts of the Jefferson County Board to fulfill its desegregation obligations.”
Why this matters: If you are are a parent in Gardendale that wants better for your kids and community, tough. If you are willing to form your own system, raise taxes to pay for it, and work to jump through all the hoops the courts want you to, tough. You are trapped. Voters don’t matter, citizens don’t matter, kids don’t matter, judges’ opinions (including potential Trump nominee for Supreme Court, Bill Pryor) are all that matter and nothing more.
— In Alabama, any city with over 5,000 residents can start its own school system.
— Gardendale started the process to break away from Jefferson County in 2013.
— State Senator Linda Coleman-Madison (D-Birmingham) proposed a bill to make it harder for cities to leave school systems earlier this year by raising the number of citizens necessary to 25,000.
— Jefferson County has been under a desegregation order for over 50 years, so that is going good.
Dale Jackson hosts a daily radio show from 7-11 a.m. on NewsTalk 770 AM/92.5 FM WVNN and a weekly television show, “Guerrilla Politics,” on WAAY-TV, both in North Alabama. Follow him @TheDaleJackson.