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Under Desegregation Order, Black Child Ineligible for Charter School, Suit Says

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CORRECTED HEADLINE

Last week, I wrote about how St. Louis parents in charter schools are fighting to keep tax revenue meant for school desegregation programs. Now, one suburban St. Louis parent is suing the school system, saying her son is being banned from a charter school under a desegregation agreement because he is black.

According to a story by Jim Salter in the Associated Press, parent La'Shieka White claims that her 3rd-grade son, Edmund Lee, is being kicked out of Gateway Science Academy, a St. Louis charter school that he has attended since he was in kindergarten, now that the family has moved to the suburbs.

The 16-school-district desegregation program permits black students to attend mostly white schools in the suburbs. Suburban students also can attend city charter schools, but black students are forbidden.

"We are long past the days when students can be turned away from school based on their race," White said at a news conference, according to the AP. "Well, that's what I thought."

The lawsuit in U.S. District court was filed May 4 against the Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corp., a nonprofit organization overseen by a board of superintendents from the districts involved in the desegregation program.

"This particular student's ineligibility is a straightforward application of how the program works and the rules that we must abide by," according to a statement from the corporation cited in the AP story.

White also has started a petition to ask Missouri state lawmakers to alter the desegregation plan. 

Related story: In Charters, Using Weighted Lotteries for Diversity Hits Barriers

Contact Sarah Tully at [email protected].

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