- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

AMITE, La. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that Tangipahoa Parish schools are legally desegregated in terms of staff assignment.

The Daily Star reports (https://bit.ly/1Glum2s) U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle issued the ruling Monday but said the school district will remain subject to court supervision for a year.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle issued the ruling Monday but said the school district will remain subject to court supervision for a year.

The district has been under a desegregation order since 2010 when a 1965 lawsuit was reopened over concerns of racial discrimination. Under the order, the district had to prove it is desegregated in the areas of staff, faculty and student assignments, facilities, extracurricular activities and transportation.

Now, three of the six areas remain to be proven — faculty assignments, student assignments and facilities.

In his ruling Monday, Judge Lemelle said the court record “seemingly shows that the School Board has materially complied with the orders of this Court and met established desegregation standards” when it comes to staff assignment, or the diversity of staff members.

The school board asked for “unitary status,” the legal term for desegregation, for staff assignment in March and provided five years of data that show the racial percentages of staff, including principals and vice principals.

Pam Dill, attorney for the school board, said the school system has met the goal of 40 percent black hires and 60 percent white hires for the past three years.

“We’re excited that (Lemelle) acknowledges the district’s hard work,” she said.

The court will monitor the district’s staff policies and practices for the next 12 months.

If no violations occur, attorneys can then file for full unitary status.

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Information from: The Daily Star, https://www.hammondstar.com

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