Cowan v. Bolivar County Bd. of Educ., No. 13-60464 (5th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
In this nearly fifty-year-old desegregation case, the United States appealed the district court's order implementing a freedom of choice plan intended to desegregate the formerly de jure African-American middle school and high school in the Cleveland School District. At issue was the district court's adoption of a plan that abolished attendance zones and a majority-to-minority transfer program and implemented a freedom of choice plan that allowed each student in the district to choose to attend any junior high or high school. The court concluded that, given the available statistics that not a single white student chose to enroll at the schools after the district court's order, and that historically, over the course of multiple decades, no white student has ever chosen to enroll in the school, the district court's conclusion that a freedom of choice plan was the most appropriate desegregation remedy at those schools certainly needed to be expressed with sufficient particularity to enable the court to review it. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for a more explicit explanation of the reasons for adopting the freedom of choice plan, and/or consideration of the alternative desegregation plans proposed by the parties.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on April 14, 2014.