Spurlock v. Fox, No. 12-5978 (6th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
The parents and the grandmother of two black children sued the Nashville Board of Public Education on behalf of their children and all black students in the District whose school assignments were adversely affected by the elimination of the mandatory noncontiguous transfer zones. They allege that the Rezoning Plan eliminated the desirable practice of being bused to a good, racially diverse school and replaced it with two inferior choices: staying in a bad, racially isolated neighborhood school or being bused to a bad, racially diverse school. They claim that has led to resegregation in violation of the students’ rights under the Equal Protection Clause. The district court ruled in favor of the Board. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding that the change serves legitimate state interests in school under-utilization. The Plan actually solved the problem that many schools were operating at levels below what their resources and infrastructure would permit, while other schools were overflowing. The court stopped short of endorsing the Plan, noting that certain students in poor neighborhoods had to share textbooks; that the racial achievement gap apparently exists much as before; and that Nashville public-school students as a whole continue to do poorly after the Plan.