Federal judge rejects parent group’s request to overturn exam school’s decision


Young said in its 55-page decision that the Boston Parent Coalition for Academic Excellence continued to make “flawed” legal arguments that the district plan was not race neutral “despite a explicit contrary law within this circuit ”. He also cited other legal foundations, including a higher court rejection of a previous appeal brought by the parents.

“The law here has been and remains clear: where government action is apparently racially neutral and uniformly enforced,” in good faith [is] presumed in the absence of evidence to the contrary “that the action has a disparate impact, spawning a heinous discriminatory purpose,” Young wrote.

While so far unsuccessful, the legal challenge nonetheless presented several notable twists, and Young’s final word in the case included an unusual message to those most affected by the controversy – the students.

In July, Young took the highly unusual decision to withdraw his original opinion dismissing the lawsuit because he believed lawyers in the school system had misled him into excluding racially-motivated text messages from the court record.

In messages, Alexandra Oliver-Dávila and Lorna Rivera, then members of the Boston school committee, complained about “white racists” and white residents of West Roxbury who they say oppose an admission plan to use the codes postage from students as a means of enhancing racial and socio-economic diversity during the city’s three exams. schools.

After this decision, the group of parents had argued to Young that they had been hampered in the preparation of their case because of the texts withheld. But in his ruling on Friday, Young dismissed that argument while questioning why the texts hadn’t been released.

“How and why [Catherine] Lizotte [the legal adviser for Boston Public Schools] and the company did not disclose these relevant posts is suspect and indicative of a school committee effort to keep them hidden, possibly because they were so embarrassing of a racist nature, ”Young wrote.

William Hurd, an attorney for the parents’ group, declined to comment on Friday evening, saying he had not had a chance to review the decision with his client.

A spokesperson for Boston Public Schools did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Young also slammed the parent group for asking for the case to be reopened due to newly emerged evidence, while denying the option to demand further evidence from the school department.

The coalition gave up this chance “NOT because it felt like it had turned over all the convincing stones, but because, given its mistaken view of the law, it did not see the need to overturn more stones. than she had ever considered, ”Young wrote.

Young has expressed his frustration with both sides of the matter. In a footnote to the ruling, Young refers to Southern author William Faulkner and Broadway composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein in a discussion of the evils of racism, calling it “the syphilis of public discourse. America and civic engagement ”.

In another, it speaks directly to students in Boston public schools.

“Are you following this case? It’s not a very uplifting spectacle, is it? he writes. “The Boston School Board is responsible by law to provide each of you with the best possible education within budget. By voting on your exam school admission plan, the then president made fun of some of you, your parents or your friends. Two of the members at the time wrote that they “hated” you, your parents or your friends.

He ends the footnote with a confession for the students and words of encouragement.

“What about me? The trial judge?” “I reveal myself as a Pollyanna, wanting to believe better than I actually did, something you probably knew from the start,” he wrote.

“You can do better than this.

“With love and respect you will.

“We’re counting on you.”

James Vaznis of Globe staff contributed to this report.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on twitter @jeremycfox.

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