Metro lawyer requests dismissal of NAACP rezoning case

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 at 1:09pm

Metro Nashville asked a federal judge Tuesday to dismiss an NAACP-backed lawsuit accusing the school board of discriminating against black children in the student assignment plan that ended cross-town busing this year.

"I would submit that what's missing is evidence of discriminatory intent," Metro lawyer Kevin Klein told U.S. District Judge John Nixon as soon as the plaintiffs rested their case on the hearing's ninth day. "At this stage in the proceedings, the plaintiff hasn't shown what they need to show. At this point, what we can and all should do is just go home."

But Nixon said he would reserve judgment, then allowed the hearing to proceed with the school board's case. The hearing is expected to last the rest of this week.

Earlier, a special assistant to ousted superintendent Pedro Garcia testified about a memorandum he wrote accusing the school board of trying to rezone students to resegregate schools. Kay Simmons, now a school board member herself, testified Garcia expressed his objections to his top aides in a meeting before he was forced to resign in January 2008.

"He said he did not want to be the superintendent when he felt that anything he proposed would resegregate schools," she said.

Simmons also said Garcia told her about a visit he made to Bookmeade Elementary School, which had been scheduled to close under an earlier rezoning plan. Simmons said teachers told the superintendent that the school should stay open because they said white students then attending private schools would return if black children were sent elsewhere.

In his memo, Garcia said that meeting convinced him to oppose the rezoning plan as resegregation.

“The faculty, in general, indicated the school would be full of white students presently attending private schools," Garcia wrote. "After that meeting, I considered the implications of the plan.”

4 Comments on this post:

By: house_of_pain on 11/17/09 at 1:15

This case seems to be based on hearsay and conjecture, and should have
been dismissed before now.

By: frank brown on 11/17/09 at 10:26

It was a mute point for metro to ask Judge Nixon for a dismissal. I know Judge Nixon well and he is hard to dislike personally by this case will go in favor of the NAACP.

By: pswindle on 11/18/09 at 9:09

The Judge should not base anything on Gracia and his words. He did not have Metro Schools interest at heart. especially after he was fisred.

By: titansjoe on 11/18/09 at 10:28

I don't think the school board is racist or made a decision based on race. The teacher at brookemeade elementary simply made a statement that children going to private schools in the area might come back to public schools in there own neighborhood. That is not racist. Lets not forget that students from that area were under forced bussing also.
I have never in my life ever heard of a judge allowing hear say in court. I also have never heard of another judge leading a witness or injecting his own questions to a witness as if he were just another NAACP attorney. I agree with frank. Nixon is farther to the left than the NAACP. He is more likely to impose his feelings than a legal judgement. Yeah Metro is just wasting money. This one may have to go to the U.S. supreme court.