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.”