Nashville NAACP denounces ruling on MNPS rezoning suit

Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 12:11pm

Update 4:55 p.m.

Members of the Nashville chapter of the NAACP gathered this morning to denounce federal judge Kevin Sharp’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit that challenged Metro Nashville Public Schools’ controversial 2008 rezoning plan.

Sharp ruled on Friday in Spurlock v. Fox that the MNPS rezoning plan for Hillwood and Pearl Cohn clusters was segregative in effect but not based on intent.

“I understand the decision that was made ... but what they missed in this and what is missed in the opinion and the discussion that is taking place is that they have failed to recognize the kind of inequities that continue to exist,” said Rev. Sonnye Dixon, pastor of Hobson United Methodist Church in East Nashville.

“We continue to have places where we’re not getting the employment opportunities. So this was just one symptom, one group of people who cried out and said ‘We’re sick and tired of it.’ ... My fear is that if this community doesn’t continue to recognize this institutional racism that continues to treat a certain group of people as if they are somehow on a plantation that those who continue to suffer will at some point raise up.”

An attorney for the plaintiffs in Spurlock v. Fox announced they would appeal Sharp’s decision.

In response to the NAACP's criticism, Metro's attorney Kevin Klein said, "We think that the District's rezoning plan is a model plan, and we have a lot of faith that the Sixth Circuit [Court of Appeals] will uphold Judge Sharp's ruling in the District's favor."

Klein added, "More than that, we want the community to know that families in North Nashville now have more opportunities to receive an outstanding education, not fewer, and more school choices, not fewer."