Hartford, Connecticut — The Connecticut Parents Union (CTPU) has filed a federal lawsuit to end race-based enrollment quotas in public magnet schools that unjustly and unconstitutionally deny Black and Hispanic children on wait list access to empty available seats in high quality magnet schools in their neighborhood.
The CTPU, which works to expand safe and high-quality educational opportunities for all Connecticut children, seeks to end this blatant racial discrimination in Connecticut’s public k12 schools.
CPTU founder and president, Gwen Samuel, says: “There should never be a K12 public school or educational law in the state of Connecticut or anywhere in the country that denies a child access to a safe and quality education because of the color of their skin or income level – period.”
Charlize B, 5th grader Hartford Magnet School and CTPU youth member says: “I feel Hartford students are not being treated fairly in my school. My school treats the out of town kids better.”
Lin Yang, a suburban parent says: “A government mandate of racial diversity / balance is a distraction to the real issue, which is the education of each kid as an unique individual. It leads to stereotype, inequality and unconscious bias. We should focus on education of the next generation as equal members of society with shared responsibility, opportunity and pride.”
The issue is a state law that all Connecticut interdistrict magnet schools reserve 25 percent of classroom seats for White or Asian students who choose to not attend inner-city magnet schools. The racial quota originally applied only to the city of Hartford, where a group of parents led by African American LaShawn Robinson filed a similar lawsuit last year. A law passed in 2017, however, expanded this unjust racial quota statewide. Schools failing to meet the racial quotas face funding cuts or even closure, as with New Haven’s Creed High School which closed in 2018 after enrolling too many Black and Hispanic students in empty available seats.
“Incredibly, the state incentivizes public schools to deny Black and Hispanic children opportunities for an exceptional education for no reason other than skin color,” said CTPU attorney Oliver Dunford. “This lawsuit aims to protect equal access to education for all children in Connecticut.”
Pacific Legal Foundation represents clients in both cases free of charge. More information is available at pacificlegal.org
About Connecticut Parents Union
The Connecticut Parents Union (CTPU), a membership organization whereby diverse parents, guardians and families are connected with the educational resources and support system necessary to ensure that neither race, zip-code nor socio-economic status is a predictor of a child’s success.
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