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FIRST ON WITN: Federal Judge Makes Ruling In Pitt County School Case


A federal judge has ruled that there is racial diversity in the Pitt County school system.

Judge Malcolm Howard issued his ruling on the so-called unitary status case this morning, nearly two months after testimony in the trial wrapped up.

Several families joined forces with the Coalition to Educate Black Children as plaintiffs against the school district to fight what they consider discriminatory practices.

In his ruling, the judge denied injunctive relief for the families and granted the school district unitary status.

"The School Board has proven that the vestiges of state-mandated discrimination practiced over forty years ago have been eliminated to the extent practicable and that the School Board, as well as its predecessor boards, has complied in good faith with this court's desegregation orders and possesses a good faith commitment to the eradication of de jure discrimination in its schools," Judge Howard wrote in his 42 page order.

During the hearings, the school district said the Pitt County Board of Education has tried to desegregate schools since a federal court order was handed down in the 1970s. The district is trying to achieve unitary status, which would remove them from needing federal court oversight when it comes to racially-balanced schools.

The district said it hoped Judge Howard's decision would alleviate the courts from having to approve any student assignment changes in the the future.


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