So Now, South Ardmore Sues
They have asked.
They have begged.
They have pleaded.
They have offered alternatives.
They have written.
They have spoken for hours and hours and hours.
Now, they must sue to be heard.
The parents of several LMSD students filed a lawsuit yesterday in Federal Court claiming that the plan enacted by Lower Merion School District is illegal.
See a copy of the lawsuit here (warning - it's big - 46 pages):
Bonnie Cook wrote a piece about the suit in the Inquirer today. I think this is my favorite quote:
Doug, Doug, Doug, when are you going to learn that you should read the lawsuit before you comment on it? If you did not consider race, then why, as described on page 25 of the document above, was there an internal memo April 18, 2008, obtained from the District's own public record files, explicitly stating that the issue of "distribution of minority students" must be addressed and why, in that same memo does it say that an encated plan must "assign minority students in accordance with the above decision"?
Why, on page 46 of the document above, was a plan suggested by residents of Penn Wynne, Merion, and Narberth in meetings with the district before October 31, 2008 that looks remarkably like Plan option 4B (described in my previous post) say, explicitly, that a problem with this "Travel Equity" plan as it was labeled in the document is that it would "create a racially isolated group of African-American students at Harriton." Why, Doug, why? If this were truly a color-blind process, and no consideration of ethnicity was made in creating these plans, then why do these documents say what they do?
It is sad that it must come to this. Really. Having to sue the people responsible for educating your children brings no measure of joy. Especially when you know your tax dollars are being used to pay for counsel to argue against you, along with your own legal fees. You essentially pay twice, and then some.
You may ask - why now? The Federal Government is already officially investigating, as is the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission? Isn't that enough? Do you doubt what they will find?
I don't doubt that the Feds and the PHRC will find exactly what was found here and more. Every document in the exhibits, after all, came from the Public Record. The simple truth is that these kids are very nearly out of time. The Feds have had the case now for four months. The School District has already filed for an extension to respond to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission - all protests that they are eager to show the world how fair and equal and color-blind this busing plan is aside. These kids are on the bus in September, school's out in a month, and if their rights are to be preserved, something has to be done now to restore them.
Yesterday, after being pushed around by this School District for over 40 years, after seeing their schools close and their children scattered to the four winds to meet others needs, the residents of South Ardmore pushed back.
Hopefully, the School District will finally listen.