A Mississippi school district is appealing a federal court order to desegregate. Cleveland School Board members voted along racial lines to take the case to the U-S 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Under an order by U-S District Judge Debra Brown, Cleveland Public Schools are required to consolidate two high schools, East Side High, where all but one student is black, with Cleveland High, where 48 percent are white and 45 percent are black. Two middle schools with similar demographics have also been ordered to consolidate before the start of the 2016-2017 school year.
The order was part of a 51-year old court battle that sought to further desegregate the district.
But on Monday, the five members of the Cleveland School Board voted to appeal the decision with members voting along racial lines.
"Right now, one of our high schools is fifty-fifty, and one of our junior highs is fifty-fifty," says Cleveland School Board President George Evans, one of three white members to vote for the appeal. "I feel like that is desegregation. Because when we desegregate the way they want us to do it, we're going to be like the other towns and end up with no white kids in the public school."
MPB News also reached out to the board's two black members. Requests for comment were either declined or unanswered.
In a statement, board attorney, Jamie Jacks says the district is requesting a quick appeal as well as a stay of Judge Brown's ruling.