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Monday, May 27, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Parents Sue Arkansas School District|Over Racial Element In Attendance Policy

HOT SPRINGS, ARK. (CN) - Parents say the Malvern School District violates state law by using racial criteria to prevent their children from attending nearby school districts. Neither the federal complaint nor Associated Press reports on the case state whether the "aggrieved parents" are white or minorities.

The parents claim the district violated the Arkansas Public School Choice Act of 1989 by demanding that their children return to Malvern from neighboring districts.

The law "makes it permissible for a student to transfer to the school of their choice if and only if its meets the racial guidelines where: 'no student may transfer to a nonresident district where the percentage of enrollment for the student's race exceeds that percentage in the student's resident district," the complaint states.

About 35% of Malvern students are nonwhite. That's a higher percentage than in neighboring districts, according to The Associated Press.

The district, concerned that it was losing tax money, notified about 100 parents that their children must return to Malvern, the AP reported.

The parents say Malvern has threatened to fine them $500 apiece if they do not allow their children to be forcibly transferred back to Malvern from the Glen Rose, Ouachita, Poyen, and Magnet Cove districts.

"Due to the sole reason of their race, these students are being denied a right to choose which school would be the best for their academic careers," the complaint states.

The parents are represented by Andrea Davis.

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