50-Year Orange County Degregation Lawsuit Resolved

50-Year Orange County Degregation Lawsuit Resolved

Published January 29, 2010

Local NAACP leaders have resolved a decades-old school desegregation lawsuit against the Orange County School Board in California.

Altamese Pritchett began the fight 50 years ago as one of eight families who filed the suit, which led to federal guidance over the board's desegregation policies. She said she had no idea a settlement was in the works.

 "I'm a little pissed right now, because the more I talk about this, the angrier I get," Pritchett said.

 Pritchett, 83, said she believes settling the desegregation lawsuit with Orange County schools is a mistake.

 "This lawsuit is a watchdog and they want to cut it out so they can go back to their nasty, dirty ways of desegregating," Pritchett said.

 Under the prior agreement, the district is under the watch of the federal government, but that watch will go away now that the suit has been settled.

 The lawsuit accused the district of having attendance zones based on race.

"I did this lawsuit, not only for my children, I did this lawsuit for all children," Pritchett said.

 Pritchett attended Jones High School and later worked for the school district for 27 years. She also had two daughters who attended Jones. She said the lawsuit has required the school district to do the bare minimum.

 "It did allow children to go to Oak Ridge, Evans and whatever, because when I was going to school, you couldn't go there, we couldn't go there," Pritchett said.

 Now that a settlement has been reached, the federal court will grant the district unitary status, which means the district has erased its discriminatory practices that had separated Blacks from Whites in the past.

 "They can vote for it all they want, but it's going to go back to what it was before. Watch and see," Pritchett said.


Written by <P>By BET.com Staff</P> <P>&nbsp;</P>


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