NAACP President Attacks Huntsville School System, Threatens Legal Action

Nick Banaszak, WHNT-TV (Huntsville, Alabama), February 14, 2011

Already dealing with an ongoing financial crisis that’s forcing layoffs and possible school closures, Huntsville City Schools now faces the threat of a lawsuit from the NAACP.

Local NAACP chapter president Alice Sams ripped the school system in a press conference Monday morning, while also presenting a list of demands the organization wants fulfilled immediately.

Sams and other leaders from Huntsville’s black community are accusing Huntsville City Schools of creating a divided system tilted against black students. The NAACP said the school district has failed to abide by a 1970 federal court order that officially eliminated segregation in schools for Alabama and other southern states.

“We have compiled a list of concerns, which in short is entitled ‘What We Want,” said Sams. “If satisfactory steps are not taken to satisfy our concerns, we may petition the state department of education to take over Huntsville City Schools and request Department of Justice and federal court intervention.”

NAACP officials say the alleged inequalities will only be made greater if several schools targeted for closure in predominantly black North Huntsville end up shutting their doors. The organization cited a forty point achievement gap between black and white students on standardized state tests, calling the results unfair and unacceptable. Sams said the blame did not fall on students or their parents, but rather on schools she claims are inferior compared to those in predominantly white South Huntsville. School closures are a likelihood as the district aims to overcome a $20 million budget deficit.

{snip}

Sams ended her speech with a bold statement.

“Those who make peaceful revolutions impossible make violent revolution inevitable,” said Sams, who quoted former president John F. Kennedy. {snip}

School board attorney J.R. Brooks declined our request for an on-camera interview and did not respond to the NAACP’s claims. He only said the school district had always been in compliance with federal court orders issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, and that the school board had no control or authority over people who had voluntarily moved in and out of North Huntsville since 1970.

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