|Latino Action Network v. New Jersey|
|Court||New Jersey Superior Court|
Mercer County, New Jersey Superior Court
|Full case name||Latino Action Network et al. v. The State of New Jersey et al.|
|Judge(s) sitting||Mary C. Jacobson|
Latino Action Network v. New Jersey is a lawsuit filed on May 17, 2018, on the anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education which claims that the State of New Jersey provides separate and unequal schools to minority children in violation of their constitutional rights and that there is segregation in New Jersey public schools.
The state's largest teachers union, the New Jersey Education Association, supports the case.
In April 2019, it was reported that settlement talks had broken down.
In September 2019, a group of charter school parents filed to intervene, saying the suit unfairly blamed charters for segregation.
The plaintiffs are represented by Gary Saul Stein's son, Michael Stein of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden in Hackensack, New Jersey, as well as by Lawrence Lustberg of Gibbons in Newark. Lustberg helped lead Governor Phil Murphy's transition team on law.
The suit was filed on behalf of the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, the Latino Coalition, Latino Action Network, Urban League of Essex County, the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey, and nine children who attend school in segregated school districts.
Murphy's own children attend or attended exclusively private schools.
Gary S. Stein, father of plaintiffs' attorney Michael Stein and former associate justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and Ryan Haygood, an alum of Murphy's transition team, recently helped form the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools, to help orchestrate the case.
The complaint argues that the state "has been complicit in the creation and persistence of school segregation" by adopting policies that "deny an alarming number of Black and Latino students the benefits of a thorough and efficient education."
They also assert that charter schools in New Jersey are as segregated as "the most intensely segregated urban public schools," if not more so segregated.
Busing and merger
Some, such as Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, have expressed concerns that the desegregation suit could lead to forced merger of school districts, forced desegregation busing, and forced lottery systems whereby children would not be permitted to attend their neighborhood school.
Racial categorization controversy
The plaintiffs' lawsuit asserts that NJ schools are "segregated" because of a concentration of African-American and "Latino" children in certain districts, with very few "white" students. Over 65% of U.S. Latinos, however, identify as "White." Just over 2% identify as "Black." The remainder identify as some other race or two or more races.
If these numbers hold for New Jersey, then 65% of the "Latino" children in the supposedly "segregated" schools of New Jersey are "White." Any determination about the level of alleged "segregation" must consider that fact. The plaintiffs attempt to ignore this fact by grouping Latino and Black children under the label "children of color."
No law in New Jersey mandates segregation of students or other citizens by race. Any child of any race is permitted to attend any public school in New Jersey if their parent or guardian resides in that school's district. And any person of any race is permitted to live in any school district in the State of New Jersey.
In 2019, the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation filed a federal lawsuit arguing that Connecticut's magnet schools are discriminatory by capping the enrollment of black and Hispanic students in magnet schools at 75%, while no less than 25% of students were permitted to be white or Asian.
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- "Jon Whiten – New Jersey Policy Perspective -". www.njpp.org.
- How segregated are New Jersey's schools and what can be done about it? https://njersy.co/2zCwUBO via @northjersey
- Keough, Lee (March 3, 2016). "Profile: A Latino Advocate with a Family Legacy of Revolution and Activism". NJ Spotlight. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
- Otterman, Sharon (May 17, 2018). "New Jersey Law Codifies School Segregation, Suit Says". The New York Times. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
- Toutant, Charles (May 17, 2018). "Suit Aimed at Ending NJ School Segregation Targets Role of Charter Schools". New Jersey Law Journal. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
- Suit Aimed at Ending NJ School Segregation Targets Role of Charter Schools https://at.law.com/3SbkrT via @NJLJ
- Clark, Adam (May 29, 2018). "Will my child be forced to switch schools? What you need to know about desegregation suit". NJ.com. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
- Source: CNN Fast Facts: Hispanics In the US (3/22/2018) https://www.cnn.com/2013/09/20/us/hispanics-in-the-u-s-/index.html
- Cohen, Rachel M. (February 11, 2019). "A Lawsuit Threatens a Groundbreaking School-Desegregation Case". ISSN 0027-8378. Retrieved March 27, 2019.