Lynn school plan fought

Thursday, July 05
BOSTON (AP) — Lawyers representing parents who challenged the city of Lynn's school desegregation plan have asked a federal court to end the practice, citing last week's Supreme Court ruling that prohibits schools from considering race when assigning students.

The Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling last Thursday rejected integration plans in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle, though it did not say race could never be used when considering school assignments.

Lynn's system allows race to be considered when children request transfers to schools outside their neighborhoods. At least 20 school districts statewide have voluntary desegregation plans that consider race, including Brockton, Salem and Worcester.

Attorney Chester Darling, who called Lynn's policy unconstitutional, filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Tuesday. He's asking that the case be reopened and that the Lynn policy be thrown out.

"The court has now found assignment plans that use racial restrictions on student assignments as a tool to maintain racial diversity to be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause," Darling wrote in the court brief.

In an interview, Darling said it's a "slam dunk" that the Lynn policy and others in Massachusetts will be eliminated.

"But many of them will resist because it will get them votes," he said.

Melissa Sherman, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's office, which argued the case on behalf of the city of Lynn, said yesterday that Darling's filing will be reviewed, but declined other comment.

Last week, Department of Education Commissioner David Driscoll and Attorney General Martha Coakley said they would determine which desegregation programs were affected by the ruling and work with local officials to make any changes.

Also last week, Nicholas Kostan, superintendent of schools in Lynn, said it appears to him the city will have to abandon the 20-year-old policy, which he said has worked to promote good relations between races.

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