Trial over racial makeup of Ascension schools delayed

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The trial involving the racial makeup of some high schools in Ascension Parish was scheduled to begin September 23rd, but Federal Judge Brian Jackson said he wanted to give everyone involved more time to review the "complicated issues" at hand.

The parents of two black students filed a lawsuit six years ago, claiming black students are being funneled to East Ascension High School while white students are being sent to Dutchtown and St. Amant High.

The lawsuit alleges all students are not being offered the same educational opportunities.

"We want this court to provide some relief to the poor kids who do not have a voice," said the plaintiffs' attorney Andre Gauthier. "We're looking forward to this court doing something to remedy the problem that we see down there."

A lower court dismissed the suit, but the Fifth Circuit reversed that decision two years ago, saying the case should go to trial.

"We feel the law supports the position of the school board and that the plan which has been in effect and working very successfully for five years should be continued," said Robert Hammonds, attorney for Ascension Schools.

Attorneys filed motions Wednesday morning.  Judge Jackson says he will rule on the motions in the next two to three weeks and plans to set a trial date soon.

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