Federal judge rules Pitt Co. school district meets 'unitary status'

PITT COUNTY - A federal court judge has decided that Pitt County Schools has reached the goal of providing equal education regardless of race, and will no longer get federal oversight.

Senior United States District Judge Malcolm Howard ruled Wednesday that Pitt County Schools has achieved "unitary status," meaning signs of past discrimination have been eliminated to the "extent practicable."

The decision means that federal oversight of Pitt County Schools, a practice that had been in place since the 1960s, will end.

Judge Howard said the following:

"It is not the function of this or any other court to assume the role of supervising our schools due to the prejudices of a few. The School Board has proven that the vestiges of state-mandated discrimination practiced over forty years ago have been eliminated to the extent practicable and that the School Board, as well as its predecessor boards, has complied in good faith with this court's desegregation orders and possesses a good faith commitment to the eradication of de jure discrimination in its schools.

(CLICK HERE to read the full document of Wednesday's ruling.)

The case began when a group of black parents, represented by the UNC Center for Civil Rights, asked the court to reverse a 2011 student assignment plan they say effectively re-segregated several county schools.

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