CT MirrorJune 16, 2017

The state will not be allowed to fill empty seats in the Hartford region’s desegregated magnet schools with more black and Hispanic students from Hartford – at least for the next school year. Doing so, Hartford Superior Court Judge Marshall Berger ruled Friday, would erode the Connecticut Supreme Court’s landmark Sheff v. O’Neill desegregation decision, issued nearly 21 years ago, which found Hartford students “suffer daily” from the inequities caused by severe racial isolation.

“The empty seats cannot simply be filled without recognizing the mandates of the court,” Berger ruled. “Our Supreme Court noted that the children of different
races and economic and social groups have no opportunity to know each other, to live together in school,” Berger said. “They cannot be expected to gain the understanding and mutual respect necessary for the cohesion of our society.”

“We are at a particularly important crossroads right now,” said Martha Stone, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs from the Center for Children’s Advocacy. “There is no long range plan for what will happen in the future.”

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