By Ricky Watson
Halifax County, NC is home to some of the lowest performing schools in the state. One of the main reasons why they perform so poorly is rooted in the three separate school districts (two “black districts” and one “white district”) maintained within the county for roughly 7,000 total students. This is a critical strain on resources and ultimately denies students of their constitutional Leandro right to a sound, basic education.
Silver v. The Halifax County Board of Commissioners involves several plaintiffs, who filed a claim asserting that students are denied a sound, basic education because the Board has maintained a tripartite structure that deters investment in and stigmatizes the majority black districts and obstructs the ability of all students across the county, especially those at-risk, to access their constitutional right to a sound, basic education.
Last month, YJP filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief on behalf of our client, Public Schools First North Carolina (PSFNC) and in collaboration with Legal Aid of NC-Advocates for Children’s Services, in the Court of Appeals supporting the suit. PSFNC expressed an interest in this case because it is statewide nonpartisan organization focused solely on public education issues. PSFNC recognizes that every child in Halifax County is suffering irreversible, unconstitutional harm to their educational well-being and views the Court as the only avenue to force immediate structural change. PSFNC recognizes that access to an adequately resourced and staffed public education, as guaranteed in the state constitution, is essential.
The issues discussed in our brief include:
1. Whether or not Halifax County Board of County Commissioners’ maintenance of three inequitably resourced school districts deny children in Halifax County the constitutional guarantee of a sound basic education, and
2. Is hearing of Plaintiffs’ claims against the Halifax County Board of County Commissioners imperative to ensuring Halifax children have the opportunity to receive a sound basic education?
Take a look at our brief here: Amicus Curiae Brief-Silver v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners.