Gazebo Gazette

In a 9-8 ruling Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied Mississippi state officials’ request for rehearing in Williams v. Bryant after a 3-member panel of the court ruled in April that the plaintiffs, parents of public schoolchildren, could bring a lawsuit for the failure to provide a uniform system of public schools, as required under a federal law that allowed the state to rejoin the United States following the American Civil War.

Four Black mothers, represented by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), brought the case in May 2017 on behalf of their children who were receiving a public education inferior to students at high-performing, majority-white public schools.

“We will not stop fighting until Mississippi is held to its obligation to provide a uniform system of public schools that offers Black students the same access to a high-quality education as their white peers,” stated SPLC Senior Staff Attorney Will Bardwell. “One hundred and fifty years ago, Congress permitted Mississippi to rejoin the country after seceding during the American Civil War, in part, on the condition that it never deprive children of the school rights then contained in Mississippi’s state constitution.”