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Case Name United States v. Franklin Parish School Board SD-LA-0017
Docket / Court 3:70-cv-15632-RGJ-KLH ( W.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On May 1, 1970, the United States filed the complaint for this case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana against the Franklin Parish (Louisiana) School Board to enjoin the School Board’s operation of a dual school system. The District Court permanently enjoined the ... read more >
On May 1, 1970, the United States filed the complaint for this case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana against the Franklin Parish (Louisiana) School Board to enjoin the School Board’s operation of a dual school system. The District Court permanently enjoined the School Board’s discriminatory practice and approved a desegregation plan on August 20, 1970. The presiding judge was Judge Benjamin C. Dawkins Jr. The defendants appealed, and the Court of Appeals affirmed the judgement on July 9, 1971.

This case is relatively simple compared to cases that preceded it because it was decided after Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Bd. 417 F.2d 801 (1969). In St. Helena, the Fifth Circuit officially ruled “freedom of choice” plans as inadequate for the purposes of achieving unitary status. For more information on the St. Helena case, see in this Clearinghouse.

In April 1974, two additional plaintiffs, Louisiana Education Association and Franklin Education Association, intervened to compel the district to comply with the integration order.

Over the next several years, the District Court issued orders on several proposed changes to the school district. In October 1974, the court allowed the School Board to consolidate three high schools into two. The plan was not again modified until June 1982, where objective criteria for the demotion of personnel was implemented. In June 1983, the School Board requested an order to allow them to close a junior high school, which the court granted. In July 1990, the School Board requested permission to relocated kindergarten students from Winser Elementary School to the former junior high school campus, so that a college branch of Northeast Louisiana University could be established, presumably at the elementary school site. The request was never addressed in the docket. The school district continuously provided bi-annual reports to the court.

In 1994, the case was reassigned to Judge Melancon. New Plaintiffs, “Save Our Schools,” tried to intervene in the case in July of 1994. “Save Our Schools” was founded by parents who objected to a School Board plan that sought to consolidate schools in the parish. The court denied their effort to intervene, and the Fifth Circuit affirmed that decision. However the School Board plan was never approved by the Department of Justice or the District Court. Throughout the 1990s, the school board and the plaintiff came to a number of consent decrees approved by the court, although no further details on the content of the decrees are available.

Between 2000 and 2004, the school district submitted numerous requests to consolidate schools and reassign students to new schools, which were each granted. On February 26, 2004, the Court approved a motion to amend the district's Student Assignment Plan to permit transfers under the No Child Left Behind Act. On May 24, 2004, the Court approved a new school consolidation plan.

The School Board has filed bi-annual reports since the date of the injunction. On March 1, 2013 the School Board filed its Motion for Declaration of Unitary Status. The District Court officially declared the School Board to have achieved unitary status on August 6, 2013 and the case ended then.

Available Opinions
Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Bd., 417 F.2d 801 (1969)
U.S. v. Franklin Parish School Bd., 2013 WL 4017093 (2013)
U.S. v. Franklin Parish School Bd. v. Save Our Schools, 47 F.3d 755 (1995)

Alaael-Deen Shilleh - 04/30/2017
Emma Holcomb - 11/07/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Preliminary relief granted
Required disclosure
Student assignment
Elementary/Secondary School
Race discrimination
Disparate Treatment
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Franklin Parish School District
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 1970 - 2013
Filed 05/01/1970
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
W.D. La.
SD-LA-0017-9001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. La.
SD-LA-0017-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
U.S. Court of Appeals
[Order] (417 F.2d 801)
SD-LA-0017-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Court of Appeals
[Order] (47 F.3d 755)
SD-LA-0017-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Westlaw
W.D. La.
United States’ Brief Containing Proposed Finding of Facts and Conclusions of Law [ECF# 71]
SD-LA-0017-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: Pro Publica
W.D. La.
Ruling (2016 WL 4017093)
SD-LA-0017-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Westlaw
W.D. La.
Ruling [ECF# 73] (2013 WL 4017093)
SD-LA-0017-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Pro Publica
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Judges Brown, John Robert (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
Cabot, Ted (S.D. Fla.) show/hide docs
DeMoss, Harold R. Jr. (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
Godbold, John Cooper (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
Hayes, Karen L. (W.D. La.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
James, Robert Gillespie (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0017-0002 | SD-LA-0017-0004 | SD-LA-0017-9000
Jolly, E. Grady (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
King, Carolyn Dineen (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Falkinburg, Thomas (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0017-0001 | SD-LA-0017-9000
Guzman, Javier M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Kassabian, Tamara Hardney (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Marshall, Franz (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0017-9000 | SD-LA-0017-9001
Maurer, Michael S. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Thompson, Arthur G. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0017-9000 | SD-LA-0017-9001
Vincent, Katherine (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0017-0001 | SD-LA-0017-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Coenen, William Robert Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
Dill, Pamela W (Louisiana) show/hide docs
Foti, Charles C. Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
Guste, William J. Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
Hammonds, Robert L. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
Knight, John B. Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0017-9000 | SD-LA-0017-9001
Ward, John F. Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
Wright, Jack Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
Other Lawyers Hunt, Joan E. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
LeBlanc-Smith, Willa Rebecca (Louisiana) show/hide docs

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