Under the Dome

NAACP accuses Harnett County of school resegregation

Two community groups will hold a press conference Tuesday to announce they’ve filed a federal civil-rights complaint accusing the Harnett County school system of adopting assignment plans that have led to racial segregation in Dunn schools.

According to a press release, the Harnett County chapter of the NAACP and Citizens for Harnett Educational Fairness (CHEF) charge the Harnett County Board of Education “with intentional race discrimination for rejecting proposed school assignment plans that would have alleviated the severe racial segregation” in schools. The complaint says the board’s actions “adversely impact the district’s African American children.”

“The board has advanced a middle school redistricting plan that intentionally ignores racial segregation at Dunn Middle School,” according to a press release. “This racial segregation also exists at Dunn Middle’s feeder schools, Harnett Primary and Wayne Avenue Elementary. By isolating many African American students in one segregated middle school, the board provides schoolchildren in the Dunn area with less than equal access to educational opportunities.”

The complaint contends the Harnett County school system violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits groups that receive federal dollars from engaging in discrimination. The two groups wants the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights to intervene.

The state NAACP filed similar federal complaints in the past charging the Wake County and Wayne County school systems with practicing policies that have led to school segregation. Like those prior complaints, the UNC Center for Civil Rights is involved in this new complaint.