The tiny Sausalito Marin City School District, which consists of two schools, is being sued by California Att. Gen. Xavier Becerra for maintaining unequal treatment (“First desegregation order in 50 years hits Marin schools,” Los Angeles Times, Sep. 22). Yet I maintain that the district is not legally responsible for de facto segregation that is a result of conditions beyond its control.
At issue is the racially mixed enrollment of Willow Creek in Sausalito and the racially imbalanced enrollment of Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy in Marin City. Yet in the 1960s, the school board voted to put black children from Marin City and white children from Sausalito in the same schools. In other words, its intent was to have integrated schools. But when several local military bases closed in the 1990s, enrollment declined and white flight ensued. Parents then stepped in to create a new charter school in Sausalito, which remains a gem.
Nevertheless, if Becerra persists in his lawsuit, he runs the risk of the community seceding to form its own even tinier school district. That has happened in Gardendale, Alabama, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Memphis, Tennessee. I grant that Sausalito is far more progressive than these other three places, but there’s always the possibility of parents becoming angry and frustrated enough to do so.
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