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BELL v. SCHOOL BD. OF STAUNTON

January 5, 1966

Kay Frances BELL et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
SCHOOL BOARD OF the CITY OF STAUNTON, VIRGINIA, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MICHIE

 This school integration suit, brought as a class action on behalf of Negro school children in the City of Staunton, Virginia, by their parents and next friends, is in a sense a companion case to the Augusta County case decided by the Court this day. 249 F. Supp. 239. The plaintiffs in this cause filed a complaint against the defendant school authorities in Staunton identical to the complaint filed by the plaintiffs in Augusta County. At the time of the hearing in the matter the City of Staunton, like Augusta County, had filed a plan with the Court calling for the desegregation of four grades a year under freedom of choice, commencing at the start of the current school year and reaching completion by the beginning of the 1967-68 school term. As the same legal questions were presented in the two causes, they were brought on for hearing on the same day.

 The City of Staunton is geographically surrounded by Augusta County, but the City constitutes a separate, independent political entity under Virginia law. The City accordingly operates its own public school system apart from the Augusta County system. Staunton presently operates seven elementary schools, one junior high school, and two high schools. *fn1" Two of these elementary schools and one high school are attended solely by Negro students and staffed exclusively by Negro teachers and administrators. They may thus be classified as "Negro schools."

 Unlike Augusta County, Staunton has not progressed beyond the mandatory freedom of choice plan for four grades in the current school year. As the plan now stands, four more grades would be desegregated for the 1966-67 school term, but the remaining four grades would not be desegregated until 1967-68. This plan has now been approved by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, upon Staunton's advising the Department that it had decided to abandon all its Negro schools in 1967-68 and assign all its students to the remaining schools in ...


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