In an attempt to at least temporarily halt the Philadelphia School District's school closing process, a group of parents and others say they are filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. The parents, who include members of the community group ACTION UNITED, say that school closings disproportionately affect African American students.
The group hopes to win a moratorium on school closings, and they want an investigation into the school closings and phase-outs that took effect this year, which they say were discriminatory. Advocates for the group say that at six of the eight schools that closed or began the closing process, at least 13 percent more African American students are enrolled than district average. They say that at seven of the eight schols, the white population is at least 11 percent below district average.
The district is currently in the beginning stages of a plan to close up to 40 schools this year. Meetings on criteria for determining schools to be closed are now being held; a list of possible closures is expected in November, with final School Reform Commission approval next year.
Members of the group taking this action have scheduled a press conference outside the school district headquarters for tomorrow morning.
A school district spokesman said the district had not seen the complaint, but would have no comment on the pending litigation.