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The Tie Breaker Ruling in Perspective: A Plaintiff Looks Back on the Historic U.S. Supreme Court Decision of 2007

In 2000 Kathleen Brose led an organization called Parents Involved in Community Schools which filed a lawsuit against the Seattle School District, challenging its tie-breaker rule in Seattle Public Schools which gave preference to racial minorities in school assignments when all else was equal.  The lawsuit eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court which in June 2007 ruled in favor of Parents Involved.  In the following article Brose describes the origins of the lawsuit and her attitude toward the half century struggle to integrate Seattles schools in light of that ruling. A link to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling appears at the end of this article.

In late June, 2007, I wrote the following for a Seattle Times newspaper opinion piece shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Parents Involved in Community Schools:

In 2000, Parents Involved in Community Schools, a nonprofit organization made up of diverse parents and community members sued the Seattle School District to stop discrimination against our children.

We told the School District that the use of the race of a student to decide to assign our ninth-graders to a high school was illegal, unconstitutional, immoral and just plain wrong.

Our children were denied entrance to certain high schools because of their skin color, and both nonwhite and white children were affected by this racist policy.

The Seattle schools had never been segregated and were already integrated.  The use of the racial tie-breaker was not necessary.  Our children just wanted to attend school along with their peers and to maintain friendships.

It is difficult enough being a teenager in our fast-paced world without being forced to go to a school you don’t want to go to, just because you have the “wrong” skin color.  Our children are faced with so many more choices at an early age, which makes parenting much more difficult today than a generation ago.  When you are a single parent, or a parent without a car, and your child is going to a school that is up to two hours away by

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