Lower Merion superintendent acknowledges race was factor in redistricting

    For the past year, school officials from the Lower Merrion School District have denied allegations that race was a factor in choosing where to assign students. Now, the district’s top official has admitted otherwise in Federal Court.

    For the past year, school officials from the Lower Merrion School District have denied allegations that race was a factor in choosing where to assign students. Now, the district’s top official has admitted otherwise in Federal Court.

    The controversial plan calls for dozens of students from a predominantly African American neighborhood to be bused five miles to Harriton High School, even though they live within a mile of Lower Merion High.

    The district says the plan will equalize enrollments at both schools but parents of nine South Ardmore students are claiming racial bias.

    In federal court, Superintendent Christopher McGinley admitted that race was considered while eliminating two of six redistricting options.

    David Kairys is a Professor of Constitutional Law at Temple. He says schools are legally allowed to consider race, if used properly.

    “If they created what are called race quotas or any number of other possibilities, it could lead to it being invalidated but it’s not invalid simply because race was considered.”

    The trial is expected to continue through next week.

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