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Case Name Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board SD-LA-0002
Docket / Court 5:65-cv-11055-EEF ( W.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization NAACP Legal Defense Fund
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
This school desegregation case from Caddo Parish, Louisiana, was filed in 1965 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, with Judge Ben Dawkins presiding. As of 2020, it is still ongoing.

On May 4, 1965, the parents of seven African American school children ... read more >
This school desegregation case from Caddo Parish, Louisiana, was filed in 1965 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, with Judge Ben Dawkins presiding. As of 2020, it is still ongoing.

On May 4, 1965, the parents of seven African American school children brought this putative class-action suit on their behalf against the defendants, Caddo Parish School Board, to enjoin the operation of a racially segregated school district. Shortly thereafter, the United States was allowed to intervene as a plaintiff and has remained actively involved in the case since then.

Initially, the Board pursued a freedom-of-choice approach to desegregation. The Fifth Circuit at first approved the use of freedom of choice plans in United States v. Jefferson. 372 F.2d 836 (5th Cir. Dec. 29, 1966). And even in the wake of Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, 391 U.S. 430 (1968), in which the Supreme Court expressed frustration at the inadequacy of freedom-of-choice plans, the Western District continued to accept them as a viable option. See Adams v. Matthews, 401 F.2d 181 (5th Cir. Aug. 20, 1968); Conley v. Lake Charles School Board, 293 F.Supp. 84, 87 (W.D. La. Nov. 14, 1968) (including Caddo Parish). Ultimately, however, in Hall v. St. Helena Parish, a consolidated appeal of cases from across the Circuit, the Fifth Circuit ordered the district courts to reverse course and solicit alternative plans from the various defendant school boards. 417 F.2d 801 (5th Cir. May 28, 1969) (including Caddo Parish). Please see SD-LA-0037 for more information on freedom-of-choice.

By the early 1970s, there was a major split in the various factions of private plaintiffs, leading them to play less of an active role in the suit. During this time, the United States was involved with negotiations with the district court and the Board. In 1976, the Board filed a motion to have the school system declared unitary, which would have warranted the dismissal of the original suit. However, the United States opposed the motion. In 1977, the district court: (1) ruled that the Board had fully complied with the 1973 court-ordered desegregation plan, (2) declared the school system to be unitary, and (3) dismissed the suit against the Board. Thereafter, the United States filed a motion to amend the judgment, which suspended the finality of the judgment, claiming procedural irregularities and substantive deficiencies in the ruling. No private plaintiffs came forward to proceed with the suit, so the United States engaged in negotiations as the main plaintiff.

After five years of negotiations with the Board, the parties reached an agreement and on May 5, 1981, the district court entered a consent decree that largely still governs the Board's desegregation efforts. The consent decree stipulated that the Board was required to desegregate its public schools and to establish a unitary system that does not discriminate against black students. The decree, among other things, called for the establishment of magnet schools to achieve desegregation of certain schools, as well as developing programs that would result in integration of all-black schools.

By 1990, the district court found that the Board had met many of its targets from the 1981 consent decree and thus relieved the Board of its obligations under the consent decree as to magnet schools. However, the provisions of the consent decree applicable to all-black schools remained in force. The Board was still obligated to provide a level of education at two all-black schools (Booker T. Washington and Fair Park) that was qualitatively equal to that of the others in the system. The Board was also obligated to continue efforts to integrate these two all-black schools, which were deemed vestiges of past unconstitutional race discrimination.

In December 2013, Louisiana’s Recovery School District (“RSD”) intervened in the Board’s management of academically unacceptable schools, one of which was Fair Park. The RSD entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Board that imposed specific requirements for the management of these schools. Preliminary reports indicated that the actions taken had some desired effect of improving the academic performance of Fair Park students, but the Board voted to close this high school by the end of the semester.

In January 2017, the Board approved a plan to merge these two all-black schools into Booker T. Washington. A separate lawsuit, Cooksey v. Caddo Parish School Board (SD-LA-0049 in this clearinghouse), was filed in the same district court on May 5, 2017, by parents of some black students at Fair Park high school. They sued the Caddo Parish School Board for its abrupt decision to merge the two all-black schools as the solution for the Board’s alleged need to “right-size” the district and to generate funds to teacher pay raises. The plaintiffs alleged that the Board’s action was manifestly race-based in violation of the equal protection requirements of the Fourteenth Amendment, Louisiana’s state law, and the mandates of the 1981 consent decree. On February 20, 2018, the parties in the Cooksey lawsuit filed a stipulated dismissal. While the suit was pending, the school merger was completed, and the parties stipulated that the merger was ultimately unrelated to the 1981 consent decree.

In the original case filed in 1965, after many reassignments of judges over the decades, the case was reassigned to Judge Elizabeth Foote on May 23, 2011.

As of 2020, the school system had yet to attain unitary status and the district court retained its supervision of the Board's efforts to desegregate.

Available Opinions
United States v. Jefferson County Board of Education, 372 F.2d 836 (5th Cir. Dec. 29, 1966), cert. denied, 389 U.S. 840 (1967) (consolidated cases, allowing the United States to intervene as as party in various desegregation suits)
Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board, 392 F.2d 721 (5th Cir. Mar. 27, 1968)
Hall v. St. Helena Parish School Board, 417 F.2d 801 (5th Cir. May 28, 1969) (consolidated appeal of 36 school desegregation cases; rejecting freedom of choice plan)
Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board, 421 F.2d 313 (5th Cir. Jan. 6., 1970) (reversing district court’s approval of Board’s plan and remanding)
Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board, 487 F.2d 1275 (5th Cir. Oct. 31, 1973)
Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board, 499 F.2d 914 (5th Cir. Aug. 30, 1974)
Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board, 704 F.2d 206 (5th Cir. May 6, 1983)
Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board, 735 F.2d 923 (5th Cir. July 9, 1984) (en banc)
Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board, 204 F.R.D. 97 (W.D. La. Sept. 26, 2001)

Related cases
Cavalier ex rel. Cavalier v. Caddo Parish School Board, 400 F.3d 246 (5th Cir. Mar. 1, 2005) (white student challenging denial of admission to magnet school as discriminatory)

Greg Margolis - 02/25/2017
Sichun Liu - 03/01/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Busing
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitor/Master
Preliminary relief granted
Reporting
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Education
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Caddo Parish
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are African-American school children in the Caddo Parish, Louisiana school system.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NAACP Legal Defense Fund
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1965 - n/a
Filed 1965
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing SD-LA-0014 : Conley v. Lake Charles School Board, Calcasieu Parish School Board (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0026 : Hall and United States of America v. St. Helena Parish School Board (M.D. La.)
SD-LA-0037 : Related School Desegregation Cases in the Western District of Louisiana (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0049 : Cooksey v. Caddo Parish School Board (W.D. La.)
Docket(s)
65-11055 (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/20/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
5:65-cv-11055 (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0002-9002.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/19/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Brief for the United States
SD-LA-0002-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/25/1966
Source: Papers of Alexander (Sandy) Ross
Opinion (372 F.2d 836)
SD-LA-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/29/1966
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (392 F.2d 721)
SD-LA-0002-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/27/1968
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (417 F.2d 801)
SD-LA-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/28/1969
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (421 F.2d 313)
SD-LA-0002-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/06/1970
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (487 F.2d 1275)
SD-LA-0002-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/31/1973
Source: Westlaw
Opinion (499 F.2d 914)
SD-LA-0002-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/30/1974
Source: Westlaw
Consent Decree (1981) [ECF# 1-2 ] (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/06/1981
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (704 F.2d 206)
SD-LA-0002-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/06/1983
Source: Google Scholar
Brief for the United States on Rehearing En Banc
SD-LA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/09/1983
Source: Papers of Brian Landsberg
Opinion (735 F.2d 923)
SD-LA-0002-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 07/09/1984
Source: Google Scholar
Opinion (204 F.R.D. 97) (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0002-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/26/2001
Source: Westlaw
MINUTE ENTRY [ECF# 2] (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/23/2011
Source: Pro Publica
show all people docs
Judges Foote, Elizabeth Erny (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0001 | SD-LA-0002-9002
Garwood, William Lockhart (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0010 | SD-LA-0002-0011
Godbold, John Cooper (Fifth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0006
Goldberg, Irving Loeb (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0010
Higginbotham, Patrick Errol (N.D. Tex., Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0011
Little, F. A. Jr. (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0012
Rubin, Alvin Benjamin (E.D. La., Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0011
Williams, Jerre Stockton (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0010
Wisdom, John Minor (Fifth Circuit) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Frances O. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004
Cooper, Charles Justin (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0002
Doar, John (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0013 | SD-LA-0002-9000
Flanagan, William J. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-9002
Heffernan, Brian F. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004
Keeling, Thomas M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004
Keene, J. Ransdell (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004
Landsberg, Brian K. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0002
Leifer, Elihu (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0013
Marshall, Franz (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-9002
Norman, David L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0013
Owen, D. Robert (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-9000
Reynolds, William Bradford (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0002
Ross, Alexander C. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0013
Shaheen, Edward L. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0013
Stewart, Carl E. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004
Stone, Jesse N. Jr. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-9000
Tureaud, A. P. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-9000
Turner, James P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004
Yeomans, William R. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0002
Defendant's Lawyers Abrams, Reginald W. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-9002
Arceneaux, M. Thomas (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004
Sutherland, Fred H. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004 | SD-LA-0002-9002
Other Lawyers Lee, Wayman (Massachusetts) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0002-0004

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