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Case Name US v. Choctaw County School District SD-MS-0005
Docket / Court No. 3:70–CV–00036–GHD ( N.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
This is a school desegregation case filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi in 1970. The United States was the plaintiff and alleged that the Choctaw County School District (CCSD) was operating a segregated system of public education that violated the 14th ... read more >
This is a school desegregation case filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi in 1970. The United States was the plaintiff and alleged that the Choctaw County School District (CCSD) was operating a segregated system of public education that violated the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

According to a later opinion, the district court issued a consent decree on August 5, 1970. The consent decree required that all students, faculty, staff, school transportation, and extracurricular activities be desegregated according to the standards set forth in Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District, 419 F.2d 1211 (5th Cir. 1969). The desegregation plan was proposed by the U.S. Office of Education; CCSD's desegregation plan was approved by the district along with desegregation plans for several other school districts in Mississippi. The school districts submitted reports to the court throughout the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s.

On August 3, 1984, plaintiff intervenor Charles Thomas, who was a black CCSD employee, filed suit and alleged that CCSD was violating Singleton, the consent decree, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, and 2000e et seq., and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Thomas was a principal at an all-black high school when the 1970 desegregation order was issued. He later became a co-principal with a white principal after the desegregation order. Thomas claimed that the white principal's salary was greater than his and the white principal was provided with free housing and a utilities allowance. When the white principal resigned, Thomas applied for the job but was not hired. Another white principal was hired and CCSD said he was more qualified than Thomas, even though Thomas had more experience. Thomas was routinely passed over for other principal jobs in CCSD. District Judge Neal B. Biggers, Jr. held that CCSD was not a fully unitary system because it could not prove that the school district was fully integrated in all areas. Judge Biggers also held that Thomas was entitled to relief under Singleton. Thomas received $40,508.91 in backpay and the fair rental market value of the house occupied by Thomas' white co-principal from 1970-1985. All other claims were declared moot. 725 F. Supp. 307 (N.D. Miss. 1989).

The case remained quiet until 2012. CCSD filed a motion to modify the desegregation order on October 23, 2012. The motion proposed to consolidate two high schools in order to promote desegregation and alleviate the financial burden of operating two schools. The United States filed a motion in opposition and claimed that CCSD's proposed modification was not constitutionally adequate because it did not foster desegregation at the elementary and middle school levels and placed the desegregation burden on black students in the community of Weir. District Judge Glen Davidson held on April 10, 2013 that CCSD's plan did not place a transportation burden on black students; however, because the modification would place a transportation burden on 7th and 8th grade students, CCSD was ordered to modify its plan to include students in 7th and 8th grades. 941 F. Supp. 2d 708 (N.D. Miss. 2013).

This case is ongoing.

Available Opinions
United States v. Mississippi, 725 F. Supp. 307 (N.D. Miss. 1989).
United States v. Mississippi, 941 F. Supp. 2d 708 (N.D. Miss. 2013).

Amelia Huckins - 03/15/2017

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Student assignment
Elementary/Secondary School
Race discrimination
Language/ethnic/minority needs
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Non-DOJ federal government plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Choctaw County School District
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs are the United States of America and a black principal, who intervened in the case in the 1980s.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1970 - n/a
Filing Year 1970
Case Ongoing Yes
70-36 (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/09/1970
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
3:70-cv-00036-GHD-DAS (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0005-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/02/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Consent Decree [ECF# 10-1] (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/05/1970
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Order] (725 F.Supp. 307) (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0005-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 11/20/1989
Source: Westlaw
Choctaw County School District Memorandum [ECF# 40] (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2013
Source: Pro Publica
Memorandum Opinion Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion to Modify Desegregation Plan [ECF# 40] (941 F.Supp.2d 708) (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0005-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/10/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Biggers, Neal Brooks Jr. (N.D. Miss.)
Davidson, Glen H. (N.D. Miss.)
SD-MS-0005-0001 | SD-MS-0005-0003 | SD-MS-0005-9001
Sanders, David A. (N.D. Miss.) [Magistrate]
Smith, Orma Rinehart (N.D. Miss.)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dallo, Amanda K. (District of Columbia)
Daniel, Tamica (District of Columbia)
Dann, Mark (District of Columbia)
Devine, Kathleen Susan (District of Columbia)
Krage, Ben L. (District of Columbia)
SD-MS-0005-0002 | SD-MS-0005-9000
Landsberg, Brian K. (District of Columbia)
Leonard, Jerris (District of Columbia)
Mitchell, John N. (District of Columbia)
Newton, Jonathan D. (District of Columbia)
Ray, H. M. (Mississippi)
Defendant's Lawyers Adams, Holmes S. (Mississippi)
Allain, William A. (Mississippi)
Butler, W. C. (Mississippi)
Coleman, Thomas A. (Mississippi)
SD-MS-0005-0002 | SD-MS-0005-9000
Cossar, George P. Jr. (Mississippi)
Henderson, Harvey (Mississippi)
Hooks, John Simeon (Mississippi)
Stewart, Nausead (Mississippi)
Sweet, Dennis C III (Mississippi)
Thornton, G. J. (Mississippi)

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