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Closing arguments heard in Pitt County Schools segregation case - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Closing arguments heard in Pitt County Schools segregation case

GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Closing arguments began today in a federal court case involving Pitt County Schools and the Pitt County Coalition To Educate Black Children.

A key witness argued racial imbalance within the school district. The defense argued there's not enough evidence to support this claim.

No decision happened today.

The case heads back to court August 23rd.

--- Original Story ---

Racial segregation in schools has been a large part of our country's history. But in Pitt County, it's also very much a part of the present.
     
The Pitt County school system headed to federal court Monday. The issue at hand; whether it's running a racially equal school system for students.

The Pitt County school system is hoping to achieve "unitary status," which means they will no longer require federal supervision when it comes to desegregation.

But a group of parents is challenging that.
     
They maintain a 2011 student reassignment plan actually had the opposite effect and re-segregated several schools in the district.
     
It's a case that's been continued for decades.
     
In the 1960s, a federal district court found Pitt County Schools was violating students constitutional rights. The court approved initial desegregation plans but the lawsuit was dormant for years.
     
Since then, "Everett Vs. Pitt County Schools" has been reopened several times.
     
Opening arguments started Monday and the defense, which in this case, is representing Pitt County Schools, called their first witness to the stand.
     
Dr. David Armor, a research specialist, testified that since the reassignment plan was implemented in 2011, most schools in Pitt County met the 30 to 70 diversity target ratio.
     
He said some of the imbalances in the student population are due to changes in demographics.
     
Armor was the only witness to take the stand Monday.
     
The case is a bench trial, which means there is no jury. Ultimately, the decision will be up to judge Malcolm Howard.
     
If the school system cannot prove the 2011 reassignment plan was racially balanced, they cannot have unitary status.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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