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U.S. v. SCHOOL DISTRICT 151 OF COOK COUNTY

May 15, 1969

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SCHOOL DISTRICT 151 OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS; CHARLES WATTS, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOL DISTRICT 151; RICHARD GRAF, WALLACE DAVIS, LOUIS WIERSMA, GERALD BENNETT, JAMES HENDRIX, DONALD MCGEE, AND HOBART KRILLIC, MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF SCHOOL DISTRICT 151 OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Julius J. Hoffman, District Judge.

      MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

This is a civil rights action brought by the plaintiff under 42 U.S.C. § 2000c-6(a) seeking an order directing the defendants to desegregate grammar schools in Illinois School District 151. On July 8th, 1968, and after extensive hearings, the district court determined that the defendants and their predecessors were guilty of denying Negro children in District 151 equal protection of the law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment by virtue of the defendants' invidiously discriminatory policies, decisions and practices based solely on the fact that the children are Negroes, and the district court, accordingly, issued its preliminary injunction order against the defendants based on its findings of fact and conclusions of law. See United States v. School District 151 of Cook County, Illinois, 286 F. Supp. 786 (N.D.Ill. 1968). The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the preliminary injunctive order for the government, and remanded the cause to the district court for further proceedings upon the government's motion for a permanent injunction on December 17, 1968. See School District 151 of Cook County, Illinois v. United States, 404 F.2d 1125 (7th Cir. 1968). Pursuant to the directive of the Court of Appeals, the district court conducted hearings beginning with January 13, 1969, and ending on February 17, 1969. As a result of these hearings and a careful examination of the transcript of evidence consisting of 2,867 pages, together with all of the documentary exhibits, the court has determined that the government is entitled to a permanent injunction against the defendants.

For an American who is devoted to his country and wants to believe in the intelligence and good-will of its citizens it is very painful to contemplate and difficult to understand continued resistance to school desegregation. It should be, but apparently it is not, unnecessary to restate the fact that not only has the United States Supreme Court held segregation to be illegal and morally reprehensible (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Shawnee County, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S.Ct. 686, 98 L.Ed. 873 (1954)) but also that social and educational research have corroborated the finding that it is damaging to the student's personality and intellectual development (United States v. School District 151 of Cook County, Illinois, 286 F. Supp. 786 (N.D.Ill. 1968).

The separation of black and white children is in itself an inhibiting factor. In any community where one school is black and one predominantly white nobody needs to be told which is considered the good school. This is the case whether segregation is the result of an old housing pattern, the flight of white residents or the construction of a new school on a site beyond the walking distance of Negro children. The implication, and not infrequently the assertion, that the Negro school is "undesirable" disheartens both pupils and teachers and limits their expectations. Because it saps the pupil's motivation, his achievement level drops below his actual capacity and gives ostensible confirmation to the fear that he is somehow deficient. In other words, the school which should help him to resolve his self-doubts, strengthen his self-respect and encourage his aspirations actually does the reverse.

The correlation between high expectations and excellent performance, low expectations and poor performance is so obvious and well documented that even without test scores to prove the point, it should be obvious that Negro children make better progress in desegregated schools where success is the rule than in all-Negro schools where it is usually the exception. By this time also the apprehensions of white parents should have been dispelled by the reports and testimony of educators who have found that the performance of white children has not been adversely affected by the introduction of Negroes into their classes. The academic record of white children attending integrated schools has paralleled that of comparable white students in all-white schools and they have, in addition, received the bonus of interaction with members of a different race, a matter of vital importance in our pluralistic society.

Conversely, segregation harms the white as well as the black student. Just as racial isolation tends to cripple a black child by inducing a feeling of inferiority, it inflates the white child with a false belief in his superiority. These seeds of prejudice and animosity produce particularly noxious weeds when they are not planted adventitiously and merely permitted to sprout but when they are nourished by the deliberate practice of segregation.

The lack of white teachers in black schools and black teachers in white schools cannot be inadvertent or attributable to their place of residence, as in the case of children. When transfer privileges are applied unequally, when attendance areas are not clearly defined and boundary lines are shifted in such a manner as to keep the races apart, segregation cannot successfully be passed off as the incidental result of a neighborhood school policy. Opposition to bussing does not gain respectability by being verbalized as solicitude for the Negro child who might have to be bussed. This court has neither seen nor heard any evidence to indicate that transporting a Negro child to a desegregated school is more hazardous than transporting white children away from one. For many years, millions of children in rural districts and pupils with severe handicaps have withstood the "hardship" of long bus rides. Clearly, the important consideration from every point of view is not the trip in the yellow bus but the quality and composition of the school at the end of it.

Bussing costs money, to be sure, but the hidden costs of discrimination run much higher. They are incalculable in terms of the waste of human resources that occurs when schools award eighth grade diplomas to Negro students with a sixth grade reading level and a man-sized burden of frustration. Not only for the sake of the individual student but for the maintenance of American democracy, free public education must be free of bias as well as free of charge. Desegregation is a very small down payment on an investment whose dividends are good citizenship, justice and the welfare of the nation.

The time is long past when school boards can be permitted to shirk their full responsibility and fail to eliminate discriminatory practices without the necessity of a court order.

The court is of the opinion that the objections of the United States of America to the Kennedy School desegregation proposal should be sustained, and that the permanent relief sought by the plaintiff should be granted, based on the entry of its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law hereinbefore and as hereafter set forth in this memorandum of decision.

In accordance with the provisions of Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, findings of fact and conclusions of law are included in this memorandum of decision together with the court's order.

FINDINGS OF FACT*fn*

(1) School District 151 is an elementary public school district organized and existing under the laws of the State of Illinois. It is located in Cook County, Illinois, and consists of portions of the communities of Phoenix, Harvey, and South Holland. The District has a total area of about 4.5 square miles (Answer, para. 3; Gov't Exs. C-5; P-4; E-2, p. 6; E-8, p. 1).

(2) Dr. Thomas Van Dam is Superintendent of School District 151. Richard Graf, Hannes Johnson, Louis Wiersma, Gerald Bennett, James Hendrix, Robert Zielenga and Hobart Krillic are the members of the Board of Education of School District 151. Under the laws of the State of Illinois, the members of the Board of Education and the Superintendent are charged with the responsibility of operating the public schools in District 151 (Answer of June 3, 1968, para. 6; Answers of December 19, 1968). Dr. Charles Watts was the Superintendent of School District 151 from about July 1, 1967 to August 16, 1968 (Tr. 736 (Watts); Gov't Ex. AAA, p. 2). Eli Bogolub was a member of the Board of Education of School District 151 from 1964 until April of 1968, during which time he served one year as Board secretary and three years as Board president. (Tr. 506-7).

(3) The following table lists the schools located in School District 151, the dates of their initial utilization, and their locations.

               Date of
  Schools    Initial Use                Location
  Roosevelt    1931          320 E. 161st Place, S. Holland
  Coolidge     1933          155th St. and 7th Ave., Phoenix
  Madison      1957-58       157th St. and Orchid Dr., S.
                               Holland
  Eisenhower   1960-61       16001 Minerva Ave., S. Holland
  Taft         1966-67       163rd Street and Union, Harvey
  Kennedy      1966-67       155th St. and 8th Ave., Phoenix

(Gov't Exs. C-5; D-18, pp. 3, 13; D-19, pp. 10, 12) Through the end of the 1967-68 school year, the Roosevelt, Madison, Eisenhower and Taft Schools served grades kindergarten through eight; the Kennedy School served grades kindergarten through three; and the Coolidge School served grades four through eight. (Gov't Exs. C-5, CC, p. 4) The Kennedy and Coolidge Schools are separate buildings located adjacent to each other. (Gov't Exs. C-5, P-4)

(5) Approximately 98 percent of the residents of Phoenix are Negroes. (Tr. 153 (Kingsland); Tr. 367-8 (Watkins)) The part of Phoenix in School District 151 is bounded on the north by 151st Street, on the west by Halsted Street, on the south by the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks and 155th Street, and on the east by 9th Avenue and Van Drunen Road (Gov't Ex. P-4) No Negroes reside in any area of School District 151 other than in Phoenix. (Tr. 175 (Kingsland))

(6) Prior to the 1968-69 school year, no Negro student attended the Madison or Eisenhower Schools; no Negro student attended Roosevelt School during the regular school year, but Negroes attended summer school sessions at Roosevelt; and no Negro student attended the Taft School, except for approximately ten mentally handicapped students, during the 1967-68 school year. (Tr. 154-157 (Kingsland); Tr. 289 (McGovern)) Mentally handicapped students are assigned to schools without regard to residence. (Tr. 289 (McGovern))

(7) In 1948, the enrollment of the Coolidge School was approximately 70 percent white. (Tr. 151, 155 (Kingsland)) As of the 1956-57 school year, and thereafter, through the end of the 1967-68 school year, the enrollment of the Coolidge School was almost entirely Negro. (Tr. 296 (McGovern); Tr. 155 (Kingsland)) The enrollment of the Kennedy School has been almost entirely Negro for 1966-67, 1967-68 and 1968-69, the three school years of its operation. (Tr. 158 (Kingsland); Tr. 290-1 (McGovern)); Supplementary Order, July 22, 1968) During the 1967-68 school year, there were approximately 10 or 12 white children in the Coolidge and Kennedy Schools, some of whom were mentally handicapped children assigned without regard to residence. (Tr. 289-290, 296 (McGovern); Tr. 748-9 (Watts))

(8) Total regular student enrollment in District 151 schools was approximately as follows at the dates indicated:

                          May, 1968    November-December, 1968
  Coolidge                   425                 483
  Kennedy                    392                 313
  Roosevelt                  447                 429
  Madison                    442                 383
  Eisenhower                 626                 519
  Taft                       308                 341
  Total                     2640                2468
  (Gov't Ex. CC, pp. 1, 4)

Faculty and Staff Assignment

(9) When George Kingsland became Superintendent in School District 151 in 1948, all teachers in the District were white. (Tr. 151, 160 (Kingsland)) The first Negro teacher in School District 151 was Huel Gwin, who was employed at the Coolidge School for the 1953-54 school year. (Tr. 313, 315 (McGovern); Gov't Ex. D-12, p. 4) During the 1964-65 school year, a Negro music teacher and a Negro permanent substitute teacher taught in all schools in the District. These teachers were the first Negro teachers assigned to teach in School District 151 in schools other than Coolidge. (Tr. 180-1, 186-7 (Kingsland); Tr. 294 (McGovern); Gov't Exs. F-3, p. 56; F-4, p. 1; O-1(a), pp. 6-9 (McGovern))

(10) Before the 1966-67 school year, no full-time Negro classroom teacher was employed in the Roosevelt, Madison, Eisenhower or Taft Schools. (Tr. 292-3 (McGovern); 163-5 (Kingsland); Gov't Ex. R) One Negro classroom teacher was employed in each of these schools on a full-time basis for the 1966-67 school year (Tr. 292-3 (McGovern); 163-5 (Kingsland); Gov't Ex. R), as the result of a decision by the Board of Education to have one Negro teacher for each of these schools for that year. (Tr. 192-3 (Kingsland); Tr. 521-3 (Bogolub)) Two Negro classroom teachers were employed at the Roosevelt, Eisenhower and Taft Schools for the 1967-1968 school year and one at the Madison School. (Gov't Ex. J-1, pp. 2-3)

(11) The number of full-time teachers, by race, employed at each of the schools in the District for the school terms 1953-54 to 1968-69 is shown on the following table:

Faculty

Year      School             White     Negro      Race Unknown
  1953-54  Roosevelt             12         0              0
           Coolidge               7         1              1
  1954-55  Roosevelt             15         0              0
           Coolidge               8         2              1
  1955-56  Roosevelt             17         0              0
           Coolidge               9         3              0
  1956-57  Roosevelt             18         0              0
           Coolidge               9         5              0
  1957-58  Roosevelt             20         0              0
           Coolidge               6         9              0
           Madison                6         0              0
  1958-59  Roosevelt             19         0              0
           Coolidge               6        12              0
           Madison               13         0              0
  1959-60  Roosevelt             19         0              0
           Coolidge               2        17              0
           Madison               16         0              0
  1960-61  Roosevelt             19         0              0
           Coolidge               0        22              0
           Madison               16         0              0
           Eisenhower             8         0              0
  1961-62  Roosevelt             20         0              0
           Coolidge               0        25              0
           Madison               17         0              0
           Eisenhower             9         0              0
  1962-63  Roosevelt             21         0              0
           Coolidge               0        26              0
           Madison               17         0              0
           Eisenhower            17         0              0
  1963-64  Roosevelt             23         0              0
           Coolidge               0        25              0
           Madison               16         0              0
           Eisenhower            14         0              0
  1964-65  Roosevelt             24         0              0
           Coolidge               1        28              0
           Madison               17         0              0
           Eisenhower            16         0              0
  1965-66  Roosevelt             14         0              0
           Coolidge               1        12              0
           Madison               14         0              0
           Eisenhower            12         0              0
           Kennedy                0        10              0
           Taft                   5         0              0
  1966-67  Roosevelt             16         1              0
           Coolidge               0        16              0
           Madison               16         1              0
           Eisenhower            17         1              0
           Kennedy                0        15              0
           Taft                   8         1              0
  1967-68  Roosevelt             17         2              0
           Coolidge             1/2        21              0
           Madison               18         1              0
           Eisenhower            19         2              0
           Kennedy              1/2        18              0
           Taft                  12         2              0
  1968-69  Roosevelt             13         3              0
           Coolidge              17        10              0
           Madison               10         5              0
           Eisenhower            12         6              0
           Kennedy                4         7              0
           Taft                  10         7              0
  (Gov't Exs. R; FFF, pp. 29-34)
  (12) The following table shows the number of vacancies in
teaching positions at schools in School District 151 for each
school year from 1953-54 to 1967-68 and the racial composition of
the teachers filling these vacancies:
            Vacancies or New            Vacancies or New
            Positions at                Positions at
            Predominantly     Hired     Predominantly       Hired
  Year      White Schools     W    N    Negro Schools       W   N
  1967-68        32           29   3         10             1   9
  1966-67        35           31   4         11             0  11
  1965-66        22           22   0         13             0  13
  1964-65        12           12   0          4             1   3
  1963-64        18           18   0          2             0   2
  1962-63        23           23   0          6             0   6
  1961-62        19           19   0          6             0   5
  1960-61        21           21   0          5             0   5
  1959-60         9            9   0          9             1   8
  1958-59        11           11   0          5             1   4
  1957-58        12           12   0          5             1   4
  1956-57         4            4   0          5             3   2
  1955-56         3            3   0          5             2   3
  1954-55         2            2   0          2             1   1
  1953-54         4            4   0          2             1   1
                 ---          ---  --         --           --  ---
  Total          227          220   7         89           12  77

(Gov't Ex. R)

(13) During the period from September 5, 1967, through February 8, 1968, the defendants assigned substitute teachers on the basis of race. Approximately 75 percent of the total assignments given to Negro substitute teachers were to the predominantly Negro Coolidge and Kennedy Schools. Of substitute assignments made to predominantly white schools, 91 percent went to white teachers. (Gov't Ex. S)

(14) The racial composition of the faculties at the schools of School District 151 in the period from the 1953-54 school year through and including the 1967-68 school year was the result of a deliberate decision by the defendants and their predecessors in office to assign teachers to schools on the basis of race. With few exceptions, white faculty members were employed for and assigned on the basis of their race to schools attended only or almost entirely by white students. Negro faculty and staff members were generally employed for and assigned on the basis of their race to schools attended only, or almost entirely by Negro students (Gov't Exs. G-1, pp. 184-7; Q-1 through Q-5; R; S; Tr. 178-191, 246, 250-51 (Kingsland); Tr. 301-305, 307-9, 311-12 (McGovern); Tr. 518-523 (Bogolub); Tr. 694-695 (Gesell); Tr. 1438-9 (Gowens)).

(15) The assignment policy summarized in paragraph 14 was responsible, in part, for the fact that the schools in District 151 became racially identifiable. The racial composition of the faculties at the Coolidge and Kennedy Schools contributed to making them "Negro schools." The racial composition of the faculties of the Roosevelt, Madison, Eisenhower and Taft Schools contributed to making them "white schools."

School Bus Transportation Practices

(16) Beginning in the 1940's and continuing until the opening of the Taft School for the 1966-67 school year, white children living in the Harvey Highlands area of District 151 and in the area bounded by Halsted Street on the west, Route 6 on the south and the Grand Trunk Railroad tracks on the northeast were bussed to the Roosevelt School (Tr. 196-7, 200-2 (Kingsland); Gov't Exs. E-1 through E-7; Finding 5). These two areas are located closer to the Coolidge School than to the Roosevelt School (Gov't Exs. P-3, P-4). During the period of this bussing, only white children attended the Roosevelt School, and the enrollment of the Coolidge School became progressively more Negro in character until it was almost entirely Negro (Findings 6 and 7). The bussing of these children to the Roosevelt School instead of the Coolidge School was not justified by any safety factor (Tr. 280 (Kingsland); Tr. 963-4 (Watts); Gov't Exs. P-3, P-4).

(17) Beginning no later than the start of the 1956-57 school year, and continuing through the 1967-68 school year, white children living in the general area of District 151, east of Phoenix, north of Robin Lane and west of the Little Calumet River, and on the portion of Wabash Street located at the north central boundary of the District, an area closer to the Coolidge and Kennedy Schools than to the Roosevelt School, were transported by bus to the Roosevelt School (Tr. 202-17 (Kingsland); Tr. 744-8 (Watts); Gov't Exs. E-1 through E-9; T-1; T-2; T-3; Finding 6). The following table shows the number of students so transported for all school years from 1960-61 to 1967-68, with the exception of 1962-63:

Number Students
Year                            Bussed
1960-61                           35
1961-62                           37
1963-64                           33
1964-65                           53
1965-66                           59
1966-67                           67
1967-68                           83

(Gov't Exs. E-2; E-3; E-5; E-6; E-7; E-8; E-9; T-1; T-2; T-3). During the period of this transportation, the enrollment of the Roosevelt School was all-white and that of the Coolidge School, and after its construction the Kennedy School, almost entirely Negro (Findings 6 and 7). The transporting of these children to the Roosevelt School instead of the Coolidge and Kennedy Schools was not justified by any safety factor (Tr. 279 (Kingsland); Tr. 744-8; 964 (Watts); Gov't Exs. P-3; P-4).

(18) Some of the white children bussed to the Roosevelt and Taft Schools (Findings 16 and 17) lived less than 1 1/2 miles from those schools (Gov't Exs. E-2, p. 1; E-3, p. 10; E-4, p. 1; E-5, p. 3; E-6, p. 1; E-7, p. 1; E-8, p. 1; E-9, p. 29), and were provided school bus transportation for safety reasons. (Gov't Exs. P-3, P-4; Tr. 840-850 (Watts). Although safety reasons have been given as the basis for not assigning white children to the Coolidge and Kennedy Schools (Gov't Ex. F-6, pp. 19-23), no bus service was provided to those schools for white children before the 1968-69 school year. (Tr. 196-7, 200-217, 279-80 (Kingsland); Tr. 963-4 (Watts); Findings 5, 6, 7, 16 and 17; Gov't Exs. E-1 through E-9).

(19) In District 151, prior to the 1968-69 school year, with the exception of special education students, no white children were bussed to the Coolidge or Kennedy Schools and no Negro children to the Roosevelt, Taft, Madison and Eisenhower Schools (Tr. 289-91 (McGovern); Findings 5, 6, 16, 17, 18 and 19).

(20) The purpose and effect of that program of school bus transportation referred to in Findings 16 through 19 was to segregate the students of School District 151 on the basis of race and color (see also Tr. 747-9, 963-4 (Watts)).

Site Selection and School Construction

(21) In February 1964, a referendum was held in School District 151 on a proposal presented by the Board of Education for the construction of a school in the southwest portion of the district. (Gov't Ex. F-3, pp. 23-5.) The residents of the district were informed that this school would be attended by the "overflow" from the Roosevelt and Coolidge Schools and that it would, therefore, serve Negro and white students. (Gov't Exs. F-3, p. 2; O-2(a), pp. 4-5 (Graf)). There was considerable opposition to a school in this proposed location among residents in the southwest part of the District on grounds that it would be integrated. (Gov't Exs. F-3, pp. 14, 16, 18-19; O-2(a), pp. 7-9, 11-12 (Graf)). The proposal was defeated in the referendum. (Gov't Ex. F-3, pp. 31-2).

In April 1964, after four new board members had been elected (Gov't Ex. O-2(a), pp. 14-15 (Graf)), the majority of Board members believed that the sentiment of the district opposed desegregated schools and that the voters of District 151 would not aprove a referendum for facilities which would, because of their location, result in integration of students. The Board accordingly proposed, among other things, the construction of two schools, one in the far southwest part of the district and the other as an addition to the existing, almost entirely Negro Coolidge School (Tr. 515-6 (Bogolub); Tr. 785-6 (Watts); Tr. 386 (Watkins); Tr. II 2052-3 (Graf); Gov't Exs. O-2(a), pp. 13-19, 23-26 (Graf); F-4, p. 30; GGG, p. 2). At a referendum held on December 5, 1964, the proposal containing, among other things, these specific locations passed. The schools which were constructed pursuant to this authorization were the Kennedy and Taft Schools (Tr. 508, 517 (Bogolub)).

(22) Prior to the referendum of December, 1964, during the period in which the Board of Education was considering possible locations for the construction of new facilities, Mr. L.K. Watkins, a Negro Board member, suggested utilization of a site in South Holland, south of 151st Street and east of 9th Avenue. (Tr. 377-86 (Watkins); Gov't Ex. F-4, p. 29). A school in this location would probably have been integrated because of residential patterns in the area. (Tr. 377-86 (Watkins); Gov't Ex. O-2(a), pp. 24-6; T-1, T-2, T-3; Finding 5). The opinion of a majority of Board members, that the voters would not support a referendum for a school which would be integrated, was a substantial factor in the decision not to accept the site proposed by Mr. Watkins. (Tr. 377-86 (Watkins); Tr. 510-515 (Bogolub); Tr. 785-6 (Watts); Tr. II 2052-3 (Graf); Gov't Exs. O-2(a), pp. 24-5 (Graf); GGG, p. 2; Finding 21).

(23) The sites for the Taft and Kennedy Schools were selected at least in part so as to promote and preserve the racial segregation of students in School District 151. The construction of these schools had this effect.

Attendance Zones

(24) There was no written statement of the attendance zone boundaries for District 151 schools, prior to a Resolution adopted on October 5, 1964 (Tr. 205-6, 219-221 (Kingsland); Tr. 405 (Watkins); Gov't Exs. O-2(a), pp. 53-4 (Graf); F-4, pp. 27-8). The boundaries were again placed in written form on September 9, 1966, at the time of the opening of the Taft and Kennedy Schools (F-6, pp. 27-8).

(25) Beginning in the 1920's and continuing until about 1947, some white children living in School District 151 in South Holland on 153rd Street (also known as 157th Street) between State Street (also known as Indiana Avenue) and 9th Avenue, and on State Street nearby, attended the Phoenix School and, after its opening in about 1933, the Coolidge School (Tr. 457-458 (Watkins); Tr. 720-7 (Tromp); Gov't Exs. A-22; B-1; B-2; B-3). The area in which these children lived is located closer to the Coolidge School than to the Roosevelt School (Gov't Exs. P-3; P-4; T-1; T-2; T-3).

(A) In the period between the 1920's and 1945, children of Peter and Anna DeYoung who resided on 153rd Street, as specified above, attended the Phoenix and Coolidge Schools (Tr. 721, 725 (Tromp); Gov't Exs. A-22, pp. 30-1, 32-3, 88-9, 113-4, 115-6; B-1).

(B) In the period between the 1930's and 1947, children of Harry and Anna Ravesloot who resided on 153rd Street, as specified above, attended the Phoenix and Coolidge Schools (Tr. 721, 726 (Tromp); Gov't Exs. A-22, ...


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