August 10, 1996 in Nation/World

Blacks To Fill Magnet-School Slots Meant To Draw Whites

Associated Press

More than 300 black students will be allowed to fill magnet-school slots intended to draw whites into the predominantly black public schools of suburban Washington.

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte approved the admissions to the specialized programs Friday, ruling against the county chapter of the NAACP.

The civil rights group had asked the judge to deny the slots to any of the 4,000 black students waiting to get into the programs, arguing that admitting them would defeat the aim of attracting more non-black students.

The magnet programs were created in 1985 to implement a 1972 court-ordered desegregation plan. “We didn’t make our decision on June 17 to open the slots to make any kind of political statement. We wanted to give those students an opportunity to get a quality education they ordinarily wouldn’t receive,” school board president Marcy Canavan said.

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