Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bias Suit by White Student Transfer Sought for Navy ROTC

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bias Suit by White Student Transfer Sought for Navy ROTC

Article excerpt

Two weeks before the Duval County School Board attempts to prove

in court it is fairly educating black students, a 15-year-old

white student claims he is being denied equal educational

opportunities because of his race.

Charles E. Sulier II has asked a federal judge to allow him to

transfer from a predominantly black high school to a

predominantly white high school so Sulier can attend a Navy ROTC

program there, according to a motion for preliminary injunction

filed yesterday.

The School Board turned down Sulier's transfer request earlier

this summer, said Sulier's lawyer Rod Sullivan, citing a

negative impact on racial balancing goals at Sulier's

neighborhood school, Raines High School, where the student

population last year was 98 percent African-American.

But Raines doesn't have the Navy ROTC program that Sulier

believes will help his chances of getting into the U.S. Naval

Academy at Annapolis, Sullivan said.

"The issue is whether you can deny somebody access to a unique

program because he doesn't happen to be of the right race,"

Sullivan said. "We're not asking here for carte blanche

transfers for any reason. But when there's a valid,

non-discriminatory reason that a young man wants to transfer

from one school to another, the School Board should grant that

regardless of what race the young man is."

School Board attorney Ernst Mueller said he will file a written

response in court today.

He and Judy Poppell, the school system's director of student

assignment, said the impact of student transfers on the racial

balance of sending and receiving schools must be considered.

School officials are bound by a 1990 desegregation agreement

with the Jacksonville branch of the National Association for the

Advancement of Colored People to try to reach goals of 20

percent black and 45 percent white in most schools, including

Raines.

"In implementing the . …

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