A desegregation complaint filed in 1958 in Hillsborough County was left to die Monday. The U.S. Supreme Court said that an appeals court ruled there was no segregation this past spring and that the complaint is no longer valid. Hillsborough County should be allowed to continue its efforts in maintaining desegregated schools, but rehashing old court complaints will not help that process.
Had new complaints been filed, even ones within the past five to 10 years, that would have been different, but with 43 years passed it is time to move on if the schools have changed accordingly.
It is important to maintain equal facilities and to ensure that groups of people are not being separated based on race, gender or anything else. Hillsborough County has been doing its best to maintain desegregated classrooms and enforce the law. The plaintiffs representing the 1958 appeal wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to continue court oversight although no evidence was presented that signaled a resegregation of the school system.
While it is true that some schools and districts have resegregated following the elimination of court oversight, not all have. School districts should create panels or use exiting ones to monitor desegregation activity and ensure that resegregation does not occur.
If resegregation does occur, Hillsborough County schools should be held accountable and return to court supervision. But until then, people must be given the opportunity to show they have learned from past mistakes, whether theirs or someone else’s. By eliminating court oversight from the schools, it gives everyone a chance to show the feeling is not just court mandated, but genuine and reflective of a new generation of more tolerant, multicultural students.