Judge rules closure of 15 D.C. schools last year 'not racially discriminatory'

DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (WJLA/AP) - A federal judge has thrown out the remainder of a lawsuit that attempted to halt the closure of 15 District of Columbia public schools.

Empower DC, the community group that had backed the lawsuit, had argued the closures discriminated against poor and minority students because all of the schools closed were located east of Rock Creek Park.

But U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg sided with city officials who argued the closures were made for nondiscriminatory reasons.

"Nothing in the record points to discrimination based on race or residence. Everything, instead, points to a neutral determination undertaken for the legitimate purpose of increasing efficiency and improving education for all students," Boasberg wrote in his ruling.

Boasberg previously denied a request to temporarily halt the closures, writing that there was no evidence officials intended to discriminate by closing the schools. Boasberg had tossed out most of the lawsuit in October and on Monday rejected the remaining discrimination claims.

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson applauded the ruling which will continue to allow DCPS "to shift accordingly based on the enrollment needs and demands of our students,"

A lawyer working with Empower DC, Johnny Barnes, said the ruling was expected and would be appealed.