NAACP, SPLC pen letters to judge on Huntsville Schools rezoning

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - As the wait continues for Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala to make a decision regarding the Huntsville City Schools rezoning plan, two letters were written to the court.

"We don't think you should have unitary status at this point, you have to earn it," said Alice Sams, immediate past president of the Madison County branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund authored one letter, concurred by the county chapter.

"The consent order has some good things in it, but it had some things that we didn't think were equitable to all students," she said.

Sams says she knows the district needs change, and the letter outlined concerns about grandfathering, majority to minority transfers, and the placement of teachers.

"We recommended that they make sure that they put the highly certified teachers and the highly qualified teachers at the low performing schools," she explained.

A big point of the NAACP letter was concern over implementation.

"You can have on paper that you're going to do certain things, we want to see you do it," said Sams, going on to say that she doesn't think the school district will reach true equality under its current superintendent, Dr. Casey Wardynski.

A second letter was authored by members of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in Montgomery.

"We made comments that frankly applauded the first step of the school district and the Department of Justice towards creating a better discipline system," said Ebony Howard, managing attorney for an at-risk children program associated with the SPLC.

The organization works closely with Huntsville families that have seen the racially-driven punishment differences mentioned in the court hearings. Howard says that the district's efforts are a great start, but still fall short of the needs of the children the SPLC has seen.

"[We want] to be able to work with the school system to be able to craft a consent decree that will truly solve the problems for students in Huntsville," said Howard.

Judge Haikala is yet to rule or give any inclination on when she plans to do so.