Judge says Detroit schools aren’t required to teach to basic standards, tosses case against Michigan
According to reports from the Detroit Metro Times, courts have dismissed a lawsuit brought against the state of Michigan alleging that the schools in Detroit were not providing basic education to its primarily Black and Brown students.
The case, which was first reported last year, involves students being forced to teach themselves with, often with no air conditioning in the summer and no heat in the winte. At the time, lawyers for the plaintiffs argued that books did not even exist for some students and thus they could not be assigned homework.
Last week, none of these allegations sufficiently concerned U.S. district judge Stephen J. Murphy III as he agreed with the state’s argument and reasoning that they bore no responsibility or accountability to ensure that students were actually educated.
Murphy stated in his dismissal:
The conditions and outcomes of Plaintiffs’ schools, as alleged, are nothing short of devastating. When a child who could be taught to read goes untaught, the child suffers a lasting injury—and so does society. But the Court is faced with a discrete question: does the Due Process Clause demand that a State affirmatively provide each child with a defined, minimum level of education by which the child can attain literacy? Based on the foregoing analysis, the answer to the question is no.
Jammarria Hall, one of the plaintiffs in the case, told the Times about conditions in the school:
There’s been times when substitutes go on lunch break and don’t come back, or they just get up and walk out. Or no-call-no-show to work. All types of things. So then maybe the girls sit in this room and watch this movie, and all the guys sit in this room and watch another movie. So it’s like babysitting, not school. So now kids are frustrated, don’t want to come… All those different things trickle down into people’s lives…missing out on days that could have been spent on learning something new, doing something useful
This case, which the judge rendered as “dismissed with extreme prejudice,” sets a devastating example for families and children who count on public schools to educate their children.