Non-adherence to desegregation was heart of legal claim
Forty-seven years of litigation in Genoveva Morales, et al. vs. E.P. Shannon, et al., finally was resolved Monday evening during a special meeting of the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District board of trustees.
After a 24-minute closed session, board member Willie Edwards read a statement prior to making a motion stating that in 2014 the district hired a mutually agreed-to consultant to assist bringing the district into compliance with the consent decree.
Edwards announced that the two parties have agreed that the district complied and both seek dismissal of the lawsuit.
UCISD agreed to pay plaintiff’s attorneys, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), $7,000 in attorney’s fees and $9,980 in costs and expenses, for a total of $16,980.
Each board member signed the agreement and expressed appreciation to Morales for her efforts in making UCISD a better and more inclusive school district.
The class action lawsuit was filed in 1970 by Genoveva Morales on behalf of her children against UCISD.
In 1975, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found that UCISD had failed to desegregate its school system in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
In June of 2007, UCISD sought to dismiss the desegregation order altogether, a move opposed by MALDEF. Trial was set for Oct. 27, 2008, but the parties reached a tentative agreement in August of 2008.
Following approval by the UCISD board in September of 2008, U.S. District Court in San Antonio signed a consent order memorializing a settlement agreement reached between the district and the plaintiffs.
Finally, nine years after that, and 47 years from the initial filing of the case, it came to an end on July 31, 2017.
Board member Maria Martinez stated, “I’m proud of what this board has accomplished, and I hope never have to go through this again.”
“I agree,” said Willie Edwards, “I’m so happy this has come to an end. I’m so proud of this board. This was the right thing to do, and we’re here to serve all of our students.”