Justice Gary S. Stein quoted in newjersey101.5 article, “Lawsuit: NJ Schools are Illegally Segregated.” The article explains that a lawsuit by the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools are seeking to overhaul its school on the grounds that they are illegally segregated by race and class.
The lawsuit was filed nearly a year and a half ago. Settlement negotiations broke down in the spring. Former Supreme Court Associate Justice Gary Stein, the president of the coalition, said segregation in the public schools violates the state constitution and that the courts should intervene.
“So we just felt there was no other way to solve this because, as you can appreciate, this can be a difficult issue for people in public office,” Stein said.
“Our segregation, believe it or not, is worse than any state in the South, and of course the South was segregated by law before Brown against Board of Education,” Stein said.
“The remediation part of the case is difficult. It’s complicated and perhaps expensive,” Stein said. “But it’s certainly something that could be achieved over a decade or more.”
Stein said approaches that have succeeded elsewhere could be adapted to New Jersey, like city-based magnet schools in Hartford and opening seats in schools in 35 Massachusetts suburbs to students from Boston.
“Our situation is unique because our lawsuit is statewide. We haven’t had a statewide claim of segregated schools brought probably since the ‘60s,” Stein said.
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