National

NAACP plans legal challenge to N.C. school district's student assignment plan

RALEIGH — National NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous will be in Raleigh on Saturday for what's being billed as a major announcement on legal action against the Wake County school system for its new student assignment policy.

The Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP, said his organization and its allies will "unveil the first legal strategies challenging resegregation" in Wake and other school districts in North Carolina. Although few details are being provided ahead of time, Anita Earls, executive director of the Durham-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said a written complaint will be presented Saturday.

"This is a major step forward," said Earls, one of the attorneys working on the complaint. "This will be something in writing that will take place."

The presence of Jealous, a leading civil rights figure, will serve to give opponents of Wake's move to neighborhood schools even more national attention.

Jealous has previously spoken out on the situation in Wake. He had called in March for Ron Margiotta to resign as chairman of the school board for having said "here come the animals out of the cages" at a school board meeting.

Margiotta has called his remark "inappropriate," but he said there was nothing racial in it because he was responding to a black speaker being jeered by a mostly white crowd.

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