NAACP Claims Segregation in Area School

It’s a case that seems to stem from decades past, as Thomas County's NAACP is alleging racially divided elementary schools and classrooms within the Thomasville City school system.

A civil suit that's also claiming too many black children are being referred to special education and facing harsher discipline.

"It’s the NAACP's contention that the district has deliberately maintained its student’s assignment policies and its failure to provide transportation so that the schools would remain segregated as they are," says Thomas J. Henderson, lawyer, Committee for Civil Rights.

It's a claim the school system denies, saying the district was fully desegregated in the 1970's through a voluntary effort.

"The school system uses a for lack of a better term, a children get to choose where they get to go as long as space is available," says Jerry Lumley, attorney, Thomasville schools.

As for complaints of special education referrals and punishment, Lumley says none rise to level of a constitutional claim, saying he believes he has the evidence to show proper actions were taken.

The case was originally filed in October of 1998, it became a class action suit in 2001, and it's a suit the schools system is firmly denying. One idea is to put all students in certain grade levels in the same building.