RUSTON, La. (KTVE/KARD) — According to the Louisiana Tech University Executive Director of University Communications and Marketing, Tonya Smith, the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana released A.E. Phillips Laboratory School from judicial supervision on March 21, 2022. The school is being dismissed from a long-standing desegregation lawsuit.
The suit was originally brought against Lincoln Parish schools in 1966 to disestablish the former segregated education system within Lincoln Parish. A.E. Phillips was added as a party to the lawsuit in 1980 and has continually remained under the Court’s supervision until the order.
“Our desire is for A.E. Phillips to be reflective of the community we serve,” said Dr. Jenny Blalock, Director for the School. “We have achieved our goal and are thankful to have this case behind us. We will continue our effort to be a school that is reflective of our community, one that provides a welcoming environment and academic excellence for our Bullpups.”
In November 2016, A.E. Phillips and the U.S. Department of Justice agreed on a consent order that if followed through, would allow A.E. Phillips to be dismissed from the case. The order required A.E. Phillips to expand its classrooms and facilities, increase black student enrollment to be within 20 percentage points of Lincoln Parish, recruit black faculty and staff, and periodically report to the Department of Justice and the Court.
“Since 2016, A.E. Phillips met the requirements by increasing its black student population to 25.51 percent, spent over $1.2 million in facility upgrades, and revamped its hiring, admissions, and scholarship practices,” said Justin Kavalir, Louisiana Tech University legal counsel. “Being released from the court’s supervision means that A.E. Phillips will have more freedom in how it operates so that it can make decisions for the school without requiring oversight or approval from the Department of Justice or the Court.”
According to the A.E. Phillips website, the school serves kindergarten through eighth grade students and is located on the Louisiana Tech University Campus.