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Books Delivered To School After Lawsuit

Representatives from Metro schools say textbooks for sixth grade students were delivered to John Early Middle School in north Nashville on Tuesday night.
/ Source: WSMV-TV

Representatives from Metro schools said textbooks for sixth grade students were delivered to John Early Middle School in north Nashville on Tuesday night.

This delivery comes after a judge ruled on Tuesday afternoon in favor of the NAACP and a local family after a lawsuit was filed against Metro schools concerning student access to textbooks.

The suit alleged that students at John Early Middle School did not get textbooks on time while schools in wealthier areas did. The suit was filed on behalf of Frances and Jeffrey Spurlock and their daughter, who was rezoned from Bellevue Middle School to John Early Middle.

The judge said on Tuesday that Metro schools had 24 hours to provide textbooks to more than 130 students who did not have them. It was also ruled that the Spurlocks can send their child back to Bellevue Middle School if they like.

In fact, two years ago, hundreds of students at McGavock High had not textbooks a month into the school year.

Metro Schools Spokesperson Olivia Brown said in such a large district that unfortunately it happens almost every year. Brown said the principal ordered the books when a shortage was noticed.

"We never know until the first day of school, how many students will actually show up and enroll," said Brown. "It does take a little while for those (books to arrive) once you order them."

Despite the arrival of the books, some parents still weren't satisfied.

"They need to get on the ball. It's not acceptable," said parent Kimberly Brown.

The Spurlocks said on Tuesday their daughter was making straight As at Bellevue Middle before the rezoning. They also said their daughter has been the victim of bullies and has been harassed and threatened since being moved to John Early.

More than $5 million in new resources was promised to majority black schools after the rezoning changes.

On Tuesday afternoon, a U.S. District Court in Nashville heard arguments concerning a temporary restraining order filed by NAACP designed to provide students adequate textbooks. Three weeks into the school year, more than 106 students at John Early Middle School still did not have books.

A judge agreed with the NAACP and the Spurlocks, who said their daughter wasn't getting the same resources as students in other Metro schools because of the new re-zoning.

School leaders contend that the book have not been delivered because the principal simply did not order enough books. They also said the $5 million went to teachers and counselors, not textbooks.

"Textbooks are being distributed at John Early. They have been ordered a few weeks ago, and that process is going on right now," said Metro schools spokeswoman Olivia Brown.

In a few months, the lawsuit will be back in a federal court to decide whether the entire school rezoning will be overhauled.

This is the first year for the controversial redistricting plan, which involves the Hillwood and Pearl-Cohn clusters. The redistricting was approved by the Metro School Board in July 2008.

The plan was opposed by many who feared it would re-segregate Metro schools and fail to deliver a quality education.

Supporters of the plan said it returns students to neighborhood schools and that students would have to spend less time on the bus. Also, supporters said, parents would have the opportunity to participate more in their child's activities since the school would be closer.