HCDE 0, Justice 1

Monday, December 17, 2018

Today Luka Hyde’s family received reimbursement for the outrageous discrimination this child suffered at Normal Park. The pain this family suffered is only one symptom of a bigger issue. The cost of this litigation (which included multiple pointless appeals by the Hamilton County Department of Education) came close to $1,000,000.

That is $1,000,000 not going to the education of Hamilton County’s children. Most of that money ended up in the pockets of attorneys. And you, the taxpayer, get to foot the bill.

When President Trump talks about Draining the Swamp, this is exactly what he means. No matter which way this litigation goes attorneys retained by the Hamilton County Department of Education get paid. If people in Hamilton County want to see real change, then the individual people responsible for these discriminatory acts not the taxpayers, need to be held accountable.

Simply put, there are many more children like Luka Hyde. The Hamilton County Department of Education broke their promise to reintegrate Hill City. And the spark of Luka Hyde’s victory may lead to a forest fire.

Hill City, which is a part of North Chattanooga, was removed from Normal Park’s zone with the promise to put Hill City back into the zone in 2009. That did not happen. Instead the Hamilton County offered to include Hill City in the lottery with preferential treatment.

But, of course, that was just another stall tactic with the “lottery” being handled by the very same people who had been rigging the lottery before. Many families in Hill City simply did not want their children to face the same discrimination that Luka Hyde did. But that broken promise has not been forgotten.

The plain fact is Normal Park’s zoning has been a problem from the very beginning. It was not designed by a thoughtful committee that acted in the best interest of the community. It was dictated by people with racist fears who nagged the School Board.

Normal Park’s zoning should either be abolished like other magnet schools of it should honor its’ original 2009 promise. Anything else is an invitation for more litigation. The taxpayers and the children of Hill City deserve better.

Charles Bikas


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