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The De-Segregation of Schools in New Castle County

In 1976, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a determination that, in order to desegregate the schools in Northern New Castle County, it was necessary to consolidate the 11 suburban school districts with the Wilmington School District. The court created the New Castle County Planning Board of Education to implement the desegregation remedy. Morris James was retained to represent this Planning Board. Prior to this engagement, Morris James did not represent any Delaware school districts. 

A team of Morris James lawyers guided the Planning Board in implementing the complex consolidation of 12 school districts effective July 1, 1978. Morris James was then retained to represent the district resulting from the consolidation (the New Castle County School District). In addition to counseling the New Castle County School District in complying with its obligation under the desegregation order, Morris James represented the District in a wide variety of litigation matters related to the consolidation, including securing an injunction which ultimately terminated the largest, and last public employee strike in the history of Delaware.

In 1981, the General Assembly divided the New Castle County School District into four school districts (Brandywine, Colonial, Christina and Red Clay. Morris James represented these four districts.

In 1994 the State, together with Brandywine, Colonial, Christina and Red Clay, moved for a declaration that the Districts complied with the desegregation order, and the vestiges of past discrimination were eliminated to the extent practicable. Morris James represented Brandywine, Colonial and Christina in this phase of the litigation. Following a lengthy trial, the State and the Districts prevailed. The Third Circuit affirmed the District Court decision on appeal.

Morris James has become widely recognized as the leading education law firm in the State. Over the course of the last 30 years Morris James was retained by other Delaware school districts. Today Morris James represents 17 of the 19 Delaware school districts, including all of the school districts in Kent and Sussex Counties, as well as certain private schools.

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