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Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver, Colorado (1973)


Keyes v. School District No. 1, Denver, Colorado

Argued: October 12, 1972 --- Decided: June 21, 1973

Petitioners sought desegregation of the Park Hill area schools in Denver and, upon securing an order of the District Court directing that relief, expanded their suit to secure desegregation of the remaining schools of the Denver school district, particularly those in the core city area. The District Court denied the further relief, holding that the deliberate racial segregation of the Park Hill schools did not prove a like segregation policy addressed specifically to the core city schools and requiring petitioners to prove de jure segregation for each area that they sought to have desegregated. That court nevertheless found that the segregated core city schools were educationally inferior to white schools elsewhere in the district and, relying on Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, ordered the respondents to provide substantially equal facilities for those schools. This latter relief was reversed by the Court of Appeals, which affirmed the Park Hill ruling and agreed that Park Hill segregation, even though deliberate, proved nothing regarding an overall policy of segregation.


1. The District Court, for purposes of defining a segregated core city school, erred in not placing Negroes and Hispanos in the same category, since both groups suffer the same educational inequities when compared with the treatment afforded Anglo students. Pp. 195-198.

2. The courts below did not apply the correct legal standard in dealing with petitioners contention that respondent School Board had the policy of deliberately segregating the core city schools. Pp. 198-213.

(a) Proof that the school authorities have pursued an intentional segregative policy in a substantial portion of the school district will support a finding by the trial court of the existence of a dual system, absent a showing that the district is divided into clearly unrelated units. Pp. 201-203.

(b) On remand, the District Court should decide