Over the past three years, two local school districts were found to be in violation of a federal court order requiring schools maintain ethnic diversity within their respective institutions.
Both the Tuloso-Midway and Calallen independent school districts were found to be in non-compliance with Civil Action 5281, a federal court order given in 1971 to promote and protect ethnic diversity in school districts.
The TMISD was found to be in non-compliance in the 2005-06 for accepting a minority student from the CISD, as well five white students from the Banquete Independent School District.
In the following school year, the TMISD was found to be non-compliant because it had accepted a white student from the Odem-Edroy Independent School District.
The CISD was found to be in violation during the 2007-08 school year for accepting three white students from the Banquete ISD and one white student from Odem-Edroy ISD.
TMISD Superintendent Cornelio Gonzalez said the violation was not given because it would disrupt the TMISD's ethnic balance, but vice versa. What may be most surprising is that it is not minorities that are usually declined by the TMISD and the CISD, but rather, white students.
"Most of the time, most of the kids we cannot accept are white kids," Gonzalez said. "If there are any white kids, we cannot take them because it affects the ethnic balance of the school district (they are coming from)."
The TMISD superintendent said smaller school districts, like Odem-Edroy and Banquete, with lower white student populations are especially difficult to obtain transfer students from.
The same could be said for larger school districts with a small minority population, he added.
Gonzalez said he feels the law, while good in its intentions, may be limiting in today's academically driven society and not allowing students to transfer from less-achieving school districts to those with better academic track records.
"I think, eventually, those laws will go away," the TMISD superintendent said. "It does take away freedoms from the people."
Robstown Independent School District Superintendent Roberto Garcia, who spent six years with the Banquete ISD prior to his current position with the RISD, said Monday that he did not agree with Gonzalez's sentiments.
"That law was passed to keep an ethnic balance in school districts," Garcia said. "Public schools should have open doors to a mix of students because that's a representation of society.
"Once you polarize those students, you polarize society."
No fines were issued for the violations, but the school districts were ordered to return the students to their respective school districts.
Otherwise, the result would have entailed a loss in state funding, Gonzalez said.