Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools, Civ. No. 8994.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
Writing for the CourtMECHEM
Citation351 F. Supp. 1279
PartiesJudy SERNA et al., Plaintiffs, v. PORTALES MUNICIPAL SCHOOLS et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberCiv. No. 8994.
Decision Date14 November 1972

351 F. Supp. 1279

Judy SERNA et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
PORTALES MUNICIPAL SCHOOLS et al., Defendants.

Civ. No. 8994.

United States District Court, D. New Mexico.

November 14, 1972.


351 F. Supp. 1280

Mario Obledo, Alfred H. Sigman, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, San Francisco, Cal., David W. Bonem, Clovis, N. M., for plaintiffs.

Charles A. Pharris, Keleher & McLeod, Albuquerque, N. M., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

MECHEM, District Judge.

Plaintiffs are minors of Spanish-surnamed heritage represented by their parents in this suit which they have brought as a class action. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief, invoking jurisdiction here under 28 U.S.C. Sections 1343, 2201 and 2203. Plaintiffs assert that defendants have discriminated against them and the members of the class they claim to represent in failing to provide learning opportunities which satisfy both their educational and social needs. They claim deprivation of due process and equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution and of their statutory rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically Section 601 (42 U.S.C. § 2000d).

351 F. Supp. 1281

The City of Portales is divided by railroad tracks. The Spanish-surnamed population is concentrated on the North side of these tracks. One of the City's four elementary schools, Lindsey School, is located in that area. For the 1971-1972 school year Lindsey School had a student enrollment of 86.7% Spanish-surnamed students. The ethnic composition of the three elementary schools South of the tracks, Brown, James and Steiner, during the same year was predominately Anglo, with 78% to 88% Anglo enrollment. Spanish-surnamed children comprise 34.5% of the student population of the four elementary schools in the Portales school district. There is one junior high school and one senior high school in the district. The junior high school enrollment is 70.2% Anglo and 28.8% Spanish-surnamed. In the senior high school, 82% of the students are Anglo and slightly over 17% are Spanish-surnamed.

The focal point of this action pivots around the education offered in the Lindsey School where the Spanish-surnamed children comprise a large majority. While plaintiffs assert that educational discrimination exists throughout the Portales school system, it is alleged to be most evident at Lindsey. Plaintiffs claim discrimination is the result of an educational program within the Portales school system which is tailored to educate the middle class child from an English speaking family without regard for the educational needs of the child from an environment where Spanish is the predominant language spoken. Such a program, it is claimed, is a denial of equal educational opportunity to the Spanish-surnamed children.

Plaintiffs do not claim that the program in the Lindsey School is inferior to that offered in any other school within the district. In fact plaintiffs contend that the educational program at Lindsey is substantially the equivalent of that offered at the Brown, James and Steiner schools. It is the similarity of these programs which is the crux of plaintiffs' claim of inequality of educational opportunity.

Although the programs offered at Lindsey are similar in many regards with programs offered at Brown, James and Steiner, plaintiffs are not correct in their assertion that the education offered at Lindsey is the same as that offered in the other schools. In the current school year, six Spanish-American teachers are employed at Lindsey. The school is continuing a bilingual-bicultural program for first graders which was instituted in the 1971-1972 school year and also provides a limited program in English as a second language which reaches approximately 40 students in the second through sixth grades. Neither of these programs or any other bilingual-bicultural program is offered in the other Portales elementary schools nor are any Spanish-surnamed teachers employed in those three schools.

Defendant school district asserts that the programs which have been established at Lindsey and the increase in the number of teachers with a Spanish surname indicate its awareness of the needs of the Spanish-surnamed children and constitutes sufficient affirmative action to remedy whatever deficiencies...

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4 practice notes
  • United States v. State of Tex., Civ. A. No. 5281.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • January 12, 1981
    ...A similar objection to court-ordered bilingual instruction was raised by the defendants in Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools, 351 F.Supp. 1279 (D.N.M.1972), aff'd. 499 F.2d 1147 (10th Cir. 1974). Responding to the alleged unavailability of qualified bilingual teachers, the court This is n......
  • Guadalupe Organization, Inc. v. Tempe Elementary School Dist. No. 3., No. 76-2029
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • December 18, 1978
    ...merit review by a federal court to determine whether it contravenes the Fourteenth Amendment. See Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools, 351 F.Supp. 1279, 1283 (D.N.M.1972), Aff'd on other grounds, 499 F.2d 1147 (10th Cir. B. Standard of Review. The Supreme Court in San Antonio Independent Sc......
  • Morales v. Shannon, Civ. A. No. DR-70-CA-14.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • August 16, 1973
    ...Opinion in Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools decided by the United States District Court in New Mexico during the trial of this case, 351 F.Supp. 1279 (1972). There the Court held that Mexican-American students were entitled, as a matter of substantive constitutional right, to be educated......
  • United States v. Asbell, No. 72-14-Cr-J.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • January 18, 1973
    ...it were not for the procedural defect he would have received the classification he was seeking.11 Here the diagnosis and recommendation 351 F. Supp. 1279 of the civilian psychiatrist are sufficient to support such a finding. Second, the defendant must show that the classification which he w......
4 cases
  • United States v. State of Tex., Civ. A. No. 5281.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Court of Eastern District Texas
    • January 12, 1981
    ...A similar objection to court-ordered bilingual instruction was raised by the defendants in Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools, 351 F.Supp. 1279 (D.N.M.1972), aff'd. 499 F.2d 1147 (10th Cir. 1974). Responding to the alleged unavailability of qualified bilingual teachers, the court This is n......
  • Guadalupe Organization, Inc. v. Tempe Elementary School Dist. No. 3., No. 76-2029
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • December 18, 1978
    ...merit review by a federal court to determine whether it contravenes the Fourteenth Amendment. See Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools, 351 F.Supp. 1279, 1283 (D.N.M.1972), Aff'd on other grounds, 499 F.2d 1147 (10th Cir. B. Standard of Review. The Supreme Court in San Antonio Independent Sc......
  • Morales v. Shannon, Civ. A. No. DR-70-CA-14.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Western District of Texas
    • August 16, 1973
    ...Opinion in Serna v. Portales Municipal Schools decided by the United States District Court in New Mexico during the trial of this case, 351 F.Supp. 1279 (1972). There the Court held that Mexican-American students were entitled, as a matter of substantive constitutional right, to be educated......
  • United States v. Asbell, No. 72-14-Cr-J.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Florida
    • January 18, 1973
    ...it were not for the procedural defect he would have received the classification he was seeking.11 Here the diagnosis and recommendation 351 F. Supp. 1279 of the civilian psychiatrist are sufficient to support such a finding. Second, the defendant must show that the classification which he w......

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