D.C.

D.C. school closures disproportionately affect minorities, lawsuit says

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A District of Columbia judge seemed skeptical about a lawsuit asking him to halt the planned closure of 15 public schools, noting during a hearing that the schools students are being moved to are better performing.

The community group Empower DC is behind the lawsuit and says the planned closures violate the U.S. Constitution and city and federal laws. They say the closings will disproportionately affect minority, special education and low-income students and they're asking for a preliminary injunction that would halt the closures.

Lawyers for the District of Columbia say closing the schools will improve education for all students. They say they gave proper notice of the closings and responded to citizen concerns.

D.C. federal court Judge James E. Boasberg said he would rule on the issue next week.

Cheerleaders from Ferebee-Hope in Southeast set the tone as parents, lawyers and activists converged outside federal court holding signs naming the 15 schools set to close. One plaintiff in the suit says her 13-year-old daughter attended six different schools, mainly because of closures.

"Thing they're doing I couldn't provide that lack of stability for my child,” says parent Joy Hicks Parker. “Then child protective service would be all in my house all in my business."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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