Read a PDF of our statement here.

On Wednesday, a federal court entered an order memorializing an agreement between the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) and the Board of Education of Fayette County in Tennessee in a school desegregation case. LDF, along with local counsel Elijah Noel Jr., Of Counsel at Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh, PLLC, represents Black students and their parents as plaintiffs in the case. The Justice Department serves as a Plaintiff-Intervenor.

The new consent decree, signed by U.S. District Judge S. Thomas Anderson, establishes steps for Fayette County’s remaining constitutional obligations to eliminate racial discrimination in the school district. Among the remedial steps are:

  • revising the district’s gifted program to ensure Black students are properly identified;
  • collaborating with a consultant to identify and respond to racial disparities in the administration of student discipline;
  • promoting equitable employment opportunities for Black teachers;
  • regularly meeting with parents and families to provide updates on progress under the consent decree and listen and respond to parent questions and concerns.

“We are gratified to have reached an agreement that addresses the concerns of our clients,” said Allison Scharfstein, LDF’s Education Fellow. “This consent order is a reflection of Black families’ perseverance in demanding equal, quality education for their students in the District. We are hopeful that this agreement will result in meaningful improvements and LDF is committed to seeing that process through.”

As the legal organization behind Brown v. Board of Education, and the architects of the strategy to end school segregation, LDF remains committed to ending racial discrimination and advancing equity in our nation’s schools.


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.