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School choice controversy continues

Some Hot Spring County students will change schools after the Christmas break. A federal judge refused to issue an injunction allowing students to stay in the school of their choice until a lawsuit against the Malvern School District is settled.
Some Hot Spring County students will change schools after the Christmas break. A federal judge refused to issue an injunction allowing students to stay in the school of their choice until a lawsuit against the Malvern School District is settled.

"It’s almost like family with Magnet Cove. The teachers know us, they know Devin," says mother Karen West. For months now the Wests have been fighting to keep their son in his Magnet Cove School.

The superintendent of the Malvern School District claims the Wests and dozens of other parents are breaking the law by sending their children to schools outside the district and he wants them to enroll in Malvern Schools. But the parents are going to court saying they are exercising their right to school choice. "This is parents doing the best we can do; we aren't doing anything negative."

The judge decided that while the suit is pending students considered out of district have to move to Malvern schools after Christmas break. The Wests are not letting that happen. They feel so strongly about keeping Devin in Magnet Cove that they split up the family so he could live in the district. "His dad and Devin are staying in his brother's house with them four days a week."

If this doesn't work they're prepared to buy land and move the entire family. In a November court hearing Andi Davis, the attorney for all the parents, told a judge that a statute dealing with race in the school choice law is unconstitutional.  Now, Davis says, "We may lose several battles, but what we have to remain focused on is the outcome of the war."

Davis is confident lawmakers understand the flaw in the statute and will change it. The Wests hope this happens for their son's sake. Parents head back to court January 5th where a judge will decide if the lawsuit will proceed.
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