No Hollow Verdict

Categories: News

A few Friends of Unfair Park have asked in recent weeks whatever became of that trial concerning Lucresia Mayorga Santamaria's allegations that Preston Hollow Elementary School's teachers and its principal, Teresa Parker, were involved in illegally segregating the Hispanic and African-American students from the white neighborhood kids. After all, the trial, during which superintendent Michael Hinojosa testified, took place in August, before the kiddos went back to school. Even though it escaped the attention of Dallas' Only Daily, surely something's happened.

Actually, not so much. U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay promised in the middle of September to hand down a ruling by the end of last month. He didn't. On September 11, he wrote that "the issues in this case are much too important for a hurried decision"; better to be right than rushed, he said. Then, last week, he wrote in court documents that he's close to a decision, but he got bogged down in an issue involving the PTA brochure sent to prospective parents in which Hispanic students were left out of the picture. Literally. He said he only had a copy but needed the original. OK. Swell. So, when's the decision coming down? Well, Lindsay can't comment on the trial, of course, but his staff says he's got law clerks working on the case, and that it should be coming down any day now.


Which suits Santamaria's attorney just fine. His name's David Hinojosa, and he's the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund attorney who filed the suit in April. In his opening arguments, he accused the school and DISD of crosing the line "with their attempts to segregate white children into separate classes, with their attempts to attract white students and ultimately with their attempts to halt white flight in violation of the law." And he wants someone held accountable, sooner than later.


Says Hinojosa: "Your guess is as good as mine" as to when Lindsay will rule. "It's a very important case. For whatever reason, it's taking a long time. Maybe it's the Preston Hollow neighborhood itself, but I think it went very well for the plaintiffs in the case. We provided a slew of evidence of the intentional discriminatory acts by the principal. There were teachers who testified regarding the classes reserved for the neighborhood children. There was credible evidence concerning the Latino and African-American kids benig places in ESL classes even though they weren't English-learners. They had ony three witnesses: the principal; a Latino parent, of course; and a LULAC person who really had nothing to offer in the case."


Developing. Slowly. --Robert Wilonsky



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