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SEALY v. DEPARTMENT OF PUB. INSTRUCTION OF PENNSYL

August 28, 1957

John A. SEALY, Jr. and Marva Sealy, minors by their Guardians, John A. Sealy and Pleasant E. Sealy, h/w; and John A. Sealy and Pleasant E. Sealy, h/w, in their own right et al.
v.
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION OF PENNSYLVANIA, Dr. Charles H. Boehm, Supt. of Public Instruction et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GANEY

Upon the hearing in the application for the injunction, the Court makes the following

 1. Delaware County is divided into 49 political subdivisions of various sizes and classifications.

 2. The Township of Darby, originally consisting of a substantially larger area than presently, was incorporated in the year 1683. The Borough of Darby was incorporated out of the Township of Darby in 1853, and the Borough of Colwyn in 1892, and, likewise, the Borough of Folcroft in 1922. The Borough of Collingdale was incorporated out of the Borough of Darby in 1891, and Sharon Hill out of the same Borough in 1890, and the Boroughs of Darby, Collingdale, Sharon Hill, Colwyn and Folcroft became independent school districts.

 3. As a result of the formation of the above named Boroughs, the Township and School District of Darby, as now geographically constituted in two non-contiguous sections, have been in existence since 1890, the upper section thereof comprising Wards 3, 4 and 5 is separated from the lower section thereof, comprising Wards 1 and 2, by the Boroughs of Collingdale, Sharon Hill and Folcroft.

 4. The 1950 census for Darby Township indicated that 89 3/10 percent of the population living in the lower section thereof, or Wards 1 and 2, were of the Negro race, and that 47 3/10 percent of the population in the upper section thereof, or Wards 3, 4 and 5, were of the Negro race.

 5. The 1956 school census for Darby Township, however, showed a shift in the racial difference, which indicated that the upper section comprising Wards 3, 4 and 5 had only a Negro school population of 4 7/10 percent, and that the Negro school population of the lower section comprising Wards 1 and 2 would be 95 6/10 percent.

 6. In this same 1956 census, the school population of the upper section of Darby Township for children up to 17 years of age totaled 3,641, of whom 172 were of the Negro race. However, there were only 1,480 attending public schools by virtue of the fact that the Catholic Parochial School took 59 2/10 percent of the school population of 2,161 pupils, 2,153 of whom were white and eight of whom were Negro.

 7. In the lower section of Darby Township, the school population as of 1956 and 1,335, 1,280 or 95 9/10 percent of whom were Negro, attending the public schools and 72 were attending Parochial School, 53 of whom were Negro and 19 of whom were white. This leaves 1,480 public school students in the upper section as opposed to 1,263 public school students in the lower section.

 8. On September 11, 1952, the defendant, School District of the Township of Darby, by formal action of the Board of Directors -- all of the members of the Board present being of the Negro race -- determined that a section of a plot of land already acquired at Ashland and Bartram Avenues in what has been described as the upper section of Darby Township School District comprising Wards 3, 4 and 5 be reserved for a site for a possible future junior high school.

 9. A great many factors were considered by the Board in the determination of the site for the junior high school to be located in the upper section of the Township -- the influx of population of school age; requirements for junior high school facilities; the census for 1953 which showed a population of 8,608 for the whole of Darby Township with 5,439 settled in the upper or northern section in Wards 3, 4 and 5 and 3,170 in the southern section, or Wards 1 and 2; the report on where the school population for a junior high school was presently located and where the projected school population for 1959 and 1960 would be located, as well as a consideration of the fact that representatives of civic associations had been called to meetings for the purpose of discussing the location of the proposed site; and the further fact that while a large number of the school population was attending Catholic Parochial School, it was thought that with the erection of a fine, new building with modern facilities, that a number of pupils would return to the public school system and enter the junior high school, or at least provision should be made for such eventuality.

 10. The record discloses in no instance a single iota of testimony that the consideration of the Darby Township School District Board, in the selection of the site for the proposed new junior high school and its construction thereon, was motivated by any racial discrimination whatsoever, and the record is equally clear concerning the Department of Public Instruction, State Council of Education and the State Public Building Authority, as well as every other defendant here of record.

 11. The Department of Public Instruction and the State Council of Education exercise broad supervisory powers in a general way, but the actual administration of the school system in Pennsylvania is in the hands of the local school authorities (Art. 5 of the Public School Code of 1949, 24 P.S. § 5-501 et seq.).

 12. The Delaware County Plan, which envisions school administrative units for all of Delaware County, was formulated by the Delaware County School Directors in conjunction with the local school authorities, and was approved by the State Council of Education, and all local school board secretaries were notified by letter dated July 22, 1953.

 13. Under the Plan, Darby Borough and Darby Township are joined as Administrative Unit Number Nine. The Plan provides for two elementary school attendance areas in Darby Township, one in the upper section and one in the lower section and makes all of Darby Township one junior high school attendance area and joins Darby Township with Darby Borough as one single high school attendance area under the Plan.

 14. Administrative Unit Number Five under the Plan embraces Colwyn Borough, Collingdale Borough, Folcroft Borough and Sharon Hill Borough, all contiguous, each to the other, and comprised of a ...


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