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By: Evan Engering

The plaintiffs contend that segregated public schools are not “equal” and cannot be made “equal,” and that hence they are deprived of the equal protection of the laws. [1]

These words, first argued by the legal team of Oliver L. Brown sixty years ago last December and reargued sixty years ago this December, were the central argument in the consolidated landmark US Supreme Court case, Brown v. Education Board of Topeka. The court case, a constitutional challenge to the concept of “separate but equal” established in the 1896 Supreme Court decision Plessy v. Ferguson, was a major victory for the civil rights movement in America, as it spelled out the end of segregated school systems, allowing children of all races the chance to integrate and learn together in the same public school system.

elem school
As the sixtieth anniversary of the arguing of the case passes by without much reverence, I am reminded of our own segregated public school system in Ontario. In a meeting of the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation, participating delegates voted to adopt a policy resolution calling for a single, secular public school system in the province.[2]

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