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Empower D.C. Faces Judge To Stop D.C. School Closures

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A federal courtroom was jam-packed Friday morning with supporters from Empower D.C., the community group behind a lawsuit asking to halt the planned closure of 15 D.C. public schools.

It took all of five minutes before Judge Boasberg began peppering lawyers for the plaintiffs with questions. When they said children from schools that were closing would be "irreparably harmed," Judge Boasberg looked quizzical.

He said he had done his own research on reading and math scores and found essentially in every case, these students would move to better schools.

When the lawyers said the Chancellor Kaya Henderson's planned closures would disproportionately affect minority children, the Judge Boasberg asked, "Are you saying Kaya Henderson is intentionally discriminating against black and Hispanic kids?"

Dozens of people in the courtroom shouted in unison "yes" before the judge said he would have to clear the room if there was another outburst.

Lawyers for the District of Columbia say closing the schools will improve education for all students. They say they gave proper notice of the closings and responded to citizen concerns.

The judge said he would rule on the issue next week.

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