OAKLAND (KRON) – The Justice for Oakland Students coalition filed a lawsuit in Alameda County District Court against the school district for deciding to close schools.

The group filed it saying the district violated the California Environmental Quality Act.

The coalition is a multiracial group of students, parents and educators working to increase equity for low income students of color in Oakland. 

For months, families have been protesting the Oakland Unified School District’s decision to close seven schools, merge two others and eliminate grades two middle schools within the next two school years.

Yesterday’s filing aims to prevent it from happening.

Justice for Oakland Students alleges that OUSD failed to perform the required environmental analysis to determine whether closing schools would worsen environmental harms to low-income Black and brown communities.

The coalition wrote in its petition that the closures will significantly affect the environment for kids, as many used to walk or bike to their neighborhood schools and now will be forced to commute to a more distant school, often by car. 

The coalition argues the increased miles families will be driving will negatively impact the environment with air quality and green house gas emissions.

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Another complaint was also filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the coalition in April, saying the closures violate Black students’ fundamental right to equal education.