Man behind lawsuit against Orange schools claims promises were broken



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9 talked to the man behind a lawsuit against Orange County Public Schools that claims it broke promises made to the African American community.

The new lawsuit stems from a desegregation lawsuit filed in the 1960s. That lawsuit wasn't dismissed until 2010 and at the time, the school district laid out plans and promises that the new lawsuit claims weren't fulfilled.

For generations, Syryal Kinsler's family has fought for Orange County's African American community. The latest lawsuit was prompted by the closing of Richmond Heights Elementary School.

"We talked to the different parents and the kids and most of them were shocked and amazed that school was being closed," Kinsler said.

According to Kinsler, the district broke a settlement agreement that included a promise not just to keep Richmond Heights Elementary open, but to refurbish it.

School district leaders said technically the school is staying open. They are turning it into a pre-kindergarten center, but Kinsler's attorney said that wasn't the deal.

"Promises were made during the civil rights movement when there was a crisis. Now that the crisis has passed, some of the commitments that were made are being forgotten. Promises are being broken," said attorney Jerry Girley.

Eyewitness News contacted school district officials, but they couldn't comment because it is pending litigation.