KEYES v. SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1
Petitioners proved that for nearly ten years since 1960 the Denver, Colorado school system implemented an unconstitutional policy of racial discrimination by operating a segregated school system. The defense argued, and the District Court held, that even though one part of the Denver system was guilty of segregation, it did not follow that the entire system was segregated as well.
Did the segregation in Denver involve all of the city's schools and violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
Legal provision: Equal Protection
The Court modified and remanded the lower court decision and held that when part of a school system is found to be segregated, a "prima facie case of unlawful [systematic] segregative design" becomes apparent. The school district involved assumes the burden of proving that it operated without "segregative intent" on a system-wide basis. This case is significant because it represents one of the first instances in which the Court identified segregation in northern schools.