W. E. Woolridge et al., v. The Board of Education of the City of Galena, and R. E. Long
98 Kan. 397 (1916)
W. E. WOOLRIDGE et al., Plaintiffs, v. THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE
CITY OF GALENA, and R. E. LONG, as City Superintendent, Defendants.
SYLLABUS BY THE COURT.
View a scanned copy of the Woolridge opinion.
1. SCHOOLS--Separate Schools for Colored Pupils--Findings of Commissioner Appointed to Take Testimony. In an action for a writ of mandamus to compel the superintendent of city schools and the board of education of a city of the second class to admit colored pupils to the grades to which they were assigned at the opening of the term of school, to refrain from requiring such colored pupils to attend a separate school provided for pupils of the colored race, and to refrain from discriminating against such pupils on account of their race or color, it is proper for the commissioner appointed by the court for the purpose of taking testimony and making findings of fact and conclusions of law to make findings of fact showing everything that the superintendent of schools and the board of education did with reference to the schools.
2. SAME. It is not necessary for such a commissioner to make findings of fact on matters entirely outside the issues made by the pleadings.
3. SAME--Separate Schools for Colored Pupils--Unlawful. In a city of the second class neither the superintendent of schools nor the board of education has authority to separate pupils of the negro race from those of the white race on account of race or color.
Original proceeding in mandamus. Opinion fired June 10, 1916. Writ allowed.
S. B. Morgan, of Galena, for the plaintiffs.
William F. Sapp, and A. S. Wilson, both of Galena, for the defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
MARSHALL, J.: In this action the plaintiffs, colored persons, seek to compel the defendants, the superintendent of schools and board of education of the city of Galena, to admit the plaintiffs' children and other pupils of the colored race to the grades to which they were assigned at the opening of the term of school beginning on the sixth day of September, 1915; to refrain from requiring the plaintiffs' children and other pupils of the colored race to attend a separate school provided for pupils of the colored race; and to refrain from discriminating against such pupils on account of their race or color.
The petition in substance alleges that the plaintiffs' children and other pupils of the colored race were separated from the white pupils attending the East Galena school, and were placed in a separate room in the school building and provided with a colored teacher; that this separation was made on account of the color of the plaintiffs' children and other colored pupils attending this school. The defendants denied making this separation on account of color or race. A commissioner was appointed to take the testimony in this case and to make findings of fact and conclusions of law. He made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
"1. That the defendant herein, The City of Galena, Kan., is a city of the second class duly organized under the laws of the state of Kansas, having a population of about 7000 people, and the defendant board of education of said city is a body corporate under the laws of the state of Kansas, relating to cities of the second class, and maintains a system of free graded common schools from the first to the sixth and a high school, to all of which the parents of pupils living within the said city are entitled to send their children without discrimination as to race or color, and that the defendant, R. E. Long, was during all the times herein mentioned the duly elected, qualified and acting superintendent of said city schools.
"2. That G. W. Worthington, Wm. Campbell, V. E. Mitchell, W. L. Rickseeker, and F. H. Tryon are and were at of times herein mentioned the duly elected, acting and qualified members of said board of education, and that G. W. Worthington is the president of said board.
"3. That the said City of Galena did at all times mentioned in the pleadings herein maintain as a part of the public schools of said city what is described in the pleadings and testimony herein, 'The East Galena School.'
"4. That the public schools of said City of Galena opened on or about September 6, 1915, but prior to the opening thereof, and on or about September 4, 1915, the Board of Education required pupils who desired to enter said East Galena School to appear at said East Galena School building for the purpose of registering and being assigned to their respective grades, and on said day assignment was made of the various pupils presenting themselves based on their previous record and standing and without any reference to race or color.
"5. That on September 8, 1915, the pupils were admitted to said East Galena School, in the primary department and in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6, and without any discrimination whatever on account of race or color. That during the first week of said school colored children attended all the grades of said school in numbers about as follows:
"In primary department, 5; first grade, 3; second grade, 5; third grade, 3; fourth grade, 5; fifth grade, 4; and sixth grade, 5; making a total of 30 colored pupils attending said East Galena School.
"6. That the plaintiffs herein together with their children and others whom they represent, herein designated as colored children, belong to the African race, and are for the most part descendants of slaves; and were at all times mentioned herein, and now are residents of the City of Galena, Kan., entitled to all the privileges of the public schools of said City of Galena, without discrimination as to race or color.
"7. I also find that there was enrolled in the various wards of the graded schools about 150 more pupils for 1915 than for 1914, and that the enrollment at the East Galena School was about the same as in 1914, although one grade, the seventh, had been transferred to another building, but just what the comparative attendance was is not shown by the evidence.