Key Coverage

Bridging the Divide
The Struggle to Move Past Segregated Schools

Jeff Sanford went to the debate at the high school cafeteria with an open mind.

The boundary lines for 11 schools in the Catonsville area had to be redrawn to relieve overcrowding. But there was a chance to achieve something more, something that could help improve the lives of all children: integration.

Sanford, an African-American father of two boys, had volunteered to represent Johnnycake Elementary on the boundary committee that would recommend changes to the Baltimore County school board.

In an area where most schools had been segregated for decades, he knew the group might have to confront issues of race and class head on. But as they met for months over the fall of 2015, he was shocked at how quickly the conversation shifted to words that stung: concern about those kids and how they might affect our property values.