Image copyright Getty Images Image caption One group was disqualified on the basis of not being racially segregated
Facing a lawsuit claiming racially discriminatory effects, Louisiana’s Governor Robert Livingston has lifted the state’s 80-year-old ban on white students wearing “dark suits” inside public schools.
White students could be banned from wearing the get-up at public school unless they were permitted by the principal and school board.
Louisiana’s chapter of the NAACP called the ban, put in place in the 1950s, a vestige of Jim Crow segregation laws.
The new law means that all student can wear masks in school, but not in most classes.
In a statement, Governor Livingston explained that the ban was “discriminatory and outdated”, adding that he had also approved a law that reverses a similar board policy that banned students from dressing up as period characters in a new book.
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption In the 1930s and 40s, black people were prohibited from wearing white suits in public
This legislation, written by Governor Livingston’s daughter, is now just one month old. The original ban from the 1950s was due to come up for review again in 2017.
Political intrigue is said to have played a role in a 1975 lawsuit by the NAACP against the state. They claimed that since the students wearing the get-up outside was not racially segregated, it could affect the school’s performance, possibly jeopardising the school’s accreditation.
Image copyright PA Image caption Top of the First class 2017 class of students at the Riverdale Independent School District in eastern Louisiana
School boards will have the final say on whether a white student can wear the get-up in a classroom and administrators can deny a child permission to do so.
In 2017, the ACLU of Louisiana sued the Jefferson Parish school district in Louisiana and made the argument that segregation was a violation of US and state constitutional rights and could be returning to US classrooms.
It was noted that nearly all schools were segregated in Louisiana in the 1950s, and until now, was the only state in the country to effectively ban students from wearing the face-covering face mask.
Image copyright Google Images Image caption The “dark suit” ban was originally put in place in the 1950s