Minority parents sue over racial quotas at magnet schools

Seven black and Hispanic families are challenging race-based student quotas at city magnet schools by filing a civil rights lawsuit against Connecticut and Hartford officials.

The families filed the lawsuit in federal court Thursday saying hundreds of student seats in the 21 magnet schools are unfilled because too few white children are enrolled. The schools are limited to 75 percent minority student enrollment under a landmark school desegregation case.

Magnet schools are public schools with specialized courses.

The families say their children have not been able to get into the schools under a lottery system and have been forced to attend lower-performing, more segregated schools.

State and city officials declined to comment. They say they hadn't seen the lawsuit and generally do not discuss pending litigation.