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IPFS News Link • Louisiana

How Baton Rouge school plagued by racial tensions and violence drove military veteran...


On May 3, 2013, violence erupted in the hallways of Woodlawn High School.

As many as six separate fights between unruly students broke out that day - part of an annus horribilis that saw 61 arrests made at the racially diverse school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Looking on in despair was Norman Browning, who had recently spent 15 years volunteering as a sports coach at Woodlawn. 

It was to be a pivotal day in the history of the school, the city and, ultimately, America, as it helped drive a seismic split in the community - led by Browning - that has sparked fears over the re-segregation of the nation's schools.

The Louisiana Supreme Court last week ruled that the new city of St George could move forward with incorporation, splitting wealthy white residents from the poorer black residents of East Baton Rouge.

It has been hailed by supporters as a final victory in a ten-year campaign to take back control of the area's 'failing' education system.

But opponents have slammed it as a 'racist secession', arguing it will create a 'white enclave' and leave struggling black communities behind.

Today, can reveal how the split was sparked by Browning's time at Woodlawn High, a school that became the lightning rod for a community riven by racial tensions.

The military veteran and father-of-three is a born and bred Baton Rouger.