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U.S. District Judge John T. Curtin today gave city school officials until Oct. 15 to submit papers in response to a lawsuit filed by a white couple that claims the district's admissions policy at City Honors amounts to reverse discrimination.

Curtin, in a brief hearing today, rejected a request by the plaintiffs' attorney to immediately admit the sixth-grade pupil in question, a white child who the plaintiffs maintain was bypassed in favor of minorities with lower test scores.

But by scheduling a hearing for Oct. 15, the judge indicated he wants to rule soon.

"We're pleased there's such an expedited time frame," said Paul Weiss, attorney for the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, contends the district is no longer permitted to use racial quotas in assigning students to City Honors because entrance to the school is based on academic qualifications.

The suit represents the first legal challenge to the district's widespread use of race-conscious admission policies since Curtin issued a final ruling in the school desegregation case last October.

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