School district settles civil rights era segregation lawsuit; agrees to hire a more racially diverse workforce

July 2, 2012

Nearly 50 years after a segregation lawsuit was filed, an Alabama school district has agreed to hire more non-whites.

The Fort Payne City school district in Fort Payne, AL, reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice requiring it to hire a more diverse workforce of teachers, administrators and general staff, according to Reuters.

Filed in a federal district court in Birmingham, the agreement is part of a statewide lawsuit, Lee v. Macon County Board of Education, filed in 1963 during the height of civil rights protests over segregation of blacks and whites.

The lawsuit is one of hundreds of desegregation cases in school districts across the country that remain open.

The lawsuit is one of hundreds of open desegregation cases in school districts across the country, Justice Department officials said.

The Fort Payne school district was ordered decades ago to enact a desegregation plan but was put on an inactive list in 1974 after it was found to be in compliance with the law, according to Reuters.

In 2006, the Justice Department found the district had fallen short of its diversity hiring requirements.

The school employed no black administrators and four black teachers out of 199 for approximately 3,100 students, of which 116 are black, according to the district's enrollment and staff information for 2011-12.

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It’s 2012. What do you think about school districts that still cannot or will not meet diversity mandates in their hiring practices?

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