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Friday, February 13, 2015

Court Approves Consent Order in Alabama Desegregation Case to Improve Faculty Diversity and Ensure Fair and Equitable Student Discipline

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama approved a consent order yesterday afternoon filed by the Justice Department, together with private plaintiffs and the Calhoun County, Alabama, School District, finding that the district has met its desegregation obligations in certain areas and providing for additional, comprehensive relief in the areas of faculty and staff hiring and recruitment as well as student discipline and school climate.

In approving the consent order, which amends a longstanding federal school desegregation decree, the district court declares that the 9,200-student school district has eliminated the vestiges of prior state-mandated segregation in the areas of student assignment, extracurricular activities, school facilities and transportation, thereby ending the court’s supervision in those areas.  The order requires the district to take additional steps to reach full compliance, including adopting measures to promote racial diversity in its faculty and staff, expanding its use of positive behavioral supports and interventions throughout its schools, and revising its student discipline policies and procedures to ensure they are fair, non-discriminatory and limit the use of exclusionary discipline such as suspensions and expulsions.

“We commend the Calhoun County School District for the progress it has made in complying with its desegregation obligations, and for agreeing to take additional steps to reach our mutual goal of ensuring equal educational opportunities for all students,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “We will continue to work closely with the district to implement this agreement and bring this case to a successful conclusion.”

The district may seek full dismissal of the case upon compliance with the terms of the three-year agreement.  The Justice Department will monitor and enforce the district’s compliance with the order.

The enforcement of Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, among other bases, in public schools is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt.

Updated August 26, 2015