Archived Story

Plaintiffs, city schools reach agreement

Published 11:00pm Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A group of parents and Troy City Schools have reached a mediated settlement on a pending lawsuit alleging racial discrimination in class selection practices.

The consent agreement, released to the public on Tuesday, resolves the complaint filed August 2013 in U.S. District Court in which a trio of parents said the practice of allowing parents to request child placement in classrooms was intentionally discriminatory.

In signing the consent agreement, the school system agreed to cease the practice of allowing parents to request teachers. The consent agreement did not assign any fault in the district’s administration of the practice.

Superintendent Lee Hicks said he was pleased with the mediation process and the consent agreement. “We’re looking forward to moving ahead,” he said.

The teacher request policy came under fire because plaintiffs said it resulted in the creation of racially segregated classrooms. At the beginning of this school year, nine of 57 classes at Troy Elementary School had only African-American students.

However, the consent agreement specifies that given the racial demographics of the school system – 62 percent of students are African-American – “it is anticipated that notwithstanding the end of parent request forms, TES may have one or more classes which may be exclusively all African-American.”

In addition to ending the practice of parent’s requesting teachers, the agreement also dictates that the school system partner with the Teaching Tolerance program at the Southern Poverty Law Center to “enhance interaction between the races, tolerance, and appreciation of diversity, by providing—at no cost to schools—a variety of multimedia teaching kits, online curricula, professional development resources, and special projects.”

The school system will also provide racial and gender demographics for all K-6 classrooms to the plaintiffs’ attorney at least two weeks before the start of school for the next two academic years. The agreement specifies that the plaintiffs’ attorney will work with the district in a good-faith effort to investigate and resolve any concerns.

The school system will also have to pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees, a total of $10,500.

In a prepared statement, Plaintiffs John F. Johnson and Jessica Berry said they hope the decision will benefit all of Troy’s students: “The settlement reached between the Troy City Board of Education and ourselves in this matter is a positive step towards ensuring that not only our children will have a complete educational experience that is molded by interaction with fellow classmates from all backgrounds and abilities but also that our children’s classmates and students to come will receive those benefits.”

Linda Cottrell, who was an original plaintiff in the suit, was dismissed because she is no longer a resident of the school district.

Troy Councilwoman Dejerilyn King Henderson, who helped bring the case against the school system, said it was important that this issue be settled. “I was compelled to bring the case forward because of the fact that there are children who have no choice in being born, no choice in their educational foundation,” King said. “We need to give these children the opportunity to progress and be successful.”

Henderson said she was happy with the arbitrator’s decision. “I am extremely pleased with the decision,” Henderson said. “Everyone will benefit from this decision. It is a win-win situation. Parents don’t have to wonder about whether or not they will get a certain teacher. There will no longer be any segregation. This automatically desegregates the school.”

Stacy Graning contributed to this story.

  1. Observer

    How does this mean that, ” Parents don’t have to wonder about whether or not they will get a certain teacher.”? Now they won’t be allowed to even request a certain teacher. Now the school will have to devote time and resources to politically correct propaganda to brain-wash the children in the socialist doctrine.

    When the schools teach tolerance, do they teach children to tolerate intolerance? If they don’t, then they will be demonstrating intolerance to intolerance and tolerance only to tolerance.

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  2. OldSchoolPike3Worker

    Can someone please define “diversity” as it is used in this case? Is there data that shows “diversity” actually improves a school’s performance?

    Can someone show me data where dropout rates declined and testing scores improved as a result of The Southern Poverty Law Center coming into a system and instituting this “racial enhancement” program?

    What part of the budget will pay $10,500 in legal fees?

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  3. justicenow

    What a load of crap-

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  4. Observer

    ” There will no longer be any segregation. This automatically desegregates the school.” Dejeryln is about as bright as Obama if she believes this. There may be no segregation but Troy schools will become as diverse as Selma, Montgomery, and Bombingham. If any white students get stuck in a class with a teacher like DJ – it won’t take their parents long to pull out and go to the private school or join the parade going to Zion Chapel from Troy,

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  5. Ty_Webb

    Knowing that these young minds are going to be shaped by the Southern Poverty Law Center makes me feel very good about the future of our public schools. Those “special projects” should be very enlightening!

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  6. Southernboy

    It’s interesting that the Alabama Department of Education was not even mentioned. I guess this means that the Southern Poverty Law Center has more educational experts that know what is best for the students in the classroom.

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  7. Bill_OReally

    “I was compelled to bring the case forward because of the fact that there are children who have no choice in being born…”

    As opposed to, what, all of those children who have a choice in being born? Where did this woman get her college degree? Is she a Troy State grad?

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  8. cj5levi

    I would like to know what budgeted item the TCS paid the money out of also. “The school system will also have to pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees, a total of $10,500.”

    “In addition to ending the practice of parent’s requesting teachers, the agreement also dictates that the school system partner with the Teaching Tolerance program at the Southern Poverty Law Center to “enhance interaction between the races, tolerance, and appreciation of diversity, by providing—at no cost to schools—a variety of multimedia teaching kits, online curricula, professional development resources, and special projects.” Will this truly be NO COST to the School system? What educational program time will this take away from (English, PE, Social Studies, Math, Science, etc)

    Why would the TCS allow a LAW FIRM to come in and teach our children how to be diverse? Is the Southern Poverty Law center diverse and tolerent? Who is going to incur the costs of the materials that they want the children to use? Will TCS have to pay for a LAWYER to come to the school to teach tolerance and diversity to the children and teachers?

    http://www.splcenter.org/what-we-do/teaching-tolerance

    Troy Councilwoman Dejerilyn King Henderson, who helped bring the case against the school system, said it was important that this issue be settled. “I was COMPELLED to bring the case forward because of the fact that there are children who have no choice in being born, no choice in their educational foundation,” King said. “We need to give these children the opportunity to progress and be successful.”

    What does this statement mean? The parent of the children should be involved in their education. You can be born into any social class (economic, race, religious, nationality)and it is the PARENTS commitment to love and care for their child that will guide them on their path through life.

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  9. Braveheart

    Parents do have choices. PLAS, ZC, Goshen, Banks. DJ and others like her are tolerant as long as you are in agreement with them, but only then.

    Children have no choice, but the welfare parents laying around breeding all day can choose to stop having 10 kids that we all have to support. We can spend all the money and teach tolerance all the time, but when the parents are a bunch of lazy bums there isn’t anything we can do. A community or village doesn’t raise kids or teach them how to be good citizens, good parents do.

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  10. Observer

    It is interesting that the article says that the agreement was “released to the public on Tuesday” . There was no mention of the agreement in the Messenger’s report on the School Board’s Monday afternoon meeting. Was the Board involved in the agreement or does it just do whatever Hicks tells them to do?

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  11. wayfaroff

    It still blows my mind that the school system couldn’t see this coming from a mile away with this policy.

    If this about your kids getting a particular teacher because you view them as more well qualified as educators then the obvious solution seems to be to me to press for anyone who is hired to teach across the board to have those qualifications, not to pick and choose only for the sake of your individual child.

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  12. Observer

    Is the brain-washing program only apply to the elementary school or will students throughout the system be subjected to mind-controlling propaganda and indoctrination? How much instructional time will be taken away from the academic program to engage in this practice? Will students be punished if they tell the trainers they are full of crap or refuse to repeat the mantra?

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