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Lawrence schools making progress toward desegregation

By Nancy Glasscock
nglasscock@decaturdaily.com ∑ 340-2443

MOULTON — The Lawrence County school system is continuing to make progress toward achieving federal desegregation guidelines, said the school systemís attorney, Jerome Thompson.

Since March, six of the countyís 13 schools have shown progress in meeting the guidelines, while five schools are on target, one hasnít shown progress and another is out of compliance.

Lawrence County is one of three local systems, including Decatur and Limestone County, under orders to further reduce racial inequality in schools.

The order applies to hardship transfers, student diversity and more, but the school board has chosen to tackle its hiring practices first.

The court order requires the system to have the same percentage of black teachers at each school as the overall percentage of black residents in the county. The court allows a leeway of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Thompson presented statistics showing the percentage of black employees hired at each school since March at Mondayís Lawrence County Board of Education meeting. Ideally, 7.1 percent to 17.1 percent of a schoolís certified employees are black, based on the Singleton Standards for school desegregation, Thompson said.

The standards stem from the Singleton v. Jackson cases of 1965-66, when a judge ruled that school boards had a duty to integrate, not merely to stop segregating.

Six of Lawrence Countyís 13 schools — Moulton Elementary, Moulton Middle, Mount Hope, R.A. Hubbard, Speake and Hatton High — are progressing. East Lawrence Elementary, East Lawrence Middle, East Lawrence High, Hazlewood Elementary and Lawrence County High are on target.

Hatton Elementary shows no progress, and Hazlewood High is out of compliance. Hazlewood lost teacher units, which adversely affected its ratio, Thompson said.

No new hires have been made at Hatton Elementary since March, and no available positions at the school have been posted.

Thompson said statistics compiled at the Lawrence County central office show the following changes in the number of black employees at each school since March:

  • East Lawrence Elementary, 13.51 percent to 14.29 percent.

  • East Lawrence Middle, 8.28 percent to 11.42 percent.

  • East Lawrence High, 9.60 percent to 12.12 percent.

  • Hatton Elementary, no African-American employees since March.

  • Hatton High, from no African-American employees to 4.76 percent.

  • Hazlewood Elementary, 9.64 percent to 11.11 percent.

  • Hazlewood High, 23.53 percent to 27.78 percent.

  • Lawrence County High, 7.45 percent to 7.50 percent.

  • Moulton Elementary, 4.55 percent to 6.52 percent.

  • Moulton Middle, 6.06 percent to 6.67 percent.

  • Mount Hope, 4.08 percent to 4.17 percent.

  • R.A. Hubbard, 70.83 percent to 67.86 percent.

  • Speake, 2.42 percent to 5.88 percent.

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