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Justice Department Settles with Georgia School District to Ensure Desegregation of Its Faculty and Staff

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice announced today that it has entered into a settlement agreement with the Valdosta City Schools in Georgia to ensure that the school district complies with its obligations to recruit, hire and assign faculty and staff in a nondiscriminatory way in furtherance of its obligations to desegregate its schools.

The consent order, if approved by the court, would modify and extend the terms of a 2008 court order, which required the district, among other things, to eliminate racial disparities in how teachers and staff were assigned to the district’s schools and to engage in efforts to recruit African-American personnel.  The Justice Department determined that, although the district had made significant progress in desegregating its faculty and certified staff, it failed to meet fully the goals established in the earlier order and remained in violation of several terms of that order.   The agreement requires the district to take additional steps to address and correct the remaining violations, including revising its procedures for hiring and conducting reductions in force, and desegregating the faculty at one of the district’s two middle schools by the start of the 2012-2013 school year.

“We applaud the Valdosta City Schools for agreeing to take prompt voluntary corrective actions to ensure that it fully meets its desegregation obligations by the start of the next school year,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.   “The Civil Rights Division will continue to work to ensure that Valdosta and all school districts under federal desegregation orders fully eliminate the vestiges of segregation in their schools, including in the hiring and assignment of their faculty and staff.”

The United States will continue to monitor and enforce the court’s order over the next two years.

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