FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MONDAY, JANUARY 9, 1994

CR (202) 616-2765 TDD (202) 514-1888

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT RESOLVES FINAL OBSTACLE IN EFFORT TO END ALLEGED RACIALLY HOSTILE ATMOSPHERE IN ALABAMA SCHOOL DISTRICT WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Following last month's comprehensive agreement to end alleged discriminatory policies, an Alabama school district today agreed to reassign a high school principal who allegedly threatened to cancel a prom if an interracial couple planned to attend and called a bi-racial student a "mistake," the Justice Department announced today. The agreement, filed today in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, forbids Hulond Humphries, the former principal of Randolph County High School, from visiting any of the campuses within the school district during regular school hours until at least July 1997. Humphries will be permitted to attend scheduled functions open to the general public. Under the agreement, Humphries will serve as consultant to and be directly supervised by the Randolph County School Board. "Last month's comprehensive agreement got us over many of the hurdles that stood in the way of restoring racial co-existence and harmony within the Randolph County School District," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick. "We are not in the business of managing school districts, but we have a clear responsibility to ensure that existing barriers to equality of educational opportunities are eradicated. Today's agreement accomplishes that objective." On December 12, the Randolph County School District, a group of African American county residents, and the U.S. Justice Department reached an agreement requiring the school district to create a nondiscriminatory disciplinary policy, establish a committee to enforce nondiscriminatory personnel guidelines, ensure that minority students are not unfairly steered toward less academically challenging programs or deterred from certain extra-curricular activities, and form a bi-racial committee to oversee implementation of the agreement. The December agreement resolved all points of contention between the parties except for the disposition of Mr. Humphries. Today's agreement averts a hearing that was scheduled for tomorrow which would have addressed the issue of the principal, who was temporarily reassigned by the school district last August. The Justice Department became actively involved in the case in May 1994, after investigating complaints from county residents and community organizations complaining about the school district's discriminatory practices. In papers filed with the court at the time, the Justice Department alleged that the school district violated two existing court orders by disciplining black students more harshly than whites and failing to recruit or hire black teachers and staff. The Justice Department's action followed reports that Principal Humphries made discriminatory remarks and told a school assembly that he would call off the prom if an interracial couple planned to attend. In May, the Justice Department asked the court to force the

school board to implement a nondiscriminatory hiring procedure, establish a fair and impartial disciplinary code for students and explain why the principal should not be reassigned to duties that did not involving contact with students. Last August, Randolph County High School burned down. Federal investigators have ruled out every cause but arson and are still investigating the fire. # # # 95-016