466 F.2d 1378 (5th Cir. 1972), 72-1656, Lee v. Roanoke City Bd. of Ed.

Docket Nº:72-1656.
Citation:466 F.2d 1378
Party Name:Anthony T. LEE et al., Plaintiffs, United States of America, Intervenor and Amicus Curiae, v. ROANOKE CITY BOARD OF EDUCATION et al., Defendants-Appellees. National Education Association, Inc., Intervenor-Appellant,
Case Date:June 28, 1972
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 1378

466 F.2d 1378 (5th Cir. 1972)

Anthony T. LEE et al., Plaintiffs, United States of America, Intervenor and Amicus Curiae,

National Education Association, Inc., Intervenor-Appellant,

v.

ROANOKE CITY BOARD OF EDUCATION et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 72-1656.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

June 28, 1972

Page 1379

Solomon S. Seay, Jr., Montgomery, Ala., for National Education Ass'n, Inc.

David L. Norman, Asst. U.S. Atty. Gen., Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Div., Washington, D.C., Ira DeMent, U.S. Atty., Montgomery, Ala., for the United States.

Lewis H. Hammer, Jr., Roanoke, Ala., for Roanoke City Board of Education, and others.

Before WISDOM, COLEMAN and SIMPSON, Circuit Judges.

WISDOM, Circuit Judge:

This case involves the rights of a tenured teacher displaced from her job by the court-ordered closing of a black school. We hold that the teacher, Mrs. Attrie Henderson, was protected by Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District, 5 Cir. 1969, 419 F.2d 1211, and by the district court order from "demotion" to non-tenured status. Accordingly, the Roanoke City Board of Education may dismiss her only in accordance with the procedures of Alabama law applicable to tenured teachers.

For more than fifty years, the Randolph County school system and the Roanoke City school system, Randolph County, Alabama, operated as separate entities. The Randolph County Board of Education operated a number of schools throughout the county including County Training, an all-black school within the City of Roanoke. The Roanoke City Board of Education operated one high school and one elementary school within the city limits. On June 16, 1970, a three-judge District Court for the Middle District of Alabama ordered County Training closed as part of a comprehensive desegregation order. See Lee v. Macon County Bd. of Education, M.D. Ala. 1970, 317 F.Supp. 95. The Randolph County Board of Education sent letters to all teachers at County Training advising them that the school would be closed and that they would not be rehired.

On June 18, 1970, the National Education Association asked for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the Randolph County Board to prevent the Board from cancelling these teachers' contracts. The district court, on June 23, 1970, granted a temporary restraining order and required the Randolph County Board to file with the court objective and reasonable non-discriminatory criteria to be used in hiring, dismissing, transferring, or demoting faculty and staff members. 1 The County Board filed its response, and on July 30, 1970, District Judge Frank M. Johnson entered an order requiring the City and County Boards (see footnote 1) to absorb the teachers displaced as a result of the closing of County Training, requiring the Roanoke City Board of Education to give priority to the displaced black teachers, and incorporating the Singleton requirements on

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desegregation of faculty and staff. See 419 F.2d 1211, 1217-1218.

Mrs. Attrie Henderson, one of the black teachers displaced by the closing of County Training, had been employed by the County Board as a teacher for thirty-one years and had taught at County Training for twenty years. She was a tenured teacher. 2 On June 17, 1970, she signed a contract with the Roanoke City Board of Education to teach in the City system for the 1970-71 school term. At the end of that term, the City Board would not renew her contract. Alabama law provides a comprehensive scheme governing the rights of tenured teachers, including the procedure to be used for dismissal of a tenured teacher. See Ala.Code, Title 52, § 351 et seq. 3 Mrs. Henderson was not

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accorded the statutory procedural rights due a tenured teacher.

On November 23, 1971, the National Education Association filed a motion for supplemental relief alleging that Mrs. Henderson was dismissed contrary to the procedural requirements of Alabama law and asking that she be reinstated, awarded back pay, and given tenure rights. The N.E.A. contended that, when Mrs. Henderson was employed by the Roanoke City school system after the court-ordered closing of County Training, she retained her tenured status. The City Board contended that the dismissal was proper on the ground that Mrs. Henderson lost her tenured status when she "voluntarily" sought employment with the Roanoke City school system. On February 18, 1972, District Judge Robert Varner granted the Board's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's request for relief, holding that "tenure was terminated with the Randolph County Training School and that one year's service with the Roanoke City School System did not reinstate her to tenure rights."

In Singleton v. Jackson Municipal Separate School District, supra, this Court, sitting en banc, ordered non-discriminatory treatment of faculty and staff during the desegregation process:

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