803 F.2d 961 (8th Cir. 1986), 86-1035, Nelson v. Pulaski County Special School Dist.

Docket Nº:86-1035.
Citation:803 F.2d 961
Party Name:Charles R. NELSON, Appellant, v. PULASKI COUNTY SPECIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT; Tom Hardin, Individually and as Superintendent of the Pulaski County Special School District; Bob Moore, Shirley Lowery, Bob Stender, Sheryl Dunn, David Sain and Don Hindman, Individually and as Members of the Board of Directors of the Pulaski County Special School District, A
Case Date:October 24, 1986
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 961

803 F.2d 961 (8th Cir. 1986)

Charles R. NELSON, Appellant,

v.

PULASKI COUNTY SPECIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT; Tom Hardin,

Individually and as Superintendent of the Pulaski County

Special School District; Bob Moore, Shirley Lowery, Bob

Stender, Sheryl Dunn, David Sain and Don Hindman,

Individually and as Members of the Board of Directors of the

Pulaski County Special School District, Appellees.

No. 86-1035.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

October 24, 1986

Submitted Sept. 12, 1986.

Page 962

Richard W. Roachell, Little Rock, Ark., for appellant.

Bruce R. Lindsey, Little Rock, Ark., for appellees.

Before JOHN R. GIBSON, Circuit Judge, BRIGHT, Senior Circuit Judge, and FAGG, Circuit Judge.

FAGG, Circuit Judge.

Charles R. Nelson appeals the judgment of the district court dismissing his complaint, in which he asserts he was denied a head teacher position in the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD) because of his race. He argues the district court's finding that the school district had legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for its employment decision is clearly erroneous. He also argues the court held him to an improper burden of proof and committed reversible error in resolving several evidentiary questions. We affirm.

Nelson, a black male, and Barbara Thomas, a white female, both experienced teachers of disabled and mentally retarded children, were assigned to the PCSSD special education unit for the school year 1980-81. PCSSD decided for that year to designate from among its special education staff a "head teacher" to serve as a liaison and represent the distinct needs of special education students to the principal of the school in which the special education unit was to be housed. Nelson and Thomas applied for the position.

A two-person selection committee, comprised of PCSSD's director of special education and director of elementary education (both white), interviewed Thomas and Nelson and recommended Thomas as head teacher. When this appointment ultimately was approved, Nelson filed this suit claiming discrimination.

The district court determined PCSSD selected Thomas for legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons. PCSSD, the court found, relied on Thomas' prior experience as a head teacher, her higher evaluations on overall teaching skills, and her flexibility and superior grasp of the...

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