Wall v. Stanly County Board of Education

Decision Date16 September 1966
Docket NumberNo. C-140-S-65.,C-140-S-65.
Citation259 F. Supp. 238
CourtU.S. District Court — Middle District of North Carolina
PartiesAudrey Gillis WALL and the North Carolina Teachers Association, a Corporation, Plaintiffs, v. The STANLY COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, Defendant.

J. LeVonne Chambers, Charlotte, N. C., and Conrad O. Pearson, Durham, N. C., for plaintiffs.

Henry C. Doby, Jr., of Patterson & Doby, and Staton P. Williams, Albemarle, N. C., for defendant.

FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND OPINION

GORDON, District Judge.

This action was brought on August 11, 1965, by Audrey Gillis Wall and the North Carolina Teachers Association against the Stanly County Board of Education. The plaintiffs seek, under the provisions of 28 U.S.C.A. § 1343(3) and 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983, the following relief:

(1) a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining the defendant from dismissing, hiring and assigning teachers and other professional school personnel in the Stanly County School System on the basis of race or color;

(2) an order requiring the reinstatement of the individual plaintiff in the same position or one comparable to the position she held during the school year 1964-65, (in accordance with complaint as amended February 10, 1966);

(3) retention of jurisdiction by the Court pending full and complete compliance by the defendant; and

(4) reasonable counsel fees.

The defendant moved to dismiss and for summary judgment on September 3, 1965. The plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction and the defendant's motion to dismiss and for summary judgment were denied by order dated November 9, 1965.

The cause was heard by the Court sitting without a jury on April 27-29, 1966. At the completion of all the evidence, the defendant moved for dismissal of the plaintiffs' action. The Court reserved decision on the motion pending receipt of proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law from counsel for the respective parties.

Having now carefully considered all of counsels' proposals, arguments and contentions, as well as the testimony, stipulations, briefs and exhibits submitted, and the reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, the Court, pursuant to Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, makes its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law.

FINDINGS OF FACT
I. In General

1. The individual plaintiff, Audrey Gillis Wall, is a Negro, and at the time of the institution of this action, a citizen of the State of North Carolina, and a resident of Stanly County, North Carolina.

2. The corporate plaintiff, the North Carolina Teachers Association, is a professional teachers association consisting principally of Negro teachers, including Negro teachers in the Stanly County School System, and will hereafter be referred to as the "Association."

3. The defendant, The Stanly County Board of Education, is an agency of the State of North Carolina charged with the responsibility of maintaining and operating and does maintain and operate a system of public schools in Stanly County, North Carolina, and will hereafter be referred to as the "Board."

4. The Board operates seventeen public schools in Stanly County: fourteen elementary and four high schools, one school being a combined elementary and high school and known as a "union school."

5. In the school year 1963-64 and the years prior thereto, all Negro pupils in the Stanly County School System (hereinafter referred to as the "System") were assigned to Negro schools, and all white students were assigned to white schools.

6. For the school year 1964-65, initial assignment of pupils was made to the schools they had attended in the school year 1963-64 with the proviso that if their parents desired that they attend another school, the parents could make application for such transfer.

7. Little public notice was given by the Board of the aforesaid right of parents to request assignment of their children to schools other than those which they had previously attended. The first and only integration of the Stanly County School System which occurred in school year 1964-65 was upon the transfer of two Negro pupils from Kingsville High School, a Negro school, to North Stanly High School, formerly an all white school.

8. For school year 1964-65, and the years prior thereto, professional personnel within the System were assigned by race. There were no Negro teachers or principals at white or predominantly white schools, and no white teachers and principals at Negro schools.

9. For school year 1964-65, and for the years prior thereto, the allocation of teacher spaces received by the defendant from the State of North Carolina indicated that the Board was authorized a designated number of white teacher spaces and a given number of Negro teacher spaces. The allocation also indicated the specific school to which the spaces were allocated. The allocations were thereupon transmitted to the several principals of schools within the System.

10. Teachers desirous of a position in the System submitted an application for employment to the principal of the school at which they wished to teach. The principal recommended the teachers he wished to employ to the local school committee for his school which committee accepted or rejected the teachers recommended for employment. If the local school committee approved the applicant, the contract was forwarded to the Board for approval or disapproval.

11. A teacher desirous of a position in the System could, rather than utilizing the foregoing procedure, submit an application to the office of the Superintendent of the System for a job in the System for which the applicant might qualify. Such applications were maintained on file in the Superintendent's office, separate files being maintained for white and Negro applicants, and were available for the perusal of the principals at their leisure.

This procedure was utilized less frequently than that in Finding Number Ten, supra.

12. Beginning in 1965, the local school committees were eliminated from any part in teacher selection. Thereafter, the principal alone ruled upon both initial applicants and former teachers at his school who desired to be employed again at the school.

13. A teacher employed at a school in the System did not annually submit an application for employment. If the teacher desired continued employment at that school during the following school year, he would make this fact known to the principal who would recommend to the Board that that teacher be retained on the faculty if the principal judged the teacher fit to teach.

14. For school year 1965-66, the Board adopted a "Plan of Compliance" under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, under which plan pupils were not assigned to a school by race, geographic districts, or past enrollment, but rather were given a "freedom of choice" in the school to attend. The parents of all pupils in the System were required to indicate, in writing, the school which they desired their children to attend during school year 1965-66.

15. The aforesaid "freedom of choice" plan was instituted in the latter part of school year 1964-65. An intensive effort was made to insure that the forms whereon the parents were to indicate the choice of school were returned. Of some seven thousand students in the System, only about fifteen did not, even after personal contact, return the forms indicating choice of school, and these were assigned by the Board to the school nearest their residence. The majority of the pupils for whom no forms were returned were Negro and they were assigned to white schools.

16. As a result of the "freedom of choice" plan, over three hundred Negro pupils who had formerly attended all Negro schools were assigned to formerly white or predominantly white schools for school year 1965-66.

17. A curious practice has arisen in North Carolina whereby in every biennium in which the General Assembly of North Carolina is in session, no allocation of teacher spaces is made by the North Carolina Board of Education to the local school systems until after the General Assembly has adjourned sine die. This practice resulted in the allocation of teacher spaces for school year 1965-66 being received by the Board somewhat later than usual.

18. As the end of school year 1964-65 approached, and inasmuch as the Board had received no allocation of teacher spaces for school year 1965-66, the teachers in the System became apprehensive regarding their employment in the System for the following year. To provide some appearance of security in employment, the several principals were informed by the Board that, although the Board could employ no one until the allocations arrived, any teacher who signified a desire for employment in the school year 1965-66, who was recommended by the school principal, would be promised employment upon the requisite allocations being made.

19. The allocation of teacher spaces for the school year 1965-66 was received from the State of North Carolina on or about June 25, 1965, and for the first time such spaces were allocated to the Board without reference to race, and without designation of the school to which such spaces were to be allocated.

20. When the allocation of teacher spaces was received from the State, the Board applied the formula hereinafter described, and further allocated the available spaces among the schools in the System. Such allocation was determined by a combination of the average daily attendance of each school for the school year 1964-65 as modified by certain other factors, the most important being the number of students who had transferred from one school to another pursuant to the "freedom of choice" plan. After such determination, a form letter was sent by the Board to the several principals setting forth the number of teacher spaces each would have.

21. The shifts in pupil enrollment as a result of the "freedom of choice" plan resulted in a decrease in the allocation of teacher spaces...

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5 cases
  • Kelley v. Altheimer, Arkansas Public School Dist. No. 22
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eighth Circuit
    • May 9, 1967
    ...1965); Smith v. Board of Education of Morrilton Sch. Dist. No. 32, 365 F.2d 770 (8th Cir. 1966). 9 In Wall v. Stanly County Board of Education, 259 F.Supp. 238, 253 (S.D.N.Y. 1966), the Court approvingly quoted the following from Kier et al. v. County School Board of Augusta County, Va., et......
  • Mapp v. BOARD OF EDUCATION OF CITY OF CHATTANOOGA, Civ. A. No. 3564.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Eastern District of Tennessee
    • August 11, 1967
    ...369 F.2d 661; Board of Education of Oklahoma City Public Schools v. Dowell, (C.A.10, 1967) 375 F.2d 158; Wall v. Stanly County Board of Education, (M.D.N.C., 1966) 259 F.Supp. 238 (action by discharged teacher to compel re-employment); Wright v. County School Board of Greensville County, Vi......
  • Wall v. Stanly County Board of Education
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Fourth Circuit
    • May 19, 1967
    ...the court in this case but for his death on March 19, 1967. 2 For a more complete statement of findings, see Wall v. Stanly County Bd. of Educ., 259 F.Supp. 238 (M.D.N.C.1966). 3 Resolution on Teacher Hiring Policies, Stanly County, North Carolina, Board of Education, April 15, ...
  • Horton v. Orange County Board of Education
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    • July 2, 1971
    ...disproportionate decimation in the ranks of Negro teachers, an inference of discrimination is raised. Wall v. Stanly County Board of Education, 259 F.Supp. 238 (M.D.N.C.1966); Chambers v. Hendersonville City Board of Education, 364 F.2d 189 (4th Cir. 1966). But this is not the case here. Du......
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