NAACP chapter drops bias charge Group had accused school system HARFORD COUNTY

December 20, 1992|By Sherrie Ruhl | Sherrie Ruhl,Staff Writer

Harford's NAACP chapter, which had condemned what it called a pattern of discrimination in the county's school system, withdrew that charge last week.

After a brief discussion, the county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People voted unanimously Thursday night to send a letter to Superintendent Ray R. Keech absolving the school system.

In May, the county NAACP chapter charged that Harford's school system discriminated against minorities in hiring and promotions and asked the state school superintendent to investigate.

But last week, Edward P. Jackson, chairman of the local NAACP's education committee, said he found no evidence that the school system discriminated against blacks.

Joseph Bond, president of the chapter, said the organization would keep monitoring the schools.

"This is not a dead issue. We still have people coming to us complaining about promotions," Mr. Bond said. "The school system's numbers today look good. They do not show any disparate treatment."

That conclusion came as no surprise to school board members George Lisby and Percy Williams. Both men, who are black and members of the NAACP, have insisted that the school system treats everyone equally.

"When they looked at the facts, they could see no evidence of discrimination," Mr. Williams said after the meeting, which was attended by about 20 people. "We have been diligent to make sure everyone has an equal opportunity, and we will continue to do that."

The NAACP's May letter listed 22 complaints against the school system, including charges that it "blackballed" minorities to limit promotions.

State school Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick referred the matter to the local school board.

Mr. Keech issued a 12-page report in August detailing the school 0system's treatment of minorities, including hiring and promotion figures. The school system and the local chapter of the NAACP have had at least two closed-door meetings since May.

"I'm satisfied that the school system is doing what they say they are doing and that they gave us a good overview of the system," Mr. Jackson said.

The local NAACP members have asked the school system to provide annually more detailed statistical information in 13 areas. For example, the local NAACP members want to know how many minority teachers receive "outstanding achievement" awards.

Mr. Jackson also recommended to the NAACP that more members get involved in mentoring young black males.

About 5 percent of the county's 2,029 teachers and about 10 percent of its 34,000 students are minorities, said Albert F. Seymour, school system spokesman.

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