De Soto Parish NAACP accuses school district of racially biased hiring and personnel practices

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MANSFIELD, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The De Soto Parish branch of the NAACP is threatening to take action against the De Soto Parish School District if it does not take steps to address allegations of racially biased hiring and personnel practices.

Representatives of the parish chapter of the NAACP addressed the DeSoto parish school board at Thursday’s meeting, days after sending a letter to superintendent Clay Corley about issues brought to their attention by teachers, staff, and parents.

“For the past three decades, dating back to the 90s, we have had many complaints of discriminatory hiring and promotion practices,” De Soto NAACP Executive Board Member Demetris Carter Drain told the board. “The fact that, in 2021, that we still have the same grievances is indicative that there is a systemic issue here.”

Some of the allegations include minority teachers allegedly not being promoted, being reprimanded for things other teachers are not reprimanded for, being removed from positions with no good reason. They also claim minority teachers are retaliated against when they try to complain.

The De Soto Parish NAACP also says there is a low number of African American teachers compared to white teachers in some DeSoto schools, claiming two there are no African American teachers in two of the district’s schools.

“We did speak with them on several occasions and, some of the same standard answers. ‘We’re working on it,’ ‘We do the best for our kids,’ and, ‘our hiring practices,’ and those kinds of things,” De Soto Parish NAACP President Thomas Jones said. “But what we’re seeing right now is that they’re continuing to leave.”

Jones says if the school district does not address the issues by coming up with a plan of action to address and rectify the problem within the next 30 days, further action will be taken against the school district.

School superintendent Clay Corley says he has been in communication with them over the past three years since he has been in the position. He also said he is not happy with the hiring process but that all school districts are having trouble recruiting teachers. He said his door is always open.

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