The Webster Parish School Board may ask the courts to lift the desegregation order in place since the 1970s case Blaine Gilbert v. Webster Parish School Board.
Unitary status is usually granted when a district has evolved past racial disparities and future equality is assured. District officials would have to prove equality in a number of factors like facilities, transportation, and admittance to extracurricular activities. However, NAACP speakers at the Minden Civic Center public forum say a number of inequalities still exist- most notably with regards to teacher ratios.
"A black child has just as much right to see a black teacher as a white child has to see a white teacher," says NAACP Minden chapter vice president Samuel Mims.
Mims says the courts require Webster Parish to have a teaching staff that is 36% African American, yet the actual total is only 17%.
"When you have that kind of racial difference, what that says to me is that you're not making the kind of effort you ought to be making in order to achieve what the court order has directed you to achieve," Mims says.
NAACP chapter president Kenneth Wallace says he has heard that the school system has trouble hiring qualified black teachers, but he doesn't believe they're making enough effort to hire or retain the appropriate ratio.
"We don't buy that," Wallace says.
Calls to the school board were not answered because the office was closed Monday for President's Day.
The board meets again Monday, March 11.