United States v. Mississippi (1986)

(1986) In 1983, Cynthia Fletcher filed a lawsuit against the state of Mississippi and the Simpson County School Board. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a black football coach, a black band director, and a black teacher who each claimed the school board and school district officials were being discriminatory in their hiring and firing practices. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (Judge Tom S. Lee, Jr.), found that discrimination did not take place in any of the circumstances. First, the football coach’s claim was that the district had agreed to give him “the first available position as Athletic Director and Head Coach”of his school. In this matter, the court found that the coach was not entitled to the head coaching position of the football team immediately. The school district was not engaging in racial discrimination because the coach held a different head coaching position at the time of the suit. The band director claimed the district was being discriminatory when his contract was not renewed. In this matter, the court found that the district was using an objective measure of performance when it fired the band director. Moreover, four other school employees were fired at the same time, two white and two black. Lastly, the teacher claimed he was owed back pay for being fired. His complaint was that a similar position to his opened at a nearby junior high school, but he was fired rather than being transferred to this new position. The court found that the district was simply being efficient when it filled the position with another worker, and the firing of the teacher was simply due to a need to cut costs, not racism. The case was appealed, but the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that no errors were made in the original judgment.

Sources:

United States v. Mississippi (1986). 641 F.Supp 232.