Taylor County school district to hire outside agency to review hiring practices after racial discrimination findings

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 6:51 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Taylor County School District is now hiring an outside law firm to review its hiring process after a report found racial discrimination within its hiring practices.

The report comes after a woman who was denied a job filed a complaint against the district.

A three-person committee found there was no evidence of discrimination in that specific complaint, but it outlines what it calls “systemic racial issues” in the district.

This week Taylor County Schools superintendent, Dr. Danny Glover, took the racial discrimination finding to the school board.

The report detailed irregularities in the hiring process for minority applicants.

One of the committee members says he is glad the district is taking action.

“I am very positive and upbeat that they are taking steps to move forward however I also have concerns that once again there is no responsibility taken,” said Douglas Wallace.

In a statement to WCTV, Superintendent Glover writes “I have not taken these findings lightly and sincerely appreciate the recommendations that were made to ensure that we, as a district, are doing everything we can to establish a more diverse staff.”

Glover also noted that there were more minority employees hired just in the past year than there were in the past.

He adds “that many steps have been taken this year, including appointing a diversity coordinator and working to establish an equity committee. The district is also now working closely with FAMU on recruiting.”

The woman who filed the complaint against the district also provided WCTV with a statement.

Oriel Blalock writes: “Racial inequities remain a contentious issue and are plagued by discrimination, oppression, harassment and a continued fight for equality. Diversity in the workplace has been a significant aspect of this discussion. When an organization aims to improve diversity, equality and inclusion, this commitment must be visible at the most senior levels of management. Diversity attracts diversity. In order to recruit individuals of underrepresented communities, the school district must mandate constructive, targeted outreach.”

Blalock adds: “Until we are willing to abolish certain mechanisms and bring in action programs that are genuinely equal and reasonable, little is going to improve.”We keep saying, ‘Oh, the pipeline is broken,’ but it’s not broken. You’re just looking in one place,' it’s about being deliberate and creating new pipelines. This had to happen, so the conversation could be addressed on a larger scale. We must all do the right thing, even when no one is looking. As evidenced, by the report all of the interviewees acknowledged, there was a lack of diversity, but failed to initiate a plan to remedy the issue. The intent is not to point fingers, but to work together to ensure that present and future employees or applicants are treated equally. Sometimes the aged old “We’ve always done it this way” comes into play. Let’s change that to “What can we do better?” What you do makes a difference, you just have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."

The law firm will present its ideas at the next school board meeting.

“I would love to see an agency come in and they are able to work together and formulate not just a plan to fix this particular situation but a strategic plan that outlines goals and timelines,” said Wallace.

The next Taylor County school board meeting is Tuesday, November 17.

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