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School officials writing response to NAACP discrimination charges


Harford school officials will respond in writing to the county NAACP's charges that the school system discriminates against minorities in hiring and promotions, the superintendent said.

The school system will prepare its response before the next NAACP monthly meeting, Aug. 27, Superintendent Ray R. Keech said in a statement Friday.

The announcement came after a closed 3 1/2 -hour meeting Thursday night between Mr. Keech and other school administrators and members of the NAACP, including Joseph Bond, president of the Harford County chapter.

Both sides refused to comment on the first official meeting between the two sides since late May, when Mr. Bond sent a letter to the state superintendent of schools, Nancy S. Grasmick. The letter, which listed 22 complaints, charged the county's school system discriminates against minorities in hiring and promotions and asked Ms. Grasmick to investigate.

Ms. Grasmick has received the NAACP letter and is developing a response, said Ron Peiffer, a spokesman.

In its letter, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People charged "continuous slow movement 'up the ladder' of minority" employees and criticized the school system for what it called "slow or non-recognition of the achievements and the educational preparation" of minorities.

The NAACP also claimed that minority students were disciplined differently than white students, that few minority students were in advanced-placement classes and that textbooks exclude or limit minority contributions.

But Mr. Bond, in an interview last month, refused to provide specifics documenting the charges, saying he would await the meeting with Mr. Keech.

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

In a previous interview, Mr. Keech denied that the school system discriminates and said he has asked Mr. Bond and other NAACP members to tell the school system what it can do to attract more minorities.

The school system issued a press release Friday morning quoting Mr. Keech as saying Thursday night's meeting "opened avenues for communication" between the two sides.

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