Hazelwood School District et al.
United States
Supreme Court of the United States
Argued April 27, 1977
Decided June 27, 1977

This court case was brought before the Supreme Court after the District Court found that Hazelwood School district had no “pattern of practice” when hiring new teachers. However, the government stated that this school district had 4 patterns when hiring new teachers:
  1. 1. A history of alleged racially discriminatory practices,
  2. 2. Statistical disparities In hiring
  3. 3. The standard less and largely subjective hiring procedures
  4. 4. Specific instances of alleged discrimination against 55 unsuccessful Negro applicants for teaching jobs
The government had very strong statistical data to defend their allegations against Hazelwood, and appealed the case all the way to the Supreme Court. Another piece of evidence used against Hazelwood was they often recruited new teachers through colleges and universities; however, they did not send staff for recruitment to the predominantly black colleges found in the area.

Decision & Rationale:
In an 8 to 1 vote, the District Court found in favor of Hazelwood School District. The Court of Appeals found that the United States provided proof of discrimination through the many examples presented to the court, pointing out that the racial background of teachers should be compared to the racial background of the local labor market, as opposed to the racial makeup of the student body. The Supreme Court’s decision, however, was that while the Court of Appeals had pointed out the more appropriate comparison, they had totally disregarded the idea that the school district may have been merely habit or “practice”, something set in motion prior to Title VII. The school district, then, has the right to prove this. The Supreme Court sent the case back to District Court, for further proof and processing.

Implication for Teaching:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act forbids the discrimination against blacks and women in the workplace. It’s important, that, when hiring for a teacher position, the best candidate is chosen based on their credentials, not on their race or gender. It’s important that a variety of genders, races and ethnic backgrounds are represented in the school staff; students need someone they can identify with. Some students feel more comfortable openly communicating with someone like themselves; whether the similarity be gender or race.

Quiz Question:
What is the Title and Act that forbids discrimination against blacks and women in the workplace?
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act