Judge accuses Huntsville School Board members of interfering with mediation process
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The federal judge overseeing the Huntsville school district’s desegregation case ordered test scores and transfer data for the city’s students be made part of the public case file on Friday, according to our news partners at AL.com.
At a tense court hearing U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala approved the Huntsville district’s motion to file majority-to-minority transfer information at this time, but denied a request to keep it under seal.
Haikala ordered the information to be filed to the court, once student-identifying information is redacted from the files. The district argued that the information should be kept under seal to better protect the students’ information.
Later in the meeting, Haikala took aim at the Huntsville School Board, stating that a proposed “citizens’ workshop” that board member Laurie McCaulley has planned for Monday night at Butler High School to help establish a “template” of community wishes for Superintendent Casey Wardynski to refer to during desegregation negotiations with the Justice Department could cause problems.
Haikala said, “These sorts of conversations at this juncture could cause problems down the line.
“I don’t want to have to keep engaging in those exercises,” Haikala added. “The board has got to stop engaging in conversations that will hamper the court’s efforts in this case.”
Board attorney J.R. Brooks said, “I’ve been in practice since 1971, and I’ve never been accused of hampering the court’s work.” Brooks added, “I respectfully say to the court that it is unfair to characterize our actions as hampering the court.”
After learning about the judge’s comments, McCaulley cancelled Monday’s meeting.