A Maryland jury at the Greenbelt Federal court found Prince George’s County school district liable for not doing much to protect employees’ jobs and for aggressive bullying by oppressive administrators within the county today Friday February 28, 2014. The verdict means that Prince George’s County Public Schools is liable under Title VI for race discrimination and retaliation. In the process, the jury set a precedent with their verdict.
Prince George’s County Public Schools, the second largest school District in Maryland, was found answerable for bad behavior during the leadership of former Superintendent William Hite Jr. The pupose of the Federal funding during the economic recovery was to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery.….However, the rules were violated willfully. Defendant PGCPS knew this aspects, furthermore other grants PGCPS received similarly were to provide employment as a primary objective. One such grant was the Teacher and Principal Training and Recruiting Fund. Specifically, the jury decided that Prince George’s County Public School received federal assistance involving several different grants starting in 2009, which had the primary objective of providing employment. In 2009, PGCPS, which has a annual budget of approximately $1.7 billion, received $140 million in federal stimulus funds which it used to avert laying off hundreds of teachers and other school workers including IT Technicians, cafeteria workers, Bus drivers etc.
Nevertheless, because of corruption, PGCPS leadership led by Ms. Verjeana Jacobs and William Hite Jr E.Dd at the time violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. During the week long hearing in front of the Honorable Judge Peter J. Messitte, Prince George’s County Public schools invited three witnesses among them, Matt Stanski Previous Chief Financial Officer, and Duane Arbogast previous Chief Academic Officer at PGCPS who tried their best in answering the questions according to the witnesses.
The jury decision will now be seen as a victory for the victims involved in an aggressive effort to hold School Districts accountable for their role in the job crisis.
The cases now go to another jury for monetary damages of $5 million each beginning on April 1, 2014.
Overview of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VI, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., was enacted as part of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. As President John F. Kennedy said in 1963:
Simple justice requires that public funds, to which all taxpayers of all races [colors, and national origins] contribute, not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or results in racial [color or national origin] discrimination.
If a recipient of federal assistance is found to have discriminated and voluntary compliance cannot be achieved, the federal agency providing the assistance should either initiate fund termination proceedings or refer the matter to the Department of Justice for appropriate legal action. Aggrieved individuals may file administrative complaints with the federal agency that provides funds to a recipient, or the individuals may file suit for appropriate relief in federal court. In this case, Title VI itself prohibits intentional discrimination as demonstrated. However, most funding agencies have regulations implementing Title VI that prohibit recipient practices that have the effect of discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national originTitle VI allows relief for employment discrimination when “providing employment is a primary objective of the federal aid”. Venkatraman v. REI Systems, Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 421 (4th Cir. 2005); Trageser v. Libbie Rehabilitation Ctr., Inc., 590 F2d 87 (4thCir. 1978) (“…employment is a primary objective of the federal aid”). Title VI applies even if the plaintiff is not the ultimate beneficiary of federal financial assistance, such as, a student.