A Bastrop man is planning a rally and prayer service this Saturday to bring attention to what he says is "potential discriminatory hiring and unethical employment standards" at Bastrop ISD.
"You know people in town referred to some portable buildings behind the central administration building as the 'soul shacks'," rally organizer Steve Miller told KUT News. "The soul shacks are the places where they put the African-American administrators in the portable buildings which are behind or to the side of the central administration buildings." Miller, who has lived in Bastrop for about a year, claims that highly qualified minorities have been denied promotions at Bastrop ISD because of their ethnicity. He declined to give specific identities but says he will do so at his rally on Saturday.
The school district denies it has discriminatory hiring practices, and it supplied KUT with human resources documents that show the school district has hired more minorities in recent years.
"Bastrop ISD always seeks to hire the most highly qualified individuals for each position," the district said in a statement. "BISD recognizes that we are a diverse community with a diverse student population and will always strive to have a diverse faculty and staff."
The district's HR department prepared a spreadsheet for KUT showing how their hiring over the past year has resulted in increases of African-American and Hispanic employees. For example, the number of African-Americans employed by the district grew from 103 in 2009-10 to 109 in 2010-11. The number of Hispanics working for the district rose from 244 to 266 over the same time period. The number of white employees shrank from 852 to 851.
Miller says, however, that minorities are still underrepresented in the district. His rally is scheduled for 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 30 at the Bastrop Performing Arts Center.