Leader says consent decree still needed in South Bend schools

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--The consent decree- it dates back to 1980. It was put into place by the federal government to ensure that no South Bend schools are segregated. While that may seem like an outdated notion, the man who spearheaded this new African American Department of Parent and Student Services says the position is necessary to undo years of segregation in the district.

It's one of 61 job vacancies posted on the South Bend School Corporation's website. The director of African American Student and Parent Services.

"And it's good that the standards are high to show how much we are valuing the position," said Rev. Cory L. Gathright Sr., president, Interdenominational Minister Alliance of St. Joseph County.

You need not apply without a masters degree in an education related field or African American studies, five or more years of classroom experience and an Indiana administrator certfication.

"Someone that would be an advocate to ensure that our children are receiving the correct curriculum, that they're receiving the needs as far as socially," said Gathright.

He says the needs of black students haven't always been met. At least not until the consent decree was put into place 33 years ago. It means the government is watching the racial break down at each school.

"It's a well needed document to be able to guide our school corporation along to be in compliance," said Gathright.

To comply means each school needs to be within 15 percentage points of the total number of African Americans in the district.

"We want to make sure that each school has a combination of the various different races and ethnic backgrounds," said Gathright.

He says this is why it's necessary and not discriminatory to create this new position--in order to close that gap. Rev. Gathright said he's not sure at this time what exactly the evaluation process will entail once applications start to roll in, but he hopes to be a part of the hiring process.

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