Arkansas Coach Fired After Racial Incident

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Following an incident in which a black high-school tennis player was not allowed to play a match at an all-white country club, the Forrest City, Ark., school board has voted to fire employees who disobey the board's racial-equality rules

Teresa Whitfield, a visiting tennis player from Earle High School in Earle, Ark., was sent to play her match at a city tennis court by Charles Bowlin, coach of the Forrest City High School team, because she is black.

The president of the Forrest City Country Club said after the April 26 incident that Ms. Whitfield could have played at the club, but noted that Mr. Bowlin had never asked about the club's policies.

The Forrest City board last week drafted a formal apology to Ms. Whitfield, and its president, Marlene Zaleski, said members deeply regretted the incident.

The board's new personnel policy also calls for racial-sensitivity training for school employees.

Jack Hosford, coach of the Earle tennis team, was relieved of his coaching duties last week because he allowed the rest of the team to play at the country club after Ms. Whitfield was forced to play her Forrest City opponent at the public court. Ms. Whitfield won the match.

Earle High School will no longer play Forrest City in tennis, officials said. Ms. Whitfield's parents have hired a lawyer and may sue the Forrest City School District or the country club.

The Forrest City district made national news earlier this spring as well, when its high school held a racially integrated senior prom for the first time since the start of desegregation 20 years ago. --WW

Vol. 07, Issue 35

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