Chief's Ouster in Selma Protested

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More than 1,000 students boycotted classes in Selma, Ala., last week to protest the school board's decision not to renew the contract of the district's first black superintendent, Norward Roussell, who has held the post since February 1987.

The board's 6-to-5 vote on Dec. 21, which broke down along racial lines, has also prompted boycotts and picketing of some local businesses perceived by black leaders to be supportive of the white majority on the board that opposed retaining Mr. Roussell.

Some media reports indicated that all five black school-board members had resigned to protest the decision, but city officials said late last week that they had not received any official letters of resignation.

Mr. Roussell said last week that the vote on his contract, which is set to expire on June 30, had touched off deeper racial tensions that have lingered in the community since the civil-rights struggles of the 1960's.

"This is not about the school system or me," he said. "This is about people wanting to have a voice in what happens in their city and their school system."

Selma's school board is appointed by the city council, which also has a white majority. One local lawmaker has said he will propose that the state legislature create an elected school board for Selma, Mr. Roussell said.

He added that he would be taking some action on his own behalf in response to the "unfair" manner in which he was treated.--ws

Vol. 09, Issue 16

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