Buford City Schools settles racial discrimination lawsuit that led to former superintendent’s resignation | News


A federal racial discrimination lawsuit that led to the downfall of Buford City Schools Superintendent Geye Hamby in 2018 has officially ended after the school district and a former paraprofessional who claimed she had been wrongly fired reached a settlement in the case.

The case was filed in U.S. District Court in 2018 by former district employee Mary Ingram, who claimed she was retaliated and discriminated against in retaliation for going to the district’s school board in 2014 to ask that the color gold be added to the color scheme at Buford Arena as a nod to an old African-American school that existed in the city before the desegregation of Buford’s schools in 1969. Lawyers for Ingram asserted in the lawsuit that she had been fired “without any justification.”

The lawsuit also brought to light recordings of what is believed to be Hamby, who became Buford’s superintendent in 2006, using racial slurs and talking about killing Black people. In a deposition during the case, Hamby denied making the statements heard on the recording.

“With today’s technology, it could be anybody’s voice,” Hamby said in the deposition.

In a separate deposition, Buford City Commission Chairman Philip Beard, who also sits on the city’s school board was asked if it sounded like Hamby’s voice on the recording.

“In a way, yes, sir,” Beard said in response to the question, although he did not outright say he believed it was definitively Hamby’s voice on the recording.

Attorneys for the school district, as well as Hamby and Kaleen Pulley, who was the principal Ingram worked under, had sought to have the case dismissed. But a judge denied the request in May.

Court records show the district and Ingram reached a settlement during a conference conducted over Zoom on Sept. 25.

“The parties participated in a settlement conference,” the minutes from that conference state. “The parties reached a settlement agreement. Judge (Christopher) Bly will remain on the case while the parties finalize the agreement. The parties anticipate filing a joint stipulation of dismissal on or before Nov. 24, 2020.”

The details of the settlement were not listed in court records. Both sides filed a motion to dismiss the case at the beginning of December.

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