Fifty years after the epic desegregation struggle at Central High School, the Little Rock (Ark.) school district here is still riven by racial conflict, casting a pall on this year’s ambitious commemorative efforts. In the latest clash, white parents pack school board meetings to support the embattled superintendent, Roy Brooks, who is black. The blacks among the school board members look on grimly, determined to use their new majority to oust him. Whites insist that test scores and enrollment have improved under Brooks; blacks on the board are furious that he has cut the number of office and other non-teaching jobs and closed some schools.
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EARLIER: Little Rock (Ark.) School Superintendent Roy Brooks has sued the school board president and another board member, asserting that their actions impair his chances for a fair hearing on charges for which he could be suspended and fired. The suit argues that the content of letters delivered last week to nine district administrators created a substantial likelihood of intimidating witnesses who might be in a position to provide favorable testimony for Brooks at any forthcoming suspension or termination hearings. A split Little Rock School Board voted along racial lines last week to suspend Brooks. Brooks, who is black, has support from the board's white members. Black members have pushed for his dismissal.