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Teacher wins TCLU suit Austin In early February of 1975, Wayne Woodward was doing all i tight teaching English to seventhand ninth-graders at La Plata Junior High in Hereford. After six years at La Plata, Woodward was well regarded as a teacher, both by peers and students, and he had no particular kick with the school administration. About then, though, his situation soured. Woodward hadn’t thought it any big deal that month when the High Plains chapter of the Texas Civil Liberties Union elected him their vice president. But the principal of La Plata Junior High, one Pat Hughes, took an uncommon interest in it. Shortly after the event was noted in the local paper, Hughes sent a letter to the superintendent of schools allowing that Woodward henceforward was on probation. Furthermore, he said, Woodward would not be recommended for rehiring unless he proved that he would conform to school policies and use only classroom material approved by the proper personnel, meaning him. All this seemed a bit curious, since ACLU or other “outside” materials in his classes, though he had discussed the history of ACLU in class and given some ACLU material to a student who requested it after requiring prior clearance of materials to be had never directed Woodward to submit any materials to him for clearance. But sure enough, in March the school board received recommendations from principals for renewing teachers’ contracts, and Woodward’s name was among the missing. He got a lawyer, Robin Green, who finally got him a hearing before the Hereford school board on June 2, 1975. The board backed up their principal, and Woodward was on the street. He floated resumes out to several other school districts, but found no takers. At least one of the districts indicated they were aware of his troubles in Hereford. Pushed to the wall, Woodward sued the Hereford school system, the principal, the superintendent, and the school board. By now, he had the backing of the Texas Civil Liberties Union, Texas Classroom Teachers Association, and National Education Association. Woodward’s day in court came on Sept. 21, 1976, when his case was taken up by U.S. District Judge Halbert Woodward \(no ping Woodward was not just the result of his use of unauthorized ACLU material, but rather it was an accumulation of many factors. Unfortunately for the defense, they were unable to say precisely what the other factors were. In addition, there was the business with the other Hereford teacher who earlier had been tactless enough to participate in ACLU activities. Seems that this teacher, too, found himself on probation, only to have his contract renewed when he resigned ACLU membership. It all boiled down to a triumph for justice. Judge Woodward, in an Oct. 12 opinion, found that the teacher had not disrupted the orderly operation of the school, had not messed with the kids’ , minds, and had not even violated orders from his superiors. As the judge put it, “nothing unusual occurred because of Mr. Woodward’s activities in connection with the ACLU and his school function, except that his contract was not renewed.” He concluded that Woodward’s contract “was not renewed because of his association with, his activities in, and his expressions concerning the American Civil Liberties Union.” And that, said the judge, violates amendments one and fourteen to the U.S. Constitution. The court ordered Woodward reinstated in his previous position, with full back pay and without prejudice. The court took a further step in awarding Woodward $6,000 for attorney’s fees, finding that the school district was “unreasonable and obdurately obstinate” in dismissing him. Woodward is not back in class, however, nor has any money changed hands. The Hereford school board has voted to appeal the decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Papers have yet to be filed, and there is no telling how long the appeal will drag out, but it is unlikely that Woodward will get much teaching done this school year. J.H. Conversations on the Constitution The Black-Eckhardt tapes The Tides of Power: Conversations on the American Constitution, by Bob Eckhardt and Charles L. Black Jr. Yale Univ. Press, $10.95, 225 pp. Austin Charles Black and Bob Eckhardt have been talking to each other for 55 years. These two connoisseurs of the Constitution grew up together in Austin and graduated from the University of Texas in the same year, 1935. Black became one of the academic world’s leading constitutionalists and is currently Sterling Professor of Law at Yale. Eckhardt practiced law, served in the Texas House of Representatives, and since 1967 has been in the The writer teaches at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin. A review by Hoyt Purvis U.S. House, where he has earned a reputation as one of that body’s more thoughtful legislators. Through this ” book they share with us some of their more recent conversations rich and stimulatingon the American Constitution, particularly on the role of the Congress and the president. The book has a strong Texas flavor, as both draw with some frequency on their experience in the state. Black recalls attending political rallies in Austin’s Wooldridge Park where all the candidates were given a chance to speak. “There was more enlightenment, more chance to canvass the is sues in one’s mind, and to make an intuitive judgment as to the quality of these men on that occasion, than we have now with all our resources.” Indeed, says Black, “We’ve got to start thinking how to bring Wooldridge Park about on a nationwide basis.” This statement is reflective of a strong strain of traditionalism which runs through the Black-Eckhardt dialogues. Although they may be generally considered liberals, they are not so much advocates of change as of real adherence to the basic values and principles upon which the United States’ government was founded. These are not a couple of tinkerers or technocrats tossing out suggestions for altering our governmental institutions. There November 12, 1976 15