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Buford settles racial lawsuit over former school superintendent
Residents turned out for the Buford Board of Education meeting Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, to express frustration over the handling of former superintendent Geye Hamby's resignation amid allegations of a racist rant and a lawsuit alleging discrimination.

A race discrimination lawsuit that sent Buford’s school system into turmoil and prompted the departure of its superintendent has been settled, according to court records.

The case gained notoriety across the U.S. and overseas because it included audio recordings of racist rants said to have been uttered by then-superintendent Geye Hamby. The person identified as Hamby in the lawsuit used bigoted language and spoke openly about wanting to kill Black workers at a construction site.

At the time, Hamby was one of the highest-paid superintendents in the state, earning $308,000 a year. He was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 21, 2018, the same day The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a story about the litigation. He resigned three days later.

Geye Hamby

The lawsuit was filed by Mary Ingram, a former paraprofessional. She said she was fired after clashing with Hamby over the school district’s colors. She wanted gold to be included because it was representative of the city’s Black school district before it was integrated in 1969.

The case went into court-ordered mediation, and a resolution was filed earlier this month.

“The matter has been resolved to our satisfaction,” Ed Buckley, one of Ingram’s attorneys, said Monday.

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Mary Ingram is the plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging discrimination against the Buford School District. Recordings provided as evidence in the lawsuit are alleged to be of former Buford school superintendent Geye Hamby making a racist rant. - photo by Joshua Silavent

Brent Bean, an attorney for the school system, did not return emails or phone calls seeking comment.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Attorneys for the school district had tried to get the suit thrown out but U.S. District Court Judge Eleanor Ross declined to dismiss it. She also ruled that the plaintiff’s lawyers could put recordings of the racist rant into evidence at trial.

The person in the recordings, identified as Hamby, can be heard saying, “(Expletive) that (n-word). I’ll kill these (expletive) — shoot that (expletive) if they’d let me. All right. Well, check out what’s going on with all these (n-word) out here.”

After the recordings became public, hundreds of parents and students filled the school board’s meeting room, where tempers flared. Several demanded Hamby’s resignation.