State News

Jun 6, 2013 9:12 AM

Racism Allegations Hit Texas Parks Agency

AUSTIN - Racism and discrimination allegations are troubling the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, where employees bemoaned "a legacy of intolerance" in a report commissioned by the agency.

Only 1 percent of game wardens in the 50-year history of Texas' parks agency have been black. State officials acknowledge failures with recruiting minorities, but a lawsuit and concern from black Texas lawmakers has quietly escalated the issue in recent months.

In March, a black female cadet left the state's game warden academy after alleging discrimination. Brukendra Jackson filed a complaint Wednesday with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

State parks spokeswoman Lydia Saldana says minority hiring is a "business imperative" for the agency. The state has spent more than $100,000 on outside reports to examine minority hiring and internal allegations of racism.

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