Cities News Roundup
The Brownsville, Texas, board of education and the parents of a handicapped second-grader remain at odds over the best schooling environment for the boy, who has spent most of his school days in a plastic box.
Tony Martinez, a lawyer for the school board, said the parents of 7-year-old Raul Espino, Jr., have rejected the board's offer to pay tuition to send him to an air-conditioned private school. The parents, Mr. Martinez said, are standing firm on their demand that the board obey a federal court order requiring that air-conditioning be installed in Raul's public school.
Last year, the Espino boy spent 75 percent of his time at school inside an air-conditioned plastic cubicle because an automobile accident left him unable to regulate his body temperature. His parents sued and won under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, which requires that students be schooled in the least restrictive environment possible.
The board will appeal the ruling because of the high cost of
the school, Mr. Martinez said.
Vince Macaluso, of the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities, termed the board's position a failure to see the "long-term benefits" of educating the handicapped.
New York City children were not refused admission to school last week for lacking immunizations--as, by state law, they should have been--thanks to a compromise between the school district and the city health department.
The health department agreed to give some 200,000 to 400,000 unimmunized students a two-week grace period, during which their parents must consent to in-school inoculations against five childhood diseases. Only if the parents do not consent will children be barred from school.
School officials had feared that a new law, requiring the shots even for students who had been inoculated before, would not only cause many students to lose class time, but would cost the district millions of dollars in state funds tied to attendance.