District News Roundup
West Haven Schools
To Offer Students
Officials for the West Haven (Conn.) Public Schools are considering plans to extend the school day for high-school students who want to take courses in addition to those now being offered.
Students would be charged a fee for the courses offered in the program, but participation would be voluntary, according to John Onofrio, the distict's deputy superintendent. He said district officials have been conducting a feasibility study and are planning to survey students to see what courses they would like the district to offer.
"This is a local attempt to give youngsters more opportunities during the course of an extended day to elect certain course offerings they would not be able to take during the normal day," Mr. Onofrio said. Scholarships would be made available to students who could not afford the program fee, he added.
The concept was conceived by the district's superintendent and, according to Mr. Onofrio, it has been endorsed by the school board. He said the 1,940 students at West Haven High School would be eligible to participate in the program.
"We have great expectations for what this might accomplish," Mr. Onofrio said. "It's certainly timely as far as the national thought on more time for instructional purposes."
A 7th-grade Illinois student who participated this month in try-outs for the boys' basketball team but was not offered a position will proceed with her sex-discrimination suit against the district.
Becky Lynn Klotz, age 12, last month filed suit with her mother and the American Civil Liberties Union in U.S. District Court in Alton, Ill., against the Millstadt Consolidated School District 160. The suit maintains that the district discriminated against Becky when it denied her the opportunity to try out for the boys' team; the school has no girls' team.
Later last month, however, as part of an agreement reached in negotiations with the district, Becky and several other girls were permitted to participate in try-outs, which were held Oct. 3 to Oct. 7.
But neither Becky nor the other four girls who tried out for the team were selected, according to Billy I. Howell, principal of Millstadt Elementary School.
Becky was disappointed with the outcome, said Bruce Goldstein, the girl's lawyer. He said the case will proceed because "we want to make sure that the girls are being treated equally from now on."
Mr. Goldstein said he is presently negotiating with the school district's lawyer on the case, Becky Lynn Klotz v. Millstadt Consolidated School District 160.
Janitor Makes Debut
As Substitute Teacher
Teachers at Redford High School in Detroit have been giggling about the substitute janitor who taught two social-studies classes and two study halls recently when school officials mistook him for a substitute teacher.
"It really happened. The department head couldn't figure out why he asked her, 'Do you need anything cleaned?"' quipped an economics teacher.
School officials, however, were not laughing. They immediately implemented an elaborate new system of multiple interviews for all substitutes who report for work at the school.
The janitor, Andrew Ransom, reported to the main office on Sept. 27 and said he was a substitute. A teacher sent him to the interdisciplinary-studies head, who gave him a lesson plan and told him to report to the classes.
At the end of the day the "substitute" confessed that he was really a janitor.
"I think we should make him an honorary member of the Detroit Federation of Teachers," said Wanda Hogg, an English teacher. "It just shows how disorganized things are around here."
Mr. Ransom could not be reached for comment.
Because of Illnesses
A small Pennsylvania school system has cut short its interscholastic football and basketball schedules in an effort to prevent an epidemic of mononucleosis.
"We are not going to play Russian roulette with students' health," said Donald E. Evans, superintendent of the 1,100-student Juniata Valley School District.
Mr. Evans said school officials were first alerted earlier this month to the presence of the disease in the area when pathologists determined that it was responsible for the ruptured spleen of a junior-high-school football player.
Subsequently, blood tests showed that 28 of 33 players on the district's varsity football team, 21 on the junior-high team, and six members of the girl's varsity and junior-varsity basketball teams had mild cases of mononucleosis, Mr. Evans said.
Mr. Evans said he subsequently cancelled the remaining contests for the teams and curtailed physical contact in gym classes. As of last week, he added, the disease had not spread within the school system.
He said that doctors have surmised that the close proximity of athletes in locker rooms and on courts and playing fields probably accounts for the large number of cases among the school system's teams.
Mr. Evans also said the local athletic conference has "fortunately" agreed to declare the 32 cancelled football and basketball games "no contests" instead of forfeits, thus sparing the Juniata Valley schools the ignominy of having 32 defeats go down in the record books.
Sues TV Station
A Salt Lake City teacher has filed a $1.01-million defamation suit against a local television station, claiming that an evening news report made "false, malicious, and defamatory" remarks about her competence as a teacher.
In a suit filed in the Third District Court on Sept. 23, Bryant Intermediate School teacher Marian Preston claimed that a news report aired on Sept. 13 by KTVX-tv included a videotape of her teaching her class with a narration that said, "Marian Preston's fourth-period accelerated English is not learning, according to a government report."
Ms. Preston's suit names the television station's owner, United Television Inc., and reporter Barbara Wilshire as defendents. It seeks $10,000 for "physical and mental suffering" and $1 million in punitive damages.
The station issued a clarification on Sept. 29th. On the evening newscast the station's announcer read a statement that said that the tape of Ms. Preston's class was intended to lead to a debate among educators meeting at the University of Utah who challenged the school-reform proposals made by the National Commission on Excellence in Education. The tape was not meant to suggest that Ms. Preston was a bad teacher, according to the station's general manager, Harold Woolley.
No trial date has been set in the case.