District News Roundup
Parents of seven white, non-Hispanic students in Fallbrook, Calif., have filed suit in state superior court against the board of education for the Fallbrook Union Elementary School District, alleging that the district is operating one or more segregated schools.
The parents claim that minority enrollment in some of the district's schools is so disproportionately high that minority students are isolated from other students, thus depriving all students of an "integrated educational experience."
The parents also allege in their suit, which was filed last month, that their children are being deprived of equal educational opportunities because the proportion of bilingual classes is so great in some schools that it tends to reduce the choice of classes for English-speaking students.
Approximately 22 percent of the Fallbrook district's student body is Hispanic, according to David R. Gammie, director of business and classified-personnel services. At present, 806 Hispanic students, or about 61 percent of all Hispanic students, are enrolled in bilingual-education classes.
"We feel that the alleged charges in this lawsuit are untrue. We do not feel that we have any segregated schools," said Mr. Gammie. He added that he could not be more specific at this time.
A county judge upheld a Pottsville, Pa., Catholic school's suspension of a varsity football player who fathered the child of another student, on the grounds that "due process does not apply to private and parochial schools" and that the suspension did not cause him any immediate or irreperable harm.
Judge John E. Lavelle of Schuylkill County refused last month to issue a preliminary injunction allowing the Nativity Catholic High School junior, Robert Doyle Jr., to continue to play.
The parents decided not to appeal the injunction or pursue the case, according to their lawyer, Richard Smolens.
The school's principal, the Rev. Steven Maco, said at the hearing last month that the suspension resulted from the student's failure to "reflect the values and moral principles of the Catholic Church," according to a press account.
Judge Lavelle ruled that the student's suspension from the football team was a legitimate disciplinary action.
The Doyles had sued the school and the diocese after Reverend Maco told them on Sept. 4 that their son could no longer publicly represent the high school.
More than 10 percent of the 365 students who attend the Olivia (Minn.) High School have been barred from extracurricular activities following a fatal automobile accident after a party that violated the school's drinking policy.
Thirty-eight students from the high school attended the party, which took place in a public park near Olivia on Sept. 23. Todd Mathiowetz, aged 17, was killed when the car he was driving ran off the road as he left the party that night.
"Not all the students were drinking," said Jerry Bass, superintendent of the high school. "But our rule states that 'a student shall not consume, possess, or be in the presence of others who are consuming or in possession of an alcoholic beverage."'
The rule covers all circumstances, not just gatherings related to school activities, according to Delbert J. Altmann, principal of Olivia High School.
The students, who were members of the band, the National Honor Society, and school athletic teams, were suspended for four to eight weeks.
The reaction to the suspensions has been generally favorable, Mr. Bass said. "The majority of the people I've been in contact with are supportive of the decision. Some said that it was something that should have been done years ago, that could possibly have averted this tragedy."
Parents talented in photography, macrame, typing, cooking, and stenciling were among the 23 recruited last year by the St. Catherine's School of Silver Lake, N.J., to teach Continued on Following Page Continued from Preceding Page
0-week "mini-courses" at the school.
The volunteer program was so successful last year that it will be continued this year as part of an attempt by school officials to supplement a basic curriculum and "enrich the children's lives," according to Ruth Pfister, the teacher who is coordinating the parental-involvement project.
"I don't think our budget is as good as the public school's budget,'' said Ms. Pfister. "We wanted our children to get as much as they could, so we did this by using the volunteer parents."
By condensing class periods on Fridays, school officials have been able to set aside a one-hour period for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to participate in the "mini-courses." This year as last, letters were sent home to parents asking them to volunteer to teach a course on a subject about which they are knowledgeable.
Based on the parents' responses to the first request, students were offered courses in computers, jazzercise, needlepoint, knitting, crocheting, art, art appreciation, problems of the handicapped, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, according to Ms. Pfister.
"The parents enjoyed it very much, being part of the school," she said, "and the children learned something they don't normally get in the classroom."