The parents of six mentally retarded students have filed suit in federal court claiming their children were physically and sexually assaulted by employees of the Cullman, Ala., school system.
The children, ages 7 to 19 and ranging from educable to trainable mentally retarded, were enrolled in special-education programs at the John C. Cullman Middle School. The suit was filed Nov. 7 against the Cullman City Board of Education, two teachers, an aide, a principal and a special-education coordinator, according to William Legge, a law-yer for the students. The civil suitseeks $500,000 restitution from each of the defendants named in the case. (See Education Week, May 2, 1984.)
Mr. Legge said the parents previously complained to school officials and the Cullman Department of Pensions and Security about the alleged physical abuse, but no action was taken. All the children involved in the suit have transferred out of the school, he said.
A New Jersey appellate court has upheld the legality of a 23-credit eligibility rule that had been challenged by 13 student athletes who said they had not been properly informed of the new requirement.
Last December, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, which represents 431 public and parochial schools, voted to require students to earn at least 23 credits in the previous semester to be eligible for interscholastic athletic competition. (See Education Week, Oct. 24, 1984.)
The previous requirement had been 15 credits.
The 13 students claimed that they had not been informed of the rule early enough to improve their academic standing and be eligible to compete this fall. The new rule went into effect in September.
Anne Arundel (Md.) County school officials have agreed in an out-of-court settlement to pay $30,000 to the parents of five black children who were placed in closets for misbehaving.
As part of the settlement, school officials also agreed to adopt court-sanctioned guidelines on student discipline.
Lawyers brought the suit on behalf of the children, who were be-tween the ages of 7 and 12 in 1981 when the incidents occurred at the Germantown Elementary School, but a six-member jury was unable to reach a verdict last December and the judge declared a mistrial. (See Education Week, Dec. 21, 1983.)
The case had been scheduled for a retrial this December in the U.S. District Court for Maryland.
Alan Legum, a lawyer for four of the five children involved, said the court-ordered guidelines, contained in a consent decree signed last month, include provisions stipulating that a parent must be notified if a child is removed from a classroom for more than two hours and that a monitor or teacher's assistant must be present when a child is placed in a separate room for misbehaving.
"Technically, we are dealing with only one school, but in my view, the entire school district has to comply with [these guidelines]," Mr. Legum said.
The Hudsonville, Mich., board of education voted unanimously early this month to withdraw permission for Bible-study classes held on school grounds during the lunch hour.
The board had voted on October 11 to allow the classes on school property, but then voted subsequently to bar them after board members were warned by officials of the state department of education that the classes were unconstitutional and might provoke legal action by the department, said Jack D. Musser, superintendent of the school district.
The Michigan attorney general, ruling last spring that similar Bible study classes in the Tri-County School District were in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state, ordered the district to cancel them. (See Education Week, May 16, 1984).
The Tri-County district continued to hold the Bible classes despite the ruling until last month, when a federal judge issued an injunction banning them on school grounds.
Mr. Musser said the Hudsonville board's decision was prompted by the injunction.
The classes in Hudsonville were taught by volunteers of the Bible Club Movement Inc. in classrooms during the school lunch hour, Mr. Musser said.
Voters in Oklahoma on Election Day approved State Question 582, which will limit the property-tax exemption for schools and colleges to nonprofit schools and colleges. Election returns were unavailable immediately following the election. (See Education Week, Nov. 14, 1984.)
Oklahomans defeated State Questions 572 and 580, which would have increased the amount by which school districts could have become indebted from 10 percent to 15 percent of the valuation of taxable property within the district, and permitted districts to levy up to 10 mills to provide incentive aid to school districts.
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