District News Roundup
The Wyoming Board of Education this month approved a decision by Sheridan (Wyo.) County School District No. 1 to switch to a four-day school week.
The district is the first in the state to use the alternate-scheduling plan, according to state education officials.
Starting this fall, students in the rural district will attend classes Monday through Thursday. According to Douglas S. Cobb, the district's superintendent of schools, the school day will be an average of 45 minutes longer than it is now.
Under the new schedule, Mr. Cobb explained, Fridays will be used for inservice training and extracurricular activities. The goal is to minimize the interruption of instructional time, he said.
Officials of the 800-student district had tried a four-day week during the 1982-83 school year but the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the program violated existing state law. The legislature this year changed the law to provide for alternate scheduling.
A Bryan (Tex.) Independent School District teacher who screened an R-rated movie for her 6th-grade class, sparking complaints from parents, will be disciplined, a school-district spokesman said last week.
The district's superintendent, Guy Gorden, has said he will handle the matter on his own and that the teacher will be disciplined, said Gwen H. Hodge, the spokesman. "But the nature of that discipline will not be public information," she added.
In the last week of the school year, the teacher, Bobbie Peterson, showed her class three movies, one of which, the R-rated "D.C. Cab," contains some nudity and profanity, Ms. Hodge said. One of the other movies shown, "Romancing the Stone," is rated PG. A third, G-rated movie, "Camelot," was also shown.
The teacher was apparently attempting to have students compare the qualities of the three, but parents of at least two children in the class complained that films containing nudity and profanity should not be allowed in a school setting, Ms. Hodge said. "Any film shown in should be related to the class-work," she added.
While Ms. Peterson refused to comment on the incident, Ms. Hodge acknowleged that the teacher had "admitted she was in error in showing the film."
The Columbus, Ohio, school system and 16 surrounding districts plan to install the country's first computerized school-bus alert and warning system this fall to improve transportation services for handicapped students.
The new system, manufactured by Regency Electronics Inc., is designed to cut down on the amount of time parents of handicapped pupils spend waiting for the school bus in the morning and evening.
The system uses a programmable transmitter, which sends out a coded signal for a particular bus route. In the student's home, a voice tells where the bus is located on a stop-by-stop basis.
The Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, which runs the four special-education schools in the 17 districts and serves 2,000 students, piloted the project for three months over the winter.
Following the pilot program, the 26 parents who participated unanimously voted to have it continued. The board then agreed to equip its 112 buses and nearly 2,000 homes with the system at the cost of $200,000.
The mother of a student who was paddled by the assistant principal of Dunn (N.C.) High School will ask the North Carolina Supreme Court to reverse a decision of a state court of appeals giving educators the right to administer corporal punishment if the punishment is without malice.
Earlier this month, a three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld a lower-court ruling that Assistant Principal Glenn Varney was not guilty of using excessive force when he paddled Shelly Gaspersohn and two other senior-high students six times each for missing one day of school, according to Renny Deese, Ms. Gaspersohn's lawyer.
According to the appeals court, teachers, under North Carolina law, have the right to use "reasonable force in the exercise of lawful authority" as long as that force does not leave permanent injury and is not applied out of malice, Mr. Deese explained. The basis for that statute, Mr. Deese said, dates back to 1837 case law.
The student's mother plans by July to ask the state high court to hear the appeal, Mr. Deese said.
High-school students in the Carlstadt-East Rutherford (N.J.) Regional School District will be tested for drug use as part of a mandatory "comprehensive physical examination" approved last week by the district's school board, according to press reports.
The progam requires that all 516 students at the Becton Regional High School submit to blood and urine tests designed to detect drug use. The school board authorized $10,000 to conduct the tests, The New York Times reported.
The school's principal, Joseph Morris, said students found to have the residue of narcotics in their system could be expelled from school under state education law, the report stated.
Nancy M. West, a spokesman for the New Jersey Civil Liberties Union, called the tests a "gross violation" of the constitutional protection against unreasonable searches guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. "There is no reasonable cause to be doing these tests," said Ms. West, adding that it is still too early to know if a lawsuit will be filed to block the tests on constitutional grounds.