Federal News Roundup
The U.S. Supreme Court declined last week to review claims by several groups of Maryland parents that their rights were violated when they were not consulted about the closing of 28 schools in 1981.
In its decision not to hear Pleasant View Elementary School pta v. Group 1 Defendants (Case No. 85-665), the Court sustained rulings by lower federal courts that school officials in Montgomery County, Md., followed proper procedures when deciding which schools to close. The closings were outlined in a long-range facilities plan drafted in 1981 in response to demographic shifts in the area.
The parents contended that school officials violated a state board of ed-ucation rule requiring them to give members of the community adequate notice and an opportunity to comment prior to taking action. The parents also claimed officials violated the 14th Amendment's equal-protection and due-process clauses.
The parents' groups appealed first to the state board, which upheld the county officials' decisions. A federal district court dismissed the parents' appeal, ruling that they failed to state a legitimate claim. That decision was upheld by a federal appeals court last June.
The Agriculture Department has proposed adding peanuts and other seeds and nuts to its list of approved meat substitutes in the school-lunch, child-care, and summer-feeding programs.
Announcing the proposal in the Dec. 6 Federal Register, the department's Food and Nutrition Service noted that peanut butter has been an acceptable meat substitute, but that other nuts and seeds have typically "been considered a snack food, not a main-dish item."
However, with the increasing popularity of salad bars and ethnic foods--such as oriental chicken and peanut soup--these "snack-type foods could play a useful role in the meal when used in limited amounts," according to the Federal Register notice.
The announcement said that "most nuts and seeds and nut-and- seed butters" are nutritionally comparable to meat or the currently acceptable meat alternatives other than peanut butter--cheese, eggs, and cooked dry peas or beans.
Nut and seed foods would be allowed to fulfill no more than one-half of the meat and meat-alternate requirements for the three child-nutrition programs.
Comments may be addressed to Alberta C. Frost, director, Nutrition and Technical Services Division, Food and Nutrition Service, 3101 Park Center Dr., Alexandria, Va. 22302.