District News Roundup
Los Angeles County health officials are not doing enough to prevent the spread of acquired immune deficiency syndrome among blacks and Hispanics, a coalition of minority-group leaders and organizations has charged in a lawsuit.
The suit--filed last month by the local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Southern Christian Leadership Foundation, and several black ministers and doctors--charges that the county's educational efforts on the disease so far have bypassed minorities, who account for 30 percent of all AIDS victims and all of the pediatric AIDS cases in the county.
Mark Rosenbaum, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing the groups, said the suit is based on a recent survey of community leaders and others who work with AIDS patients, which found that AIDS education in minority communities is "nonexistent.''
"There's still a general sense that AIDS is a white man's disease,'' he said.
Robert Saltzman, director of the county AIDS program, last week declined to comment directly on the lawsuit. He said, however, that $400,000 of the program's current $1million budget is being spent this year on AIDS education for minorities.
Responding to concerns that children have been starting school before they are developmentally ready, the Boston School Committee has voted to raise by four months the age at which children can enter kindergarten and the 1st grade.
Under the new system, which will affect an estimated 13,000 children this fall, children can enter kindergarten 1 at age 4; kindergarten 2 at age 5; and the 1st grade at age 6. Younger pupils already enrolled in school will be permitted to stay.
Supporters of the higher entrance ages, including the Boston Teachers Union, cited a recent study showing that a fifth of the city's 1st graders had failed to be promoted last year.
But Jean M. McGuire, a member of the committee, called the plan "racist'' and "classist,'' and suggested that poor and minority children would be harmed. She said the school system should improve schooling in the early grades.
A troop of Explorer Scouts in Garden Grove, Calif., has been credited with finding information that led to the rescue of a 15-month-old girl kidnapped from a child-care center.
Garden Grove police arrested Darlene Johnson, 18, and her 17-year-old brother, whose name was not released, on charges of suspicion of kidnapping in connection with the March 26 incident.
Police said a woman fitting Ms. Johnson's description first went to the Young Horizons child-care center around noon, posing as a parent interested in placing her child at the facility. She returned a few hours later and then disappeared.
Shortly afterward, at about 3 P.M., the infant was discovered missing from the center, according to police.
The troop of Explorers, a branch of the Boy Scouts, helped police canvass the neighborhood near the center and found a witness who thought she had seen the baby at a nearby house.
Police then went to the house, where they found the infant and arrested Ms. Johnson and her brother. The child was returned to her parents unharmed, police said.
The scouts were commended for doing "very diligent work,'' according to a police spokesman.