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Kenneth Johnson, a social-studies teacher who was fired in 1984 for violating a ban on beards imposed by Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., will appeal a federal judge's decision upholding the public high school's action, his lawyer says.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Northrup rejected Mr. Johnson's contention that he had a constitutional right to grow a beard. The school's strict ban was a "rational" way to exercise its proper role in assuring that teachers maintain a professional appearance, Judge Northrup ruled.

"Part of the educational mission of a high school is the inculcation of values," he said.

Mr. Johnson, who said he grew the beard as a lesson in democracy for his students, is currently teaching at Alvirne High School in Hudson, N.H. He still wears a beard.


John Ehrlichman, the domestic-policy adviser to former President Richard Nixon who gained notoriety during the Watergate scandal, played a role recently in another drama involving the Constitution.

Mr. Ehrlichman, now a novelist and the father of a 1st grader at Atalaya Elementary School in Santa Fe, N.M., volunteered to play John Hancock in a school ceremony marking the bicentennial of the Constitution. The event was designed to teach students about the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

"A lot of other parents I called said they worked during the day and didn't have time to dress up like an 18th-Century character," said Rose Ann Sena, the school's principal. "He was happy to do it."


Billy D. Reagan, former superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, has described as "the most hurtful thing that has ever happened to me" the Texas Education Agency's July decision to lower the district's accreditation status--the first time the state office had ever made such a move. Mr. Reagan, now a senior vice president with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, had been the activist chief officer of the 200,000-student district from 1974 to 1986. In a local press interview, he said the city's business community had failed to support tax increases to maintain the system's quality.


Phyllis Blaunstein, who has headed the National Association of State Boards of Education since 1981, will leave her post as executive director on Jan. 15 to begin a business venture. Clifford Freeman, president of nasbe, praised her contribution to the growth of the 600-member policymakers' group as "substantial."

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