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In the wake of several threatening phone calls, Constance E. Clayton, Philadelphia's superintendent of schools, has been given police protection during public appearances, a spokesman for the city's police department confirmed last week.

Ms. Clayton, who is black, late last month began receiving calls that were obscene and contained "racial overtones," the spokesman said, after she made a statement defending a proposed cost-cutting plan that would have eliminated several day-care centers, a school for the retarded, and funds for busing private-school children. (See Education Week, Sept. 7, 1988).

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