District News Roundup
Officials are conducting a series of environmental tests at a Florida high school in the wake of allegations by the teachers' union that an unusual number of employees have developed cancer.
The union began pushing for tests following the recent cancer deaths of two foraff members. By its count, 44 employees of the Dixie Hollins High School have been diagnosed as having cancer since the Pinellas County school opened in 1959. The school currently has about 250 employees.
School officials have dismissed teachers' fears about safety, noting that the workers have been diagnosed as having several different types of cancer.
Similar tests were conducted at the school in 1979, when teachers also claimed there was an abnormally high cancer rate. No carcinogens were found at that time, officials said.
The Anthony, N.M., school district failed to adequately investigate students' school-based health problems, local parents plan to charge in a class action against the district.
The parents link their children's ailments, which include headaches and nausea, to the installation of a roof in the Anthony Elementary School three years ago. Tests conducted earlier this year found small amounts of a cyanide-based chemical in the school's air.
Romelia Moralez, who first complained about the phenomenon three years ago, said 23 parents and two teachers' aides have filed a motion stating their intention to sue the district.
Two Carter, Tenn., families who complained about the presence of fundamentalist Christian proselytizers in their public schools have received a cash settlement from the local school district.
The district agreed to an out-of-court settlement shortly before a suit brought by the families was to go to trial. The district also promised not to allow cbm Ministries Inc. to re-enter the schools.
In their suit, filed in federal court last year, the families charged that the district's policy allowing "Bible ladies" into classes to conduct prayer and Bible readings violated the constitutional separation of church and state.
The suit said the families' children were forced to attend the classes, which district officials described as "character-building" sessions using Bible stories. When the families complained, the children were punished, the suit charged.