District News Roundup
Two Minnesota school administrators have been indicted for allegedly failing to inform law-enforcement authorities about a teacher they suspected of having a sexual relationship with a student.
A grand jury charged Kenneth Doty, superintendent of schools in West Concord, and Raymond Six, principal of West Concord High School, under a 1983 state law that requires educators to contact law-enforcement authorities when they "know or have reason to believe" that child abuse has occurred.
The charges stem from a case involving a female teacher and coach at the high school, who is accused of having an affair with a female student.
Teachers and other school employees who were granted immunity from prosecution in return for their testimony said they had reported rumors of the relationship to the administrators. Neither they nor the administrators, however, reported the matter to authorities, the grand jury concluded..
A high-school student in Pennsylvania has alleged in a federal lawsuit that his First Amendment rights were violated when school officials restricted his distribution of religious pamphlets.
Charles and Theresa Slotterback filed the suit April 13 in federal district court in Philadelphia on behalf of their son Scott, a sophomore at Interboro Senior High School in Prospect Park.
According to the plaintiffs, the school's principal threatened to suspend or expel Scott if he continued to distribute copies of a religious comic book to schoolmates. They say the principal later changed his mind and allowed the student to distribute the comics outside the school building after school hours, but only twice a year.
The lawsuit contends that the school's policy violates the student's constitutional right to religious freedom.
A Reno (Nev.) High School sophomore has filed suit in federal court alleging that her free-speech rights were violated when school officials suspended her for writing allegedly menacing and obscene messages in a spiral notebook that circulated among students.
The suit, filed in U.S. district court against the Washoe County School District, claims the district violated the First Amendment rights of five students suspended for writing messages that, the district alleged, were offensive and threatening to teachers.
John N. Schroeder, the lawyer for the plaintiff, Heather Gilbertson, acknowledged that some of the writings in the notebook were strongly worded, but added that the notebook was not intended for publication.
The Chicago Police Department is investigating charges that officers beat schoolchildren who were protesting the firing of their school principal.
The incident took place outside Morrill Elementary School on April 10. The students met outside the school to protest the district superintendent's firing of Eduardo Cadavid. The local school council earlier had deadlocked on whether to retain Mr. Cadavid.
The origin of the charges is unclear, according to Tina Vicini, a police spokesman. The police, she said, asked students to return to class or face truancy charges. Within an hour, she said, the students were back in the school building without incident.
Ninety minutes later, however, said Ms. Vicini, "the media appeared, accusations of police brutality began to circulate, and some students began complaining of bruises."
The police department is interviewing people who were at the scene, and most wit6nesses, according to Ms. Vicini, have reported that "there was no evidence of roughhousing and no evidence or complaints of injury" immediately after the protest ended.
Mr. Cadavid could not be reached for comment.
The Tucson, Ariz., school board has voted to eliminate nearly 300 jobs in a move to save the financially troubled district $12.8 million.
District officials said the board was forced to announce the layoffs after voters in February rejected two property-tax measures that would have boosted the school budget by $24 million.
The budget measure, which goes into effect July 1, will eliminate 75 teaching positions, 24 administrative jobs, and 200 other positions, including school nurses, classroom aides, librarians, counselors, and custodians. Students will also be required to pay between $75 and $175 to participate in all sports and extracurricular activities.
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke of Baltimore has denied rumors he is seeking to oust Superintendent of Schools Richard Hunter, but said the district would hire a new deputy superintendent to manage its day-to-day operations.
The Mayor told a press conference April 11 that he supported Mr. Hunter, but that a new chief operating officer would be hired by Mr. Hunter and the school board to take over daily operations.
Recent press accounts had suggested the Mayor was already searching for a replacement for Mr. Hunter. Clinton Coleman, the Mayor's press secretary, denied the rumor, but admitted that the Mayor questions Mr. Hunter's handling of several security matters. In particular, Mr. Schmoke was upset by an incident in which a television reporter, posing as a student, entered several high-school buildings undetected.
The new position will enable Mr. Hunter to concentrate on such duties as developing curriculum and school policy and lobbying for extra funds, Mr. Coleman said.
A federal appeals court has overturned a ruling that upheld at-large voting for school-board members and other officials in Liberty County, Fla.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled this month that black plaintiffs challenging the at-large voting practices in Liberty County had shown that whites there vote as a bloc to defeat black candidates and that the black community is both politically cohesive and large and compact enough to elect a black candidate in single-member-district voting. The judges returned the case to district court for resolution
The county, which is 11 percent black, has never had a black candidate elected to office.