District News Roundup
A federal judge has ordered Dade County, Fla., school officials to provide him with extensive records on the district's desegregation efforts.
U.S. District Judge C. Clyde Atkins told school officials last month to give him the records for schools with enrollments that are more than 90 percent white or black. The records must include information on the racial makeup of each school's faculty and the racial makeup of nearby schools, the judge said.
The order came in response to a letter from a citizens' committee that monitors the district's desegregation efforts.
In their letter, members of the Bi-Racial/hnic Committee contend that the district's attendance-boundary committee had recommended changes that would impede progress toward desegregation. The attendance-boundary committee, also made up of citizens, suggests adjustments in school boundaries to relieve overcrowding.
The so-called Bi-Tri committee refused to endorse the attendance-boundary committee's recommendations for the 1990-91 school year.
Lawyers for the district argued that Dade County schools have become more integrated since 1970, when the system was declared "unitary," or legally desegregated. In 1970, they said, 30 percent of the system's schools were segregated, while in 1990 only 5 percent are.
Lawyers involved in the case said last week that they did not know when, or if, the judge would order any changes in the district's desegregation program.
Judge Atkins's order came soon after the district school board voted not to change the focus of the attendance-boundary commitom relieving overcrowding to correcting racial imbalances.
A 16-year-old deaf and mentally retarded girl has brought suit against officials at a public Philadelphia-area vocational school for failing to protect her from being repeatedly raped by seven of her classmates.
The student, identified only as "D.R." in the lawsuit, said the attacks at Middle Bucks Area Vocational School involved seven male students between the ages of 15 and 17. The attacks allegedly occurred in 1989 in secluded areas of the school's graphics classroom.
The student's lawsuit, filed last month in federal district court in Philadelphia, portrays the classroom as wildly out of control and asserts that students sometimes locked the instructor out of the room. It contends that school officials knew about the poor discipline in the classroom, but that they failed to take steps to protect D.R. and other female classmates from being molested.
The suit also blames school officials for placing a student teacher in charge of the class without giving her adequate support and training.
Donald Maloney, the school's current director, said he could not comment on the lawsuit because he was not employed by the school when the incidents took place.
The Boise, Idaho, school district can ask two families to submit information about their home-school programs, a state judge has ruled.
In his ruling, Fourth District Judge D. Duff McKee said state law gives districts the right to determine if a home-schooling program is "comparable" to a public-school education.
The Boise district had asked the parents to submit curriculum outlines and descriptions of how academic progress is monitored. The parents had claimed that this request was unconstitutional because it violated their right to privacy.
Parents of students attending Baskin (La.) High School have decided against legal action to keep a student with hepatitis B out of the school, a lawyer for the parents said.
Almost half of the K-12 school's 400 students were kept home by their parents for several days when the infected child began attending the school in March.
David Doughty, a lawyer for the parents, said plans for a lawsuit were dropped after the school board decided last month that the boy posed no health threat to other students.
Before the board's decision, the 5-year-old boy had been removed from the school and tutored at home for two weeks. The board readmitted the boy after health experts explained that the disease is transmitted through direct contact with blood, sexual intercourse, and shared needles. They said the disease is rarely spread through casual contact.
Twenty-one parents have been arrested, some as many as five times, during protests at Louisville (Miss.) High School calling for the dismissal of the district school superintendent, local police said.
The parents, who were charged late last month with disturbing the peace, staged the demonstrations to seek the dismissal of Louisville's superintendent, Fred Perkins. Mr. Perkins, they charged, has shown insensitivity to blacks by failing to hire enough black teachers and by permitting the election of separate black and white high-school homecoming courts.
Mr. Perkins, who is white, asserted last week that the majority of the city's black community supports the way he has run the 4,100-student district, which is 59 percent black.
A group of parents in Sand Lake, Mich., has filed suit against the school district and the local mental-health agency after their children were given sexually explicit information during a lesson on self-esteem.
About 200 students in grades 7-11 in the Sand Lake Alternative Education School were given printed information about masturbation, sexual fantasies, and group sex as part of a talk on self-esteem presented by an employee of the local mental-health agency, said David R. Melton, a lawyer for the parents.
Mr. Melton said that, although the employee has since resigned and both the school system and the mental-health agency agree that the sexual material should not have been included, seven families believe both institutions were negligent.
Mr. Melton, the president of the Michigan chapter of the Rutherford Institute, a politically conservative parents'-rights group, said he filed a suit on their behalf in Kent County Circuit Court.
He said the suit alleges that parents' rights were violated when the school failed to inform them about the nature of the presentation and to screen the materials beforehand.
Unhappy with the performance of his schools superintendent, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke of Baltimore has hired a deputy superintendent to take over the day-to-day operations of the district.
James Edward Andrews Jr., a professor at the University of Maryland, has accepted the new position of deputy superintendent. He will serve under Richard Hunter, the superintendent whom Mr. Schmoke has criticized for his handling of several security matters.
Mr. Andrews was superintendent of schools in Montgomery County from 1979 to 1983. Last year he worked as a consultant to Superintendent Hunter.