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first in the nation to recommend that schools adopt guidelines to protect gay and lesbian students.

The board's recommendations were based in part on those of Gov. William F. Weld's commission on gay and lesbian youth, although the school board did not adopt the commission's report in its entirety. (See Education Week, March 10, 1993.)

The guidelines encourage schools to develop policies that would protect gay and lesbian students from harassment, violence, and discrimination; offer violence-prevention training to school personnel; offer school-based support groups for gay, lesbian, and heterosexual students; and provide school-based counseling for family members of gay and lesbian youths.

Like Governor Weld, who endorsed his commission's findings, the board left implementation of the measures a local option.

Marie Fricker, a spokeswoman for the state education department, said the board was not endorsing a particular life style or curriculum. The board, she said, viewed the matter as a safety issue.


The unions for teachers and other school personnel in Rockford, Ill., have agreed to accept the eventual settlement of the district's desegregation case provided they are compensated for helping the district comply with court orders.

The membership of the Rockford Education Association, which had intervened in the case, voted this month to accept an interim agreement laying out legal guidelines for the case settlement and remedies. The R.E.A. was joined in its endorsement by the executive committees of union locals for clerical and custodial workers.

The agreement, also signed by the district and the plaintiffs in the case, calls for the teachers to be compensated, generally at a rate of $20 per hour, for any additional time spent undergoing training or providing tutoring as a result of the case settlement.

A previous settlement between the district and the plaintiffs--an organization of black and Hispanic parents called People Who Care--had been challenged by the unions because it called for district officials to override seniority provisions in collective-bargaining agreements for the sake of integrating staff.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit last year sided with the unions and threw out the settlement, noting that the district had agreed to override the contract provisions without first being found liable in the case.

Lawyers for People Who Care brought the case to trial last month in hopes that, by proving intentional discrimination in several areas of district operation, they could obtain the liability finding that would help the district justify its abrogation of contract provisions. (See Education Week, April 14, 1993.)


A much-disputed tentative contract agreement between the Warwick, R.I., school department and the Warwick Teachers Union should not have been put into effect, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has ruled.

The school department and the union have been battling over the tentative agreement since September 1991, when the school committee refused to ratify the agreement reached by its negotiators.

Last fall, the complex dispute erupted into two short strikes that resulted in some teachers being jailed for several days. (See Education Week, Oct. 14, 1992.)

The state supreme court's May 12 ruling upheld a decision by a superior court judge, who ruled that the school committee should not be bound by the agreement reached by its negotiators.

In the meantime, both sides are negotiating a new agreement under the terms of the previous, expired contract, said Mary Pendergast, the union's president.


A federal jury last week awarded a professor at City College of New York $400,000 in damages because the college violated his constitutional right to free speech.

Leonard Jeffries Jr. had sought $25 million in damages from the college, which removed him as chairman of its black-studies department last year after he made a speech in which he criticized Jews and whites. (See Education Week, Sept. 4, 1991.)

The jury had earlier ruled that the college violated Mr. Jeffries's First Amendment right to free speech.

Last week, college officials were weighing an appeal.


The Los Angeles Board of Education last week selected 37 schools to participate in the first phase of a reform plan devised by the Los Angeles Educational Alliance for Restructuring Now, known as LEARN.

The schools were chosen out of a pool of more than 100 that had expressed interest. To be selected, 75 percent of the teachers in the school had to agree to participate. (See Education Week, March 24, 1993.)

Although the LEARN plan calls for three clusters made up of high schools and their feeder schools to launch the reforms, there were no high schools among the schools selected last week.

One reason is that high schools were unable to win the support of enough teachers, officials said. The policymaking body of the United Teachers of Los Angeles voted last month to oppose the reform plan unless it is modified to incorporate specific references to teachers' rights and protections.

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