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Va.'s Parent 'Contract' Draws a Challenge in Court

The parents of a Virginia student have filed a lawsuit claiming that a new state-required "parental-responsibility contract" infringes on their religious beliefs.

Deloras and Thomas Whitt, who are Southern Baptists, object to the law requiring parents to review the school's discipline code with their children, according to their lawyer, Dean Whitford. Parents who fail to send in a form acknowledging their pledge would face a $50 fine under the new law. The Whitts sued the Roanoke County school board in federal district court this month.

Joseph B. Obenshain, a lawyer for the school district, said the policy simply asks parents to know the school's rules. "To say parents are to be involved in the school system," he said, "is no different than requiring children to understand the rules of the road when they get a driver's license."

Adult-Education Cuts

Michigan school districts are feeling the effects of changes in adult-education funding ordered by the state legislature.

Officials in Detroit said that adult-education services there may be cut by more than one-third this year, leaving fewer classes and teachers for adults wanting to receive a high school diploma.

State lawmakers have limited spending for adult education at $185 million a year. At the same time, they have increased the minimum number of classroom hours required for a district to be eligible for its $5,500 per-student funding.

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