District News Roundup
Agreement Averts Strike By Portland, Ore., Teachers
Heading off a strike, the Portland, Ore., school district has reached a bargaining agreement with its teachers that grants modest raises and preserves seniority rights.
The Portland Association of Teachers ratified a three-year contract with the 57,000-student district at a March 26 meeting that originally was to have included a strike-authorization vote.
After working under an expired contract since July, the district's 3,700 teachers will receive retroactive 2 percent raises this year and 1.5 percent increases next year.
Confidential Drug Testing
State police are helping parents in an Oregon county spot teen drug or alcohol abuse by letting them bring in their children's urine for confidential testing.
Since launching the pilot initiative in southern Coos County a year ago, the state police lab has tested roughly 200 samples. Forty-three percent have come up positive for drugs or alcohol, nine out of 10 having used marijuana.
The program is believed to be the only one of its kind in the country. State police are considering expanding it to at least four other counties.
The superintendent of the Philadelphia schools has asked his top aides to establish residency in the city by July 1997 or lose their jobs.
In a memo to the City Council, Superintendent David W. Hornbeck said he hoped the policy "contributes to a stronger, unified political voice from City Council and the wider citizenry in support of public education."
Council members in recent months have urged the superintendent to enact a residency requirement to ensure that Philadelphia's top education officials have a greater stake in the success of the 200,000-student district.
Explicit AIDS Presentation
A New Jersey district said it will never again invite the AIDS activist who gave an explicit safe-sex talk at a high school there last month.
During the presentation at Hillsborough High School, River Huston, a poet and safe-sex educator who is HIV-positive, reportedly slid a condom over a purple sex toy with her mouth and led students in chanting a sexual expletive. A district official said Ms. Huston had participated for several years without problem in the school's annual "diversity day," when students attend seminars on topics of their choice.
Robert Gulick, the superintendent of the 5,900-student Hillsborough district in northern New Jersey, said this year's presentation "went over the edge. I abhor what this so-called educator presented to our students," he said.
Ms. Huston responded that her presentation was no more explicit than in past years. "I was giving really important and useful information," she said.
Sealed With a Kiss
Two Florida 5th graders will have to be chaperoned by their parents to a state choral competition after confessing to school officials that they kissed each other.
Ashley Burdick and David Cruz, both 11, were suspended from Atlantis Elementary School, in Port St. John, for one day late last month after admitting the kiss to teachers, said Debbie Burdick, Ashley's mother.
A handbook of school rules states that "public affection is in poor taste" and that students who engage in such acts may be suspended if they continue after a warning.
School officials have said the children's parents must chaperone them to the choir's upcoming overnight trip to Tallahassee. Officials said the two students and their parents have to provide their own transportation and lodging, due to limited space.
The Brevard County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union complained to Superintendent David Sawyer that neither student had been given a fair warning and that further disciplinary action should be dropped.