News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
New Federally Financed Center To Study Disabled Students in Juvenile-Justice System
The Department of Education has teamed up with the University of Maryland to create a national center to study the needs of disabled students in the juvenile-justice system.
The National Center on Education, Disability, and Juvenile Justice will provide research, technical assistance, and training to help educators and others better understand how to prevent youth crimes and rehabilitate students with disabilities.
The Education Department and the Department of Justice are financing the project jointly, at a cost of $500,000 a year for five years. The center was first funded last October, but federal officials waited to announce the initiative until the center opened this month.
Education Department officials said such a facility was needed because of the rising number of students with disabilities who are incarcerated. In 1996, 15,930 students with disabilities were being held in correctional facilities, a 28 percent increase from 1992, according to the Department.
The University of Kentucky, Arizona State University, the American Institutes for Research, and the PACER parent-advocacy center in Minneapolis will also take part in the project.
—Joetta L. Sack
Administration Sends Religion Guidelines to Schools
The Clinton administration has mailed every public school in the nation a packet of guidelines outlining permissible forms of religious expression in public education.
"I have never believed the Constitution required our schools to be religion-free zones, or that our children must check their faiths at the schoolhouse door," President Clinton said in announcing the mailing in a radio address last month.
The core of the packet is a set of guidelines on religious expression in schools released by Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley in 1995 and reissued in 1998. The guidelines stress that students may pray before meals and read Bibles or other religious documents in study halls, for example.
In addition, the packet contains several publications from the Department of Education and from the First Amendment Center of the Freedom Forum, an Arlington, Va.-based foundation. The publications include parents' and teachers' guides to religion in the public schools.
The full texts of all documents in the packet are available from the Education Department's World Wide Web site at http://www.ed.gov/inits/religionandschools/guides.html.
— Mark Walsh
Vol. 19, Issue 17, Page 27