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Escalante Retires

Jaime Escalante, the California educator whose successes with inner-city teenagers were dramatized in the 1987 film Stand and Deliver, has retired from classroom teaching. The 66-year-old mathematics teacher, who wrapped up his 35-year career on June 12, plans to continue working in education as a teacher educator. Escalante gained fame at Garfield High School in Los Angeles, where he helped many poor Hispanic youngsters excel in Advanced Placement calculus. By 1987, only three other schools in the nation were producing more AP calculus students than Garfield. In 1991, Escalante, wanting to try his teaching methods on other students, moved north to Hiram Johnson High School in Sacramento. But he never achieved there what he'd accomplished at Garfield.

Watch Your Words

As schools nationwide take a zero-tolerance stance toward threats of violence, one teacher has learned the hard way that educators are just as accountable for their words as students. While on cafeteria duty at Ranier Middle School in Auburn, Washington, band teacher Dan Bowerly jokingly threatened to kill several students. Bowerly told the kids to clear their table, and when they asked what would happen if they refused, he said he'd give them detentions. When they asked what would happen if they still refused, he reportedly said: "If you wanted to argue it some more, I'd take you out and shoot you." Within an hour of making those comments, Bowerly apologized to the students and said he'd been joking. But district superintendent Linda Cowan, citing the district's no-tolerance policy, put Bowerly on three days of administrative leave while she looked into the matter. "Our investigation did find he had no action intended whatsoever," the superintendent says. "He was extremely apologetic, contrite, repentant, s

The Safest Place

Despite the spate of campus shootings over the past school year, the number of school-related violent deaths has not increased since 1992, according to a new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Justice Policy Institute. Between 1992 and 1995, there were 42 school-related fatalities per year on average. The average since then has been 33. The overwhelming majority of juvenile killings--some 90 percent--occur at home, says the report, which drew on a wide range of federal data sources. Institute Director Vincent Schiraldi said that intensive news coverage of fatal school shootings during the past year left a false impression that violent crime on campuses was escalating. Schools, he said, are still the safest place for children.

Candid Camera

Female students and coaches who were unknowingly videotaped undressing in a visitors' locker room at Clinch County High School in Valdosta, Georgia, have filed a $9 million lawsuit in U.S. District Court. The suit names the Clinch County schools' media specialist, the former principal, the girls' basketball coach, the athletic director, and the former district superintendent. The nine plaintiffs--all members or coaches of the Lanier County High School girls' basketball team or cheerleading squad--contend that the defendants violated federal and state privacy laws by conspiring to tape them without their knowledge in January 1996. The plaintiffs say they have suffered "great humiliation, embarrassment, and mental pain" as a result of the incident. Henry Moreland, current superintendent of the 1,500-student district, said that the cameras, which school officials had installed to catch locker room thieves, were removed in July 1996.

Coaches Score

Two prominent high school track coaches have settled a libel suit against parents who accused them of giving student athletes performance-enhancing drugs. Linda and Arthur Kranick, married science teachers at Saratoga Springs High School in New York, were awarded $67,500 in the settlement; they had sought $17 million. In 1994, the Kranicks filed suit against William and Camille Karl--parents of two of the Kranicks' runners--for accusing them of dispensing performance-enhancing drugs to their athletes. The charges were aired nationally because the Kranicks had led the school to a host of state championships.

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