News Briefs

November 01, 2002 1 min read

Word Problem

Wilmington, North Carolina, school officials punished a 4th grade teacher in September for describing a stingy literary character as “niggardly” during a class discussion, according to the Associated Press. After Williams Elementary School teacher Stephanie Bell used the word, an African American parent claimed that it was offensive because it sounds like the racial slur “nigger.” Although “niggardly” has no etymological connection to the epithet, the school has demanded that Bell refrain from using it and participate in sensitivity training.

Poor Scores

Most charter school students perform worse than public school pupils on basic reading and math exams, according to a new Brookings Institution study. Charter school kids did better in only two of the 10 states examined: Pennsylvania and Colorado. The report’s author told the Denver Post that the findings may be a reflection of the high number of at-risk students enrolled in charter schools.

Symbol Clash

To Rebecca Moreno, her Wiccan pentacle necklace was simply a symbol of her faith. But officials at Waxahachie High School in northern Texas, citing a policy prohibiting jewelry with “disruptive” imagery, suspended the freshman twice for wearing it, reports the Associated Press. Ultimately, the district superintendent ruled that Moreno, whose family practices the religion, can wear the necklace. “While the Wiccan faith may not be the majority religion in our community, our board policies protect all faiths,” he said.

Hold the Fries

Nine out of the 10 largest school districts aren’t providing the kind of healthy lunches that help prevent obesity. That’s the conclusion of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which recently studied the meals available in elementary school cafeterias. Broward County, Florida, was the bright spot on the list, earning top marks for its salad bars and calcium-fortified juices.