News Briefs

May 01, 2003 1 min read

Parent Patrol

Dismayed that 12,000 to 15,000 of its students are absent each day without valid excuses, the Philadelphia school district has hired 170 parents to help solve its truancy problem, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Trained to track down skippers and paid $9 an hour for their efforts, the parents visit kids’ homes to inform families of the penalties and discuss counseling options.

Forbidden Fruit

It seems Florida teacher Colin Nicholas crossed the line between “innovative” and “inappropriate” earlier this year when he dimmed the lights, cued the music, and gave his 9th grade sex education class a condom demonstration, with the help of a banana. After parents complained, he explained that his intent was to present situations his students might encounter. Unimpressed, the Collier County school board fired him in January, writes the Associated Press.

Batted Away

And they’rrre out! Massachusetts has banned the use of aluminum bats at its high school baseball championships this spring and is mandating wooden bats at all levels of play as of next season. Safety concerns prompted the decision: In recent years, several players have been seriously injured after being struck with balls hit by aluminum bats, which travel faster than those whacked by wooden ones. Many coaches oppose the switch, claiming that there is no clear evidence that metal bats cause more injuries and warning that the easily broken wooden bats will cost more.

Walking Papers

Read it and weep: That’s what Carlos Lopez, superintendent of the York, Pennsylvania, school system, wants high school dropouts to do when they receive his “undiploma.” Each certificate declares that the recipient may lose up to $420,000 in lifetime earnings as a result of working in low-paying jobs. Ultimately, Lopez hopes to convince students to stay in school. “Sometimes you have to hit people right between the eyes that this is a life-altering decision,” he told the Associated Press.