News in Brief: A National Roundup

April 30, 2003 5 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

National Technology Group To Promote Online Learning

A new organization to support the development of K-12 online learning, supported by two leading foundations with an interest in technology, made its debut last week.

The 17-member board of directors of the North American Council for Online Learning is made up of leaders of online schools or consortia and state education officials.

The council will provide “collegial expertise and leadership in K-12 online teaching and learning,” according to a statement released by the group.

Administrative support for the council will come from the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications, a Boulder, Colo.- based nonprofit membership group that encourages the use of educational telecommunications.

The start-up of the new group was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

—Andrew Trotter

District Didn’t Violate Rights In Petition Dispute, Court Rules

A Pennsylvania school district did not violate a student’s First Amendment right of free speech when teachers told her to stop collecting signatures for a petition in opposition to a class field trip to the circus, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Amanda Walker-Serrano, a 3rd grader at Lackawanna Trail Elementary School in 1999, opposed the trip to the Shriner’s circus because she and her parents believed it was cruel to animals. Thirty classmates signed the petition, but Amanda’s teachers told her to put it away when she was gathering signatures during a class reading period and on the playground during recess.

Her parents sued the 1,400-student Lackawanna Trail district, as well as several school employees, in federal district court in Scranton, Pa., alleging a violation of the First Amendment. But the school district argued that the 3rd grader was never punished, and that she and her mother were allowed to distribute coloring books and stickers dealing with cruelty to circus animals the day before the field trip took place.

The district court ruled for the school officials, and in an April 15 decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, in Philadelphia, unanimously agreed that the girl had suffered no First Amendment violation.

—Mark Walsh

Columbine Victims’ Families Unveil Plans for Memorial

The families of victims killed in the Columbine High School shootings have unveiled plans for a memorial to be built near the school.

Organizers say the memorial to those killed in the April 20, 1999, attacks will be built on about an acre in a park adjacent to the Jefferson County, Colo., school. Twelve students and a teacher were killed in the attacks. The two student gunmen then killed themselves.

The 28-member Columbine Memorial Committee worked for three years on the design. It will feature an inner “Ring of Remembrance” with testimonials to each of the 13 victims and an outer “Ring of Healing” with additional quotes and text.

Bob Easton, the chairman of the committee, said in a statement that the panel would now seek to raise the estimated $3 million to build the memorial.

—Ann Bradley

Tiger Woods Donates $5 Million To Build Learning Center in Calif.

Tiger Woods plans to spend $5 million for an education center that will open next fall in California.

The $25 million Tiger Woods Learning Center will be open 12 hours a day and offer academic tutoring in mathematics, language arts, and science. Self-esteem and character-development classes also will be offered.

Located at the H.G. “Dad” Miller Golf Course in Anaheim, the center will be next to a 23-acre site that will be used for golf instruction.

Mr. Woods, who at age 27 is already the world’s most recognizable and successful professional golfer, was a member of the Western High School golf team in Anaheim during the 1990s.

The center will open under the auspices of the Tiger Woods Foundation, an organization established in 1996 by Mr. Woods and his father. Officials plan a campaign to raise money to cover the remainder of the costs.

—John Gehring

Mass. Charges Students With Civil Rights Violations

Ten Boston middle school students are the subject of a civil rights complaint filed by the Massachusetts attorney general, who alleges that they attacked fellow students because of their race and ethnicity.

The accused—seven black girls, one Hispanic girl, and two black boys all between the ages of 12 and 14— allegedly ganged up on and verbally and physically assaulted other students, including a white girl, two Afghan girls, and a girl from Liberia.

A Feb. 27 attack outside the 750-student Grover Cleveland Middle School in the city’s Dorchester section left one of the Afghan students with a broken arm, black eyes, and bruises on her face.

The complaint, filed in Suffolk Superior Court, seeks an injunction that would prohibit the 10 former and current Grover Cleveland students “from assaulting, intimidating, or threatening any person because of their actual or perceived ethnic or racial background.”

The state attorney general’s office also said the alleged assailants face criminal charges.

—Darcia Harris Bowman

ACLU Sues N.M. District Over Teachers’ Suspensions

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against the Albuquerque school district on behalf of four educators who were suspended last month for posting anti-war messages in their classrooms or offices. (“War Lessons Call for Delicate Balance,” March 26, 2003.)

Filed in U.S. District Court on April 18, the suit alleges that the teachers’ First Amendment rights were violated. It asks for back pay and the removal of letters of reprimand from their employment files.

The teachers at Rio Grande and Highland high schools and a counselor for the district were each suspended for up to several days for violating the district’s policy on handling controversial issues.

The district was in the process of reviewing the teachers’ appeals of the suspensions, according to spokesman Rigo Chavez, who called the lawsuit “unfortunate.”

—Kathleen Kennedy Manzo

Federal Judge Orders District To Allow Clubs to Meet

The school board in Boyd County, Ky., had not decided last week whether to appeal a federal judge’s injunction permitting a Gay-Straight Alliance to meet at the local high school.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning in Ashland ruled on April 18 that Boyd County High School must allow the alliance and other school clubs to start meeting. In December, following weeks of controversy over the club, the school board voted to suspend all clubs in the district. (“Ky. Protests Highlight Increasing Visibility of Gay-Straight Clubs,” Nov. 27, 2002.)

The preliminary injunction was requested by the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued that the ban was an unconstitutional attempt to shut out students who sought to form the gay-straight group and violated state and federal law.

Bill Capehart, the superintendent of the 3,500-student district, said last week that the preliminary injunction expires on June 13, the last day of the school year. The school board is set to discuss whether to appeal the decision at its May 5 meeting.

—Ann Bradley

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP
Education Massachusetts National Guard to Help With Busing Students to School
250 guard personnel will be available to serve as drivers of school transport vans, as districts nationwide struggle to hire enough drivers.
1 min read
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass. Mass. Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021, activated the state's National Guard to help with busing students to school as districts across the country struggle to hire enough drivers.
Massachusetts National Guard soldiers help with logistics in this Friday, April 17, 2020 file photo, at a food distribution site outside City Hall, in Chelsea, Mass.
Michael Dwyer/AP