News Update

November 22, 1989 2 min read

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has upheld the involuntary transfer of 114 DeKalb County, Ga., teachers as part of that district’s effort to desegregate its schools.

A federal judge ordered the transfers this summer before the 11th Circuit ruled in a separate action that the DeKalb County school district must take further steps to racially balance school enrollments. (See Education Week, Oct. 25, 1989.)

In its ruling this month, the 11th Circuit panel also denied requests by teachers’ groups to become a party to the case, but said the groups could ask the lower court for permission to join the case in light of its earlier decision not to allow the case to be closed.

An independent accounting firm has called for new elections in six of Chicago’s local school-council races after finding such irregularities as electioneering too close to polling places and the intimidation of voters, according to a spokesman for the district.

After examining 132 challenges to elections held in more than 500 local schools, the accounting firm also overturned the results of four races and declared ties in four others, the spokesman said.

Names will be drawn out of a hat to break the ties, and new elections will be held for the disputed seats later this fall, he said.

The elections were held to fill seats representing parents, teachers, and community residents on the 11-member councils, which will have the power to hire and fire principals, set budgets, and develop school-improvement plans. (See Education Week, Oct. 18, 1989.)

Four students have been recommended for expulsion and one teacher is being reassigned in the wake of a violent, racially motivated outburst at Minor High School in Birmingham, Ala., last month. (See Education Week, Oct. 25, 1989.)

Following the incident--in which the school’s principal and a student were stabbed--Herb Sang, superintendent of the Jefferson County Schools, recommended that Alvin Bonds, an auto-mechanics instructor, be dismissed for firing a gun in the air during the fight. The school board, however, reversed the decision because “they felt that the policy on bringing guns to school was not clear in the employee handbook,” Mr. Sang said.

Instead, the board voted to have Mr. Bond reassigned and sent a letter of reprimand. Furthermore, said Mr. Sang, the board recommended that a new policy be written clearly prohibiting employees from carrying weapons.

Two or three police officers continue to patrol the campus part time, but school is basically back to normal, Mr. Sang said.

A state judge in El Paso, Tex., has dismissed a lawsuit against the Canutillo Public Schools challenging the district’s dress-code policy.

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union had filed the suit on behalf of two students who had been punished for wearing their hair below the collar in violation of a new district policy. (See Education Week, Oct. 18, 1989.)

The mother of one student, Ted Murgatroyd, claimed that a teacher gave her son a haircut at school when he refused to comply with the code.

School officials changed the policy after parents complained it was too restrictive.

Because of the policy change, Judge Edward Marquez of the 65th District Court granted a motion by district lawyers to dismiss the suit.

A version of this article appeared in the November 22, 1989 edition of Education Week as News Update