News Updates

September 25, 1991 1 min read

By broadening its nondiscrimination policy, the San Francisco school board has effectively barred the Boy Scouts of America from offering instructional programs in the district’s schools.

While it does not specifically mention the Boy Scouts, the resolution, adopted 5 to 1 on Sept. 13, states that any “organizations, associations, and independent contractors” that provide educational programs, activities, or services must have the same nondiscrimination policy as the district’s.

Board policy says the school district “shall not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, creed, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or handicapping condition.” The Boy Scouts bars homosexuals and requires members to subscribe to an “obligation to God.”

The issued flared recently with the Scouts’ announcement of plans to offer an in-school curriculum package called “Learning for Life.” Under Boy Scout policy, adults who lead the program, including public-school teachers, must meet the same leadership standards as scoutmasters, who may not be homosexuals or atheists. (See Education Week, Sept. 4, 1991 .)

Learning for Life will supplant a national “in-school scouting” program, in which scoutmasters teach life skills to students during the instructional day, that had been conducted for several years in San Francisco and other districts. At least five public elementary schools in San Francisco carried the program, said Tom Ammiano, the school-board member who drafted the Sept. 13 resolution.

The board’s vote does not affect Boy Scout programs conducted before or after school hours, Mr. Ammiano said.

At least 18 Massachusetts school districts have agreed to accept a total of more than 640 transfer students under the state’s new school-choice law, early figures show. (See Education Week, Sept. 11, 1991.)

As of the first week of September, the controversial law had cost the 59 districts that lost students more than $4 million in state aid, announced State Senator Arthur E. Chase, a Republican from Worcester who is tracking the effects of the choice law.

Among the hardest-hit communities was Gloucester, which lost 67 students and 38 percent of its state aid.

The Avon district, by contrast, gained 127 students and almost 500 percent more aid.

A version of this article appeared in the September 25, 1991 edition of Education Week as News Updates