State News Roundup

April 19, 1989 2 min read

A high-school student magazine that was banned by officials of a Long Island district should be released to the public, Thomas Sobol, commissioner of education for New York State, ordered last week.

Mr. Sobol also urged local districts statewide to adopt standards for student publications that are less stringent than those established by a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year, according to a spokesman.

The Court’s ruling in Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier broadened school officials’ ability to censor student publications.

Even so, Mr. Sobol argued, “the existence of such power does not in itself compel the exercise of that power.”

Mr. Sobol said the superintendent of the Northport-East Northport Union Free School District acted improperly when he blocked the release of a student art magazine at a 1987 school festival.

Superintendent William J. Brosnan said he pulled the magazine out of the festival after finding “vulgarity most parents would not allow” in a student’s article.

The student appealed to the commissioner, who determined that the article was not “obscene, libelous, or a threat to the educational process.”

Although the rate of reported school crimes in California decreased between 1985 and 1988, more students brought weapons onto campuses, according to a report by the state education department.

School districts reported a total of 162,061 crimes committed on campuses or at school activities during the 1987-88 academic year.

The study was the third in a series of annual reports and the first to include statistics from every school district in the state.

The total for 1987-88 was below the 167,733 incidents reported in 1985-86, but above the 157,597 cases in 1986-87.

There were an average of 20.7 incidents per school last year, the study estimated. Junior-high and middle schools showed the highest crime rate.

The study found a sharp decline in reported cases of substance abuse. But the number of weapons discovered on campus rose by 12 percent between 1986-87 and last year.

Economic losses to schools from crimes totaled $24.5 million in 1987-88, the report indicated.

Some suburban school systems in Minnesota are planning to resist an effort by 48 property-poor districts to overturn the state’s school-funding mechanism.

The poorer districts contend in a lawsuit filed last October that the legislature has not provided for a uniform system of education as required by the state constitution.

Seven suburban districts have already voted to intervene against the suit, and up to a dozen more are expected to join the effort.

Superintendent Burt Nygren of Mounds View, one of the seven, said he was concerned that the suit, if successful, could cause his district to lose the local tax referendum and a state-paid supplement to districts based on the number of experienced teachers.

But the suburban districts are not opposed to greater equity for the property-poor districts, Mr. Nygren insisted.

A version of this article appeared in the April 19, 1989 edition of Education Week as State News Roundup