States News Roundup

March 08, 1989 2 min read

Michigan education officials say they expect to appeal a state judge’s decision stripping them of authority to regulate home schools.

Judge Thomas L. Brown ruled last month that the education department’s regulations on home schooling were vague and arbitrary. He directed the department to draw up new regulations, which he said would be subject to approval by the court.

The state regulations were challenged by a parent and the Clonlara School of Ann Arbor, which provides assistance to some 600 parents who teach their children at home.

They accused the state of harassing home schools by imposing standards that they said were more strict than those applied to other nonpublic schools--for example, by requiring them to provide 180 days of instruction each year by a state-certified teacher.

The state probably will appeal the ruling, according to Superintendent of Public Instruction Donald Bemis, because the court said it would have to approve the new regulations. That requirement violates the separation of powers embodied in state law, he said.

A Florida task force has completed its report on school safety without an agreement on what to do to limit the availability of guns to students.

But the panel, appointed last fall by Betty Castor, the state superintendent, plans to continue studying the issue.

In its report, released last month, the task force called on the legislature to expand an existing school-safety program throughout the state and to hire “prevention counselors” at middle schools. It also urged enactment of a law creating “safe-school zones” that would increase penalties for crimes committed within 1,000 feet of a school building.

A majority of members “felt the whole issue regarding guns and firearms in schools was beyond the schools and really needed more concentrated study,” said John Winn, director of the state department’s prevention center.

A subcommittee of the panel will study the issue further and “make broad-based recommendations, not just involving schools, to reduce the availability and use of guns among the young,” he said.

New York City schools cannot be held liable for injuries sustained by teachers assaulted on school grounds, the state’s highest court has found in two separate cases.

The Court of Appeals ruled last month that school districts should not be held to the same standards of negligence applied to landlords and other owners of private property. The cases involved assaults on two teachers in 1981 and 1983.

The city’s school board has taken several steps this year to improve security at certain high schools, following a rash of assaults on teachers.

A version of this article appeared in the March 08, 1989 edition of Education Week as States News Roundup