Cities News Roundup
The superintendent of schools and the school board in Union City, N.J., have ordered schools to quit using a program in which local newspapers are distributed in city schools, even if they are given free of charge.
The elementary-school principal who initiated the program in the district, Thomas Highton of Jefferson School, said last week he will not challenge the decision.
Mr. Highton consulted the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and was told the board was "within its prerogative" in making the decision. "There's not really anything else I can do about it," he said.
The city board of education voted 4-2 on Feb. 2 to cancel the Newspaper in Education program, which was established locally in December.
Genevieve Ghignone, president of the school board, said the two papers used--The Dispatch of Union City and the Jersey Journal of Jersey City--"had no items of educational value."
Dissenting board members and Mr. Highton charged that the board majority ordered the papers out of the schools because of their reporting about the federal racketeering trial of Union City's mayor, a former school-board president.
Approximately 600 newspapers nationwide participate in the national Newspaper in Education program, which is sponsored by the American Newspaper Publishers Association, a spokesman for the group said. The publishers' association does not intend to challenge the decision, the spokesman added.
School officials in Jefferson County, Ky., where a strip-search of fourth-grade students last fall provoked a public uproar and threats of lawsuits, recently adopted new regulations governing student searches.
Student searches are to be used only when other investigative techniques have been exhausted, according to the new regulations. The new rules specifically prohibit teachers from conducting group searches or searches that require disrobing to the skin. Strip-searches can be conducted only by principals in the presence of police officers.
The new regulations also spell out the conditions under which a teacher or school official may conduct student searches: there must be a reasonable suspicion of misconduct; a second employee must witness the act; embarrassment of the student must be avoided; and the search must be reported to the principal as soon as possible.
If the search results in disciplinary action against the student, the student's parents or guardians must be informed either in writing or in person.
As the number of administrators in the Dallas school district proliferated in the 1970's, so did the number of titles.
Today, Dallas has some 900 administrators bearing 55 different titles, in-cluding such esoterica as "deputy associate superintendent," "deputy assistant superintendent," "senior planner," and "senior analyst."
Linus Wright, superintendent of schools, wants to cut the administration--and its tangle of titles--down to size.
"We need clearer lines of authority in this district," he said. "We want to put ourselves in a position where titles mean something again. The way things are now, it is difficult to tell who has authority and who doesn't."
By the time Mr. Wright's proposed reorganization is in place next fall, the district will have about 200 fewer administrators and--perhaps more important to the employees who now must negotiate the maze of reporting responsibility--no more than a dozen administrative titles.
Vol. 01, Issue 23