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A California state appeals court struck down the Santa Barbara district's $35 charges for extracurricular activities, ruling that the activities are an "important part" of the schools' regular curriculum and are protected under a state constitutional provision for free education (See Education Week, Nov. 10, 1982.)

District officials, who contended that the after-school activities were not necessary to complete academic requirements in the schools, said they will appeal the decision to the state supreme court.

Jack Howell, Santa Barbara's assistant school superintendent, said the district started charging the $35 fees only to keep all after-school programs alive during budget difficulties. He said the district might now consider cutting some activities.

Immediately after the ruling on Nov. 5, San Juan school superintendent Fred Stewart asked the San Juan board of education to rescind its $40 charges for after-school activities.

The San Juan fees are being challenged in Superior Court.

The books are not yet closed on Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark school-desegregation case first decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1954.

U.S. District Judge Richard D. Rogers said this month that information about alleged racial discrimination in faculty and student assignments, curricula, and school facilites in the 1940's may be relevant to the reopened suit against the Topeka, Kan., school board.

Judge Rogers gave the school board a month to determine how difficult it would be to produce the evidence requested by the plaintiffs, according to Don R. O'Neil, associate superintendent of schools. "He's trying to balance what it is they think they can gain against how burdensome it would be to get at the information," Mr. O'Neil said.

A hearing on that question has been scheduled for early December.

The black plaintiffs, contending that the district has not eliminated all vestiges of segregation despite the 1954 order, reopened the suit in 1979. The plaintiffs include Linda Brown Smith, who as a child was involved in the original suit.

The Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery School District recently voted to delay its proposal to charge tuition of students who live at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point to offset cuts in federal aid.

The decision to postpone mailing tuition bills was made after Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell told the superintendent of the 1,200-student district that he would review the situation.

Earlier, the Justice Department filed suit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to block the tuition plan.

The Seattle school board has proposed strict guidelines prohibiting the promotion of religion in the public schools.

The board's action, taken earlier this month, was prompted by visits last year to suburban school districts by Christian members of the Seattle Seahawks professional football team. The players, in the schools on the pretext of holding sports assemblies, used the occasion to extol the virtues of Jesus Christ and the Christian faith, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington charged. (See Education Week, May 12, 1982.)

Board members were also upset by the performance of a band in Seattle's Franklin High School. The band, whose appearance was approved by the school's principal, performed songs that told of the coming of Christ.

The real showstopper came when the lead singer donned a monkey mask to ridicule the theory of evolution.

That won't be happening anymore under the guidelines, designed to bolster existing United States and Washington constitutional mandates for the separation of church and state.

The proposed guidelines would stop classroom displays of such items as manger scenes, crucifixes, crescents, and the Star of David, and prohibit instruction seen as a promotion of religion. The proposal would also prevent the questioning of a student about his or her religious beliefs.

National Public Radio has cancelled "Options in Education" as of the end of January.(See Education Week, Nov. 2, 1981.)

The eight-year-old, award-winning program was broadcast twice each week and featured a wide array of education topics.

A spokesman for npr cited budget cuts as the reason for the cancellation.

John G. Merrow, founder of the program, left the show in May to devote most of his time to "Your Children, My Children," an upcoming Public Broadcasting Service series.

Massachusetts Commissioner of Education John H. Lawson reaffirmed his commitment to curbing acts of religious, ethnic, and racial bigotry in the public schools at a conference last month, announcing that he would initiate a study of the incidents and ways of combating them.

Alarmed by the rise in such incidents in the past year, Mr. Lawson sent letters to school superintendents throughout the state in September, urging them to enforce strict disciplinary measures against students involved the acts. (See Education Week, Sept. 8, 1982).

During the meeting of state and local civic leaders, Mr. Lawson said that the results of the study would be made available to the public schools. The conference was sponsored by the state Commission Against Discrimination and the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith.

As in Massachusetts, school officials in Oroville, Calif. find that they must also develop a strategy for countering the "hate leaflets" distributed to elementary-school students last month.

The situation was compounded by the harrassment of black students through threatening telephone calls. To date, they have established patrols around the school, and held discussions about racism with students.

In connection with the leaflets, police have been investigating the fatal shooting of a local teenager who had provided police with the names of persons suspected of distributing the Nazi-style literature at the school.

Vol. 02, Issue 11

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