District News Roundup
Board Dismisses Teacher Who Won't Sign Loyalty Oath
A school board in Grove, Okla., has voted to dismiss a teacher who refused to sign a loyalty oath required of all state employees.
"It's a state law," said Jim Bradford, superintendent of the Grove school system. Since 1953, all state employees have been required to sign an oath of loyalty to the United States and Oklahoma. It is illegal for the state to pay employees unless they have signed the oath, Mr. Bradford said.
But apparently the school district had been issuing checks illegally for several years. Mr. Bradford said he was not aware of the law until last summer, and it was only then that he asked employees to sign the statement.
Russell Turley, a 4th-grade teacher in the system, was the only employee to refuse.
Although the school board voted Nov. 21 to dismiss Mr. Turley because he would not sign the statement, the superintendent said he told the teacher he was welcome to continue teaching his class, but that the district would not be able to pay him.
Mr. Turley did not return to school after the Thanksgiving holiday and has asked that a hearing panel review his complaint, Mr. Bradford said. The hearing panel is the first step in appealing a board decision.
The loyalty oath reads: "I do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma, and that I will faithfully discharge, according to the best of my ability, the duties of my office or employment."
Boston Commission Presents Plan For School Discipline
A citizens' commission that spent a year studying "the disruption, violence, and fear" in Boston public schools last week offered a 12-point discipline program to combat the problems.
The Boston Commission on Safe Public Schools, an eight-member citizens' panel, was established last year by the Boston Committee, a group appointed by the mayor to address community problems, at the request of Superintendent Robert R. Spillane.
According to Paul C. Reardon, chairman of the commission and a former state supreme court justice, the group has proposed three "key" solutions:
A short, simple code of standards of behavior to be used in all schools as 'a springboard' for teaching self-discipline and respect for others;
Penalties to deal more severely with the possession of weapons and the use of force; and
The placement of adult monitors on school buses where there has been disorder.
During the commission's tenure, it held nine public hearings and surveyed more than 500 high-school students and 500 Boston teachers.
Judge Rules Against Political Message In Board Newsletter
A federal judge has ruled that a school board in New Jersey broke the law when it included a political message in a weekly newsletter it sends home with students.
U.S. District Judge John Bissell issued an order last month prohibiting the South Bound Brook Board of Education from spending public funds and using students to distrib-ute notices related to partisan political activities.
Last spring, the newsletter, which normally contains the week's lunch menu and official school notices, included a request that parents write to their state assemblymen opposing a bill that would have expanded teachers' bargaining rights.
In response, a local teachers' union, the Robert Morris Education Association, sued the board charging that it had misused public funds by promoting its position on a political matter in the newsletter and that the action violated the teachers' constitutional right to a "fair and equal opportunity to provide differing and opposing viewpoints."
Judge Bissell ordered the board to include the teacher association's views on the legislation in an upcoming issue of the newsletter.
School Board Backs McCafeteria Plan
Next fall, when a "Big Mac Attack" strikes students and teachers at Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) High School, relief will be a step away.
Last week, the Broward County School Board approved an arrangement with the McDonald's Corporation to open a restaurant in the school's cafeteria in September 1984.
It is only the second such arrangement in the country, although there "may be plans on the drawing board" for other McCafeterias, according to Stephanie Skurdy, a spokesman for McDonald's.
The corporation's first formal partnership with a public school was launched a year ago at Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School in Lexington, Mass.; "so far, it has been very successful," said Ms. Skurdy.
Under the agreement in Ft. Lauderdale, the high school will receive $6,000 a year for allowing the franchise to operate in the cafeteria and 3 percent of the gross sales above $525,000, said Ms. Skurdy.
"The major benefit is the training our youngsters will receive," said Sallie Faloon, principal of the high school. Students in the home economics department's advanced food-production courses will spend part of their classroom time working at various jobs in the campus restaurant and will be favored for entry-level management jobs with the fast-food chain.
School officials also expect more students to stay on campus during the lunch hour to eat at the McDonald's.
The cafeteria is open during the lunch hour and in the evening, when adult-education classes are held. It is not open to the public.
The only complaint so far, Ms. Faloon said, has been from the owner of a pizza shop near the school.
The Baltimore City Public Schools have received an unusual anonymous gift that will help bolster attendance.
With the $100,000 gift, officials will make two $5,000 awards each year to the junior-high, middle-, or senior-high schools that have the greatest percentage of increase in attendance for staff and students.
The awards will be made each September, and the staff and principal of the schools can decide how the money will be used, according to Ann O. Emery, assistant superintendent for public information and communication.
Troy, N.C., Principal
Two teachers at the 700-student Troy (N.C.) Elementary School asked to be transferred to other schools when they learned that the school's principal had "bugged" the faculty lounge since 1981.
The electronic eavesdropping device was found by four teachers last month and was immediately taken to Larry T. Ivey, superintendent of schools.
A closed session of the county board of education resulted in "an undisclosed disciplinary action" against the principal, Charles E. Russell, Mr. Ivey said.
"My initial reaction was anger, disappointment, and concern for everyone involved. No one approves of or condones that kind of action at any time," he added.
Mr. Russell apologized to teachers at a faculty meeting last month.
New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch, calling education programs for handicapped children a growing burden on the city budget, has asked the state legislature to create a special committee to study those programs.
The mayor and other members of his administration have criticized changes made by the former U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in the definition of handicapped children in regulations for the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.
City officials said the cost of educating handicapped children increased from $231 million in 1978 to $576 million in 1984, more than 17 percent of the city's $3.5-billion education budget, in large part because of the addition of "emotionally handicapped" children to the program. One official said the handicapped-education budget could increase by $30 million more in the next year.
The mayor said he wanted to "separate the wheat from the chaff" in handicapped programs. And Deputy Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. said that including emotionally handicapped children in the definition "stigmatized" other students.
Legislative leaders said they would consider Mr. Koch's proposal.
Vol. 03, Issue 13