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In Connecticut, 169 school districts and more than 100 other public and private organizations that serve children have begun to receive directories of missing children. New Jersey education groups sent out directories to schools earlier this fall (see Education Week, Oct. 26, 1983).

Published by Child Find, an organization in New Paltz, N.Y., that helps locate missing children, the directory is being distributed by the Connecticut Department of Education, according to Jean Campbell of the department's division of secondary and elementary education.

Representative Paul Simon, Democrat of Illinois, last month introduced in the Congress the Missing Children's Assistance Act. The bill would authorize $10 million in seed money to: set up a national toll-free hotline for reporting information on missing children; establish a national resource center to help state and local governments and provide information on successful approaches used to locate children; and help agencies conduct research and voluntary fingerprinting.

The bill also calls for a national policy to help coordinate federal, state, and local rescue and prevention efforts. "This is the beginning of an early-warning system for missing children," said Representative Simon, who also sponsored the Missing Children Act passed last winter, in a prepared statement. Senators Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennslyvania, and Paula Hawkins, Republican of Florida, have introduced companion legislation.

New Jersey Officials 'Fold' Beginners' Poker Class

"The Gambler" in a recent popular country-and-western song advised that "you gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em."

School administrators in an East Windsor, N.J., elementary school seemingly followed the advice in deciding to cancel an 8th-grade poker-playing course following com-plaints from parents and charges of "lunacy" by a group that helps compulsive gamblers.

According to recent press reports, East Windsor Schools Superintendent Edgar Thomas said the belief that "students should explore a number of things" was the impetus for the controversial course.

Pupils in the not-for-credit class used paper betting chips and learned the difference between flushes, straights, and full housesduring the grading period that ended Nov. 9.

Steven McLaine, principal of Grace Norton Rogers School, said the class took place during an "activity period" held three out of every six days. Approximately 12 students played cards in groups of four while other students were involved in woodworking, music, and art classes.

The students played about five hands a day for two days before a representative of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, a private organization, complained to Mr. McLaine. The sessions were cancelled shortly thereafter.

"I really don't feel like we set up something and said, 'Hey, let's teach the kids how to gamble,"' Mr. McLaine told reporters.

"I guess the kids know about poker and wanted to know how the game was played."

But a spokesman for the anti-gambling group responded: "It's lunacy to spend a period of the school day teaching gambling."

Vol. 03, Issue 13

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