Teacher strikes in several school districts across the nation have been settled, but new strike activity has disrupted the schooling of thousands more students. (See Education Week, Sept. 12, 1984.)
In Michigan, strikes in Grand Rapids and Anchor Bay were settled last week. Teachers also are back at work in Cassopolis and Escanaba, and a spokesman for the National Education Association said last week that settlements were "near" in East China and River Rouge.
Teachers in Sterling, Ill., went on strike early last week and a strike began in Blue Island on Sept. 7. Last week, strikes were settled in three Illinois school districts--Granite City, Bethalto and Sycamore.
Teachers in Jersey Shore, Pa., went on strike last week, but contract agreements have been reached in Donegal, Hampfield, and Wissahickon.
New Jersey teachers were back at work last week in the Bellmawr, Clinton, Monmouth Regional, and Somerville school districts.
Strikes in Selma, Ind., and Longview, Wash., also have been settled.
The Anne Arundel County (Md.) School System has reached a tentative settlement with civil-liberties lawyers who last November charged administrators at an elementary school with singling out black children for disciplinary action and locking them in storage closets. (See Education Week, Dec. 21, 1983.)
The lawyers, who were seeking $17.3 million in damages for the parents of five children enrolled in Germantown Elementary School, argued their case last year before U.S. District Judge Walter E. Black Jr., but the trial ended in a hung jury. Lawyers representing the children initially sought a new trial but then began negotiating with the county on a settlement.
Barbara Mello, a lawyer with the Maryland American Civil Liberties Union, which represents one of the children in the suit, said the tentative agreement, which was to be filed with Judge Black last week, includes a provision that school authorities will not isolate children in school rooms as a form of discipline.
John Wisthoff, president of the county board of education, said the tentative agreement also includes about $30,000 in legal fees to be paid to the students' lawyers. However, Mr. Wisthoff, who said the county did not admit to misconduct, said he did not believe the agreement includes payment of any of the $17 million originally sought.
Ms. Mello refused to comment on the financial aspects of the case.
A Union County, N.J., grand jury has found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing by public and police officials in the procurement of a search warrant that led to the seizure of student records in Summit public schools last February. (See Education Week, Feb. 22, 1984.)
Summit police officers had obtained a warrant to search the school offices as part of a drug investigation they were conducting at the time. After school files were seized, however, the warrant was declared illegal by State Superior Court Judge Edward W. Beglin Jr. and the files were returned to the school officials.
Judge Beglin then ordered that a grand jury be convened to examine the incident for evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of public and police officials in issuing or procuring the warrant.
The grand jury found in a 99-page report released last week that the incident was caused by a "serious breakdown" in communication between Summit school administrators and city police officers.
"The police were apparently convinced that the physical seizure and subsequent review of student records was the only viable way to determine the extent of drug and other incidents at the junior high school,'' the report states.
Vol. 04, Issue 03