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John Walsh, whose 6-year-old son's murder was the subject of the television movie "Adam," has urged New Jersey legislators to pass a bill that would require background security checks for all future teachers, employees, and volunteers of the public-school system.

The New Jersey Assembly's Education Committee has reserved consideration of the bill until an estimation of its cost is provided and is likely to reconsider the measure this month.

In a meeting with the committee recently, Mr. Walsh, who is currently serving as special advisor to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, reportedly criticized the state for being "years behind" other states in the area of protecting the rights of children.

"You don't even have a voluntary section asking teachers if they would admit to having committed previous crimes ... and not even a penalty for falsifying applications," Mr. Walsh said.

According to Assemblyman John T. Hendrickson Jr., the measure's sponsor, the New Jersey Education Association has opposed its requirement that teachers submit their fingerprints for background security checks.

Anthony Cosmano, recently named Arizona Teacher of the Year, is the first teacher of the year in the nation to receive a cash award in connection with the honor, according to Keven Keller, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Education. Mr. Cosmano is a science teacher and chairman of the science department at the Shea Middle School in Phoenix.

As the state's teacher of the year, Mr. Cosmano will receive $5,000 and an honorary Doctor of Education degree from Northern Arizona University.

Funding for the award was provided by the Arizona Educational Foundation, a nonprofit corporation established recently "to assist and enhance primary and secondary public schools."

Each of the four Arizona teacher-of-the-year finalists for 1984-85 will receive a stipend of $2,000.

Joao Clemente Baena Soares, the secretary general of the Organization of American States, recently urged a group of students in Washington, D.C., to support initiatives to curb drug trafficking throughout the Americas.

Speaking to 450 students taking part in the oas General Assembly for High School Students this month, Mr. Baena called illegal drug use among teen-agers "a matter of grave concern to youth in your country and throughout the hemisphere."

"Although final figures for this year are still unavailable, there are indications of a widespread increase in consumption of dangerous drugs among high-school students," he said. "In the United States, in 1983 alone, there were 280 cocaine-related deaths [and] 6,900 young students like you were treated in hospitals with serious conditions due to cocaine consumption.

"I could provide more statistics on this dramatic situation, but what I want to stress is the urgency for you to consider this question and its consequences," he continued. "The oas stands ready to assist its member countries with regional efforts aimed at curbing drug trafficking. Individuals and student leaders like you also must rally to promote and support initiatives to that end."

Ebony Magazine has cited Mary Hatwood Futrell, president of the National Education Association, as the nation's top black business and professional person. The magazine also honored black leaders in music, public service, religion, athletics, and dramatic and fine arts.

Vol. 04, Issue 15

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