District News Roundup
A 14-year-old Goddard, Kan., youth last week allegedly shot his principal and wounded three others after coming to school armed with a rifle, a pistol, and a pocketful of ammunition.
James Alan Kearbey, a student at Goddard Junior High School, has been charged with homicide in the Jan. 21 shooting death of James McGee, said Larry K. Vardaman, director of the state detention facility in Wichita where Mr. Kearbey was ordered held in a hearing last week.
At that hearing, the student, through his lawyer, did not amend or deny the charges against him, Mr. Vardaman said. A second hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 30, at which time Mr. Kearbey will be required to respond to the charges.
Under state law, the student, who also allegedly shot and wounded two teachers and a fellow student, will be tried as a juvenile. If found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty of seven years in a juvenile detention center, according to Mr. Vardaman.
In Goddard, which is a suburb of Wichita, the junior high school was closed last week following the shooting. School officials were unavailable for comment on the case or on when the school would reopen.
High-school "sock-hops" and similar dances are not forms of expression protected by the First Amendment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has ruled.
The appeals court reached that conclusion in a lawsuit filed in federal district court in 1982 by parents of students attending school in Faulkner County, Ark. According to a lawyer for Vilonia School District No. 17, the parents were protesting a decision by the school board not to rent them the high-school gymnasium so they could hold a dance.
A federal district judge accepted the parent's position that dance was a form of speech that enjoyed First Amendment protection. But the judge went on to hold that the school board's decision not to rent the gymnasium was justified because the board had never taken action making it a public forum.
On appeal, the Eighth Circuit Court rejected the lower court's ruling on the protected status of high-school dances. "When conduct conveys a message, that is, when it is expressive, it may be entitled to a measure of First Amendment protection," the appeals court held. But the type of dancing likely to occur at the event envisioned by the parents, it said, would not represent such conduct.
School officials in Cleveland have joined the city's political leaders and police department in an effort to3keep schoolchildren safe on the streets, following the rape and murder of a 14-year old girl on her way to school Dec. 6.
It was the fifth murder of a 14-year-old girl between September and December in the Cleveland area.
The plan, called "Operation Child Safe," was initiated last month by Superintendent of Schools Frederick D. Holliday, said Patricia A. Martin, supervisor of media relations for 76,000-student district.
The city and schools have established two separate telephone hotlines to the police department and to the school board and are identifying "safe houses" along routes to school and urging parents to accompany children whenever possible.
Businesses, churches, and individuals have volunteered to provide the havens for students in grades K-12; the individuals will be investigated before their homes are used in the program, said Ms. Martin.
Two coaches have been fired and four others have resigned in the wake of the drowning of a basketball player in a pool at a Waterbury, Conn., high school.
Robert Donaldson drowned last month when members of the Wilby High School basketball team entered the pool after a Saturday practice. The coach, Robert Freedman, and assistant coach, David Kalach, who were in the locker room at the time, said they did not know the boys were in the pool, which they entered through a fire door.
The local board of education voted earlier this month to remove both Mr. Freedman and Mr. Kalach for providing inadequate supervision and exercising poor judgment. The two will remain employed as social-studies teachers.
The school's drama coach, cheerleader coach, ski club adviser, and adviser of the Future Business Leaders of America have also resigned from their extra duties in the past few weeks, saying the board must clearly spell out teachers' supervisory responsibilities in extracurricular activities.
Philip Leonardi, the school's principal, said the basketball coaches were "victims of the situation." He said that the board is in the process of forming a clearer policy on extracurricular activities and that the rest of the faculty has agreed to hold off further resignations until the board makes its decision.
Three black churches in Alachua County, Fla., are joining forces with the Alachua County School Board and the superintendent of schools to increase the number of black students who continue their education beyond high school.
The Alachua-Gainesville County Consortium, in northeastern Florida, is one of five groups throughout the state that have received three-year grants totaling $1.5 million from the McKnight Program in Higher Education in Tampa, Fla., to develop "centers of excellence" for minority students. The program is funded through the McKnight Foundation for Higher Learning in Minneapolis.
The centers are intended to increase minority participation in higher education, according to Debbie L. Wavering, administrative assistant for the McKnight Program.
A declining number of black students are entering and completing college, according to Marshallyne Covington, administrative assistant for the Alachua center.
All five centers in Florida are expected to become self-sustaining after three years.
A group "concerned about traditional values and morality" has pledged to monitor public schools in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C., area in an attempt to stop teachings on sex, drugs, and death that do not have a "moral framework."
"Whatever is taught relative especially to sex or death," said the Rev. Joseph R. Chambers, chairman of the group, Concerned Charlotteans, "must be taught within a moral framework, or it becomes an amoral teaching, which is to suggest to students that what your parents, your pastor, and your church teach is not important."
Mr. Chambers said the group--which claims to have the support of 200 area churches and 10,000 people--has appointed a committee to review curriculum, films, and textbooks; to "promote a dialogue with school officials"; and to "take a look at organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, that are allowed into the classroom."
"It's a very complex situation," said John Stoner, the school district's health-curriculum specialist. "We have probably 70 different cultures represented in our school system. What is a value to one might not be a value to another. Our job is to help children understand factual information and apply it in a constructive way in their lives."
The New York City Board of Education misspent more than $1.5 million on consultants from July 1981 to November 1983, the city comptroller has charged.
According to an audit released last week, the board routinely vio-lated its own rules, which limit fees paid to consultants and the length of their employment.
The board also frequently misrepresented the nature of consultants' duties in order to avoid independent review by the city's personnel department, paid consultants before officially authorizing their work, and used consultants' funds to hire full-time employees, the audit charges. One school district was cited for paying consultants to perform clerical work.
In addition, the board misappropriated more than $50,000 in appointing a fund-raising committee for a new performing-arts high school, the audit alleges.
The board acknowledges some of the abuses cited in the audit, according to Joseph Mancini, director of the board's news bureau, but it attributes them to a previous administration. "We've got a committee that's busy revising the rules [governing the use of consultants] right now," Mr. Mancini said.
A recent testing of 3rd-, 5th-, and 8th-grade students in Philadelphia public schools showed that 8,796 students currently not receiving remedial help need it, district officials report.
According to Jules Grosswald, director of testing services for the Philadelphia schools, the results of the state's new skills test--the Testing for Essential Learning and Literacy Skills test (tells), which Continued on Following Page Continued from Preceding Page
was recently taken for the first time by 38,000 Philadelphia public-school students--indicated that more than half the students in grades 3, 5, and 8 need remedial help. Of those, he said, more than 10,000 already receive extra academic assistance through Chapter 1, special-education, and bilingual programs.
Of those students tested who are not already receiving remedial aid, 45 percent need extra help in math and 51 percent need it in reading, the test showed.
The tells test, being administered throughout Pennsylvania, was "designed as an early-warning system, so we can identify learning problems early in the student's career," Mr. Grosswald said.
Statewide, about 30 percent of the tested students who are not currently enrolled in special-education programs need remedial help, Mr. Grosswald added.