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The New York State Board of Regents last month banned the use of corporal punishment in public schools, despite advice from state-education-department lawyers that the regents do not have the authority to do so. (See Education Week, Jan. 9, 1985.)

Prior to the regents' action, the use of corporal punishment was up to individual school districts. About one-third of New York's districts and boards of cooperative educational services currently prohibit the use of corporal punishment, according to state officials.

"No teacher, administrator, officer, employee, or agent of a school district in this state, or a board of co-operative educational services in this state, shall use corporal punishment against a pupil," the new regulation states.

The regulation also states that it will be legal for school employees to use "reasonable" force to protect themselves, students, and school property.

Robert D. Stone, counsel to the New York Education Department, had advised the regents prior to the adoption of the new regulation that since corporal punishment is permissible under state law, only the legislature can outlaw the practice.

The Idaho Senate has shelved a bill that would amend the state's compulsory-education law to allow parents to educate their children at home if they make "a good faith effort" to instruct them in reading, writing, mathematics, history, and civics.

The proposal had passed in the House by a wide margin earlier in February. (See Education Week, Feb. 20, 1985.)

The Senate education committee voted to hold the bill and late last month drafted a resolution calling for a study of the home-schooling controversy.

The National Science Foundation has published guidelines for grant proposals in science education that reiterate the agency's shift in focus under Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, the new assistant director for science and engineering education. (See Education Week, Feb. 13, 1985.)

The guidelines, published in the Feb. 22 Federal Register, announce the agency's intent to focus "espeinued on Following Page Continued from Preceding Page

cially" on projects that will strengthen science and mathematics education for elementary- and middle-school students. The agency is also looking for proposals that involve women, minorities, or physically handicapped people, "particularly if they represent models for increasing the numbers of qualified young people in these groups who are encouraged to choose careers in mathematics, science, and technology."

The guidelines also state that "substantial weight" will be given in the review process to plans to cooperate with or gain support from local schools and universities, the private sector, or other community groups.

One Toledo, Ohio, school official will lose her job and another will be demoted for their roles in segregating freshmen at a city high school by race.

According to press reports, the contract of Marilyn Schiffer, assistant principal of DeVilbiss High School, will not be renewed. In addition, Martin Vieth, the district's assistant director of secondary education and the school's former principal, will be demoted.

A panel appointed by the district's superintendent reported last November that white students at the 1,200-student school had been systematically assigned to honors courses and black students to less academically demanding courses without regard to their grades. Superintendent Hugh Caumartin learned of the situation in mid-October when he received a letter from a teacher at the school. (See Education Week, Nov. 21, 1984.)

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) Board of Education has unanimously approved Superintendent Jay M. Robinson's request to employ only adult bus drivers by next September. Mr. Robinson recommended that the district phase out its use of student drivers because of an increase in the number of school-bus accidents involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers. (See Education Week, Feb. 6, 1985.)

The district currently employs 641 school-bus drivers, 39 percent of whom are students. Acknowledging the difficulty of finding enough adults to eliminate the use of student drivers, Mr. Robinson proposed and the board agreed to allow about 50 current junior-high-school students with outstanding driving records to drive buses next year, according to Myra Joines, public-information coordinator for the district.

Ms. Joines also said the school district will probably have to spend $500,000 to increase drivers' salaries by as much as $1 per hour and will offer a fringe-benefit package to attract new adult drivers.

The West Virginia Department of Human Services and a group of parents are seeking a court order that would force the Fayette County Board of Education to take action against a teacher accused of abusing first-grade students.

For incidents spanning two years, Janet Boley of Gauley Bridge Elementary School is accused of tying several students to their chairs and taping their mouths shut. (See Education Week, Jan. 9, 1985.)

A West Virginia circuit judge recently refused to act in the case, and instead ordered the plaintiffs to seek relief from the board of education.

Assistant Attorney General Mary Beth Kershner, representing the Department of Human Services, agreed with the judge, but said the board had so far refused to act.

"We expect an order this week," Ms. Kershner said. She said the board would probably be given about 30 days to comply.

Vol. 04, Issue 25

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