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The West Virginia Board of Education has voted unanimously to appeal a federal-court ruling striking down the state's voluntary-prayer amendment. (See Education Week, Feb. 13, 1985.)

West Virginia voters had approved the amendment by a wide margin last November, but Judge Elizabeth Hallanan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia in late February barred voluntary prayer in public schools on constitutional grounds.

Walt Auvil, assistant attorney general, predicted last week that the state's appeal will probably not be heard. The state's prayer amendment is virtually identical, he said, to an Alabama statute now being weighed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Wallace v. Jaffree, a case in which a decision is expected this spring.

"If the Court upholds Alabama's silent-prayer statute, it is difficult to see how ours could be struck down," he said. If there is an adverse ruling, he added, the state would have to re-evaluate its position.

Officials at Susan B. Anthony Junior High School in Minneapolis have rescinded the dress restrictions that led to a demonstration last month in which four students were arrested. (See Education Week, April 10, 1985.)

The restrictions, which banned punk hairstyles and such related attire as studded bracelets and tattered clothing because "they led to classroom disruptions," were lifted after the school held a special meeting at which students, parents, teachers, and administrators aired their views on the dress policy, said Rachel Leonard, the school's principal.

In the future, Ms. Leonard said, "disruptive dressers will be handled individually."

Gov. William A. Allain of Mississippi has vetoed a bill to create a special mathematics and science school for gifted children because of concerns about the proposed school's cost and management. (See Education Week, April 17, 1985.)

The bill, passed in the closing days of the legislative session, would have set up a residential school for up to 400 gifted students on the campus of Mississippi University for Women in Columbus at a cost of some $497,000 in fiscal 1986.

Governor Allain vetoed a nearly identical bill last year. He said he was troubled by plans to have a 15-member board of trustees oversee the school instead of the state department of education.

The Governor also said that despite a pledge of some $900,000 from private sources to help start the school, the program could cost the state more than $2.6 million to operate by its third year.

A Marion County, Ind., grand jury has indicted Harold H. Negley, Indiana's former superintendent of public instruction, on charges that he used employees of the state education department to work on his re-election campaign and that he engaged in "official misconduct" stemming from the use of the employees.

Mr. Negley resigned last month after the charges were made pub-lic. (See Education Week, April 17, 1985.)

Although the grand jury did not indict Mr. Negley for misuse of campaign funds, Marion County Prosecutor Stephen Goldsmith said he intends to ask the State Election Board to issue an opinion on those charges. Mr. Negley is expected to enter a not-guilty plea to the employee-related charge, which is a felony under Indiana law.

California's Office of Administrative Law has blocked a regulation designed to give school districts more flexibility in determining when students in bilingual-education programs can enter English-only classrooms.

The regulation conflicts with the 1980 law that established the state's current bilingual program, the agency found.

The California State Board of Education, which approved the regulation without dissent last November, will appeal the decision to Gov. George Deukmejian, said Sandra J. Boese, president of the board. (See Education Week, Nov. 28, 1984.)

Students identified as limited-English-speaking now remain in bilingual programs if they do not score at or above the 36th percentile on standardized tests in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Under the board's revision, a language-appraisal team consisting of two teachers and an administrator could assign a low-scoring bilingual-education student to the regular program if the student had enrolled in bilingual classes for at least three years, had received reading instruction in English during the previous year, had obtained parental consent, and would have instructional support in an English-only setting.

Vol. 04, Issue 32

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