Jackson Lauds Parents Who Face Charges on Educational 'Theft'

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The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson has urged black parents to follow the example of the three Hartford, Conn., parents who have been charged with "stealing an education" because they enrolled their children in school across district lines in suburban Bloomfield. (See Education Week, April 17 and 24, 1985.)

Speaking at the National Conference of Black Mayors in Hartford last month, the 1984 Democratic Presidential candidate said the three parents who face arraignment this week in Hartford Superior Court "should not be apologetic" for enrolling their children in a neighboring district. Parents, he said, "should be encouraged to take their children to Bloomfield or wherever good education exists."

In response, Mayor David Baram of Bloomfield said it was unfortunate that Mr. Jackson "encouraged parents to violate the law."

Must Be 'Last Resort'

In another development late last month, the Bloomfield town council, in its first meeting since the residency controversy arose, stated3unanimously that it does not support the use of police action to deter illegal enrollments.

"We recognize that arrest and prosecution must remain as one of the legal options; however it should only be considered as a last resort after first exhausting all other measures in an attempt to resolve the problem," the council said.

The council pledged to work with the local board to solve the problem of nonresidents attending local schools.

Meanwhile, the Hartford City Council passed a resolution saying that immediate "disenrollment" of Hartford pupils attending school in the neighboring district is "disruptive to the pupil and a financial hardship to the parents."

It called for an amnesty period until the end of the school year for Hartford parents whose children illegally attend Bloomfield schools. It also urged that the state board of education adopt "clear guidelines for ascertaining residency as it pertains to enrollment of pupils in local schools" and that charges be dropped against the parents who were arrested in March.--sr

Vol. 04, Issue 33

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