District News Roundup
The Pike County, Ky., school system's use of more than $9 million in federal flood-relief funds is being investigated by officials of the U.S. Education Department, a county school system official said last week.
Joe Taylor, assistant superintendent in charge of purchasing for the Pike County School District, said officials from the department's office of the inspector general have subpoenaed all files relating to use of federal flood-relief funds in the district since l977.
Thomas Strong, a spokesman for the inspector general's office, said he could not comment on the Pike County investigation.
Pike County received about $4-million in flood-relief aid from the Education Department in l977, $86,000 in l978, about $l million in l979, and about $4 million in l984, Mr. Taylor said.
The funds were used to repair buildings and replace equipment and materials in the 16,000-student system, Mr. Taylor said. In some cases, flood damage called for "extensive repairs," he said, adding that at one school a gymnasium collapsed during the l984 flood.
All floods occurred during the spring, before the end of the school year. Competitive bids were not solicited on all flood repairs, "due to the nature of the situation, and the time element," Mr. Taylor said. He explained that, under Kentucky education laws, if a school board declares an "emergency situation,"3competitive bidding is not required.
Between six and eight of Pike County's 30 schools were damaged in the l977 and l984 floods, and several schools were damaged in the l978 and l979 floods, Mr. Taylor said. Some schools were damaged in more than one flood, he noted.
A nine-month undercover investigation by a San Antonio police officer posing as a student has resulted in the indictment of 61 individuals on charges of selling drugs to high-school students.
According to Delta Drascomb, a public-information officer for the San Antonio Police Department, 35 suspects ranging in age from 16 to 44 have been arrested for allegedly selling the undercover officer various illegal drugs including cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin.
While a total of seven juveniles were indicted, and five juveniles have been arrested so far, it is unclear whether any of those arrested are students enrolled in San Antonio public high schools.
While undercover operations have previously been conducted in high schools in San Antonio and El Paso, this was the first operation to be conducted under the recently enacted federal Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which mandates stiffer penalties for individuals arrested for selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, Ms. Drascomb said.
"We weren't after students who were trying their first marijuana cigarette, we were after the pushers," she said.
"The program will be continuing with another undercover officer entering one or more of the highel5lschools in the fall," she added. "We want the students to know that."
Leaders of the Port Huron, Mich., chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People have criticized the local school board's disciplinary action against a high-school administrator who staged a mock Ku Klux Klan confrontation with a black teacher.
According to press reports, Armstead Diggs, president of the naacp chapter, called the decision to suspend the administrator without pay for one week and to place him on one year's probation "a slap on the wrist," adding that the administrator should have been fired.
Larry Moeller, the district's superintendent, said the April 24 incident began when four secretaries at Port Huron High School complained about the building's cold temperature by wearing white hooded sweat shirts that happened to resemble Ku Klux Klan robes. The administra-tor, whose name has not been released, then summoned the black teacher to the office over the school's public-address system.
Upon his arrival, the teacher was told that the "grand wizard" wanted to see him. The title is similar to a leadership rank in the white-supremacist organization.
Late last month, the city's school board approved Mr. Moeller's recommendation to suspend the administrator and to place him on probation for the forthcoming school year. Mr. Moeller said he thought the board's action was "appropriate and firm," noting that the administrator will not be eligible for a pay increase while on probation.
The District of Columbia school district has been ordered to pay $250,000 in damages to a 16-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted after being left in charge of an unsupervised 2nd-grade classroom when she was 10 years old.
In the civil-negligence case, Jane Doe v. The District of Columbia, the girl's lawyer argued that her injury was "foreseeable and preventable," because the school was located in a high-crime area and neither its back door nor the gate to an adjoining playground was locked at the time of the incident.
Lawyers for the school district denied the charge of negligence but did not dispute that the assault took place, according to the plaintiff's lawyer, Patrick Christmas. A District of Columbia spokesman said officials have not yet decided whether to appeal the D.C. Superior Court decision.
The assault took place at the Mary Plummer Elementary School, where the girl had been sent from her 4th-grade classroom to monitor a 2nd-grade class while the teacher left the room to go to the bookroom, Mr. Christmas said.
A stranger came to the door and said he would report the girl to the principal if she did not sit down. When the girl followed him into the hallway to ask him not to report her, he forced her from the school building at knifepoint and raped her in a wooded area behind the school, according to Mr. Christmas.
Mr. Christmas argued that because of faulty security at the school, ''unknown adult males" had been seen walking in the corridors during the three years prior to the incident. In addition, he said, the school had been the site of "several" arsons, a "couple" of burglaries, a purse-snatching, and "two to three" larcenies during that same period.
Vol. 04, Issue 37