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A state-court judge this month dismissed cocaine-possession and assault charges against a Hartford, Conn., youth whose mother was arrested last spring for allegedly "stealing" an education from a suburban school district.

Sandra Foster was arrested last April on a larceny charge for enrolling her son Trevor, 16, in a high school in Bloomfield, a Hartford suburb, in violation of that town's residency law. The charge was dropped after the state attorney's office declined to prosecute.

The youth, who returned to Hartford Public High School, was arrested in September and suspended from school for 10 days after a student linked him to an assault at the school. Police filed the drug charge after they discovered a vial of cocaine in the back seat of a police cruiser in which the youth had been placed. (See Education Week, Oct. 9, 1985.)

The Fosters plan to file suit in state court contending that the Bloomfield residency law violates the state's constitution, according to M. Donald Cardwell, their lawyer. The family is also challenging a state-athletic-association ruling that the youth is not eligible to play basketball for Hartford High this year because of his recent transfer to the school.

Derek Oatis, the former Choate Rosemary Hall student who pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine from South America for his classmates, was sentenced this month to five years of probation and 5,000 hours of community service by a federal district judge. (See Education Week, May 16, 1984.)

Fifteen other students at the exclusive Connecticut preparatory school have received sentences of probation and fines for their part in the plan, according to Arthur F. Goodearl, dean of students at Choate. He said he "hopes the sentence serves as a useful deterrent to discourage others from using illegal drugs."

Mr. Oatis is currently a student at the University of Connecticut at Storrs.

The school has since enacted a tough "one chance" policy that calls for a student to be dismissed if he or she is caught using an illegal drug or refuses chemical testing on the request of a dean and at least one other faculty member, Mr. Goodearl said. A student who seeks help for a drug problem on his own initiative will not be dismissed, but must sign a "no use" contract and agree to submit to periodic testing for drugs.

A special state hearing examiner in Indiana ruled last week that Ryan White, the Kokomo 7th grader with aids, must be admitted to school. (See Education Week, Aug. 21, 1985.)

The examiner ruled that under the guidelines set forth by the state board of health earlier this year, the decision to send Ryan to school would be made by the boy, his mother, and his physician, according to Charles R. Vaughan Jr., one of the boy's lawyers.

On those days when the boy is not feeling well enough to attend school, the decision states, he is to receive appropriate home instruction, according to Mr. Vaughan.

The school board has 20 days in which to appeal the ruling to the state board of special-education appeals, the final level of administrative review. The board has not decided whether to appeal, according to its lawyer, Stephen Jessup.

Meanwhile, the school board in Hobart, Ind., has voted that a high-school boy with aids must receive instruction at home. The boy's parents are in agreement with the board's decision, according to Richard G. Abel, superintendent of schools.

The way America educates its brightest students must change dramatically, according to a new book based on the findings and recommendations of a national, four-year study of education for able learners.

Educating Able Learners: Programs and Promising Practices, released last week by the University of Texas Press, reports on a study of more than 1,000 school districts and 400 schools. It was conducted by the Sid W. Richardson Foundation of Fort Worth. (See Education Week, Jan. 16, 1985.)

The book advocates abandoning lock-step age groupings in favor of moving children through school at their own pace; broadening the selection process for entrance into enrichment programs; and recogniz-ing more children who are skilled in some areas but not in others.

The Richardson Foundation is providing an estimated $3.5 million to test many of the study's prescriptions in a five-year pilot program in four school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

A panel of seven physicians has determined that a 2nd grader in New York City suspected of having acquired immune deficiency syndrome has been infected with the aids virus but does not have the disease, Dr. David J. Sencer, the city's health commissioner, has announced.

The decision by city school officials in September to allow the child to attend school sparked a protest by parents and students in Queens and a suit by 30 of the 32 community school boards in the city to force the board of education not to "mainstream" children with aids into regular classrooms. New York Supreme Court Justice Harold Hyman is expected to issue a decision in the case this month. (See Education Week, Oct. 2, 1985.)

Vol. 05, Issue 14

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