District News Roundup

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A Hammond, Ind., city judge has sentenced eight teen-agers to jail for receiving poor grades in violation of probation requirements he had set for their convictions on illegal-drinking charges.

The students had been convicted of possession or consumption of alcohol, according to Bobbi Costa, city court administrator.

Hammond's program for juvenile offenders allows charges to be dismissed and removed from their records if the teen-agers adhere to a strict curfew, work 20 hours in a work program, submit to random drug testing, and do not receive any grade below a C. The probation period is one year.

When the eight students received D's and F's on their report cards, City Judge Peter Katic last month ordered them to serve 60 days in the juvenile section of a county jail.

Four were released within a few days after their lawyers renegotiated a sentence that increased the work-program hours to 100 hours and required the students to stay at home when not working.

The other four students are still serving their time, which includes academic instruction. They will be eligible for release after 30 days.

The Palm Beach County, Fla., school district has established its own health clinic to provide services that include mandatory drug testing for all prospective employees.

The clinic, which conducts pre-employment physical examinations and treats employees injured on the job, is believed to be the first of its kind in the state, district officials said.

A major purpose of the clinic, which opened in July, is "to make sure we hire employees that can safely and fully perform the requirements of their jobs," Roger C. Anderson, director of the district's department of risk management, said last week.

During the first three months the clinic was in operation, nurses performed examinations on 1,235 job applicants. Of those job seekers, 45 tested positive for illegal-drug use and 9 were found to have medical conditions that temporarily or permanently disqualified them for consideration, Mr. Anderson said. An unspecified number of job candidates, he added, refused to submit to the drug test.

Those who tested positive for drug use were told of the finding and informed that they could reapply after 90 days. "We recognize that people can be rehabilitated," Mr. Anderson said.

James K. Green, a lawyer for the Florida affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the school board's drug-testing policy "is flawed, to say the least."

"If we receive a complaint from a person who wants to stand up against it, we are ready, willing, and able to represent them" in court, Mr. Green said last week.

Most black and Hispanic students at the Boston Latin School transfer out of the academically rigorous public school before graduating, despite an extensive minority-retention program, according to new figures released by school officials.

Nearly 60 percent of the school's black and Hispanic students transfer to other schools, compared with 25 percent of its white students and 8 percent of its Asian students, according to the headmaster, Michael Contompasis.

A 1974 federal-court order required the school, which enrolls students in grades 712, to lower admission requirements for minorities in order to maintain a minority enrollment of at least 35 percent. Before the court order, the school was about 10 percent minority, and more than two-thirds of those students left before graduating, Mr. Contompasis said.

The 352-year-old school, the oldest public school in the country, is expected to spend $228,878 this year on a minority-retention program, which includes pre-enrollment orientation, tutoring, and support services.

U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh, calling the financial records of the St. Louis public schools "complicated and confusing," has ordered an independent audit to determine if the district has excess resources that could be used to help finance its desegregation plan.

In July, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit said the district should use the "substantial balance" of uncommitted funds remaining from the 1986-87 school year to reduce pupil-teacher ratios in magnet and predominantly minority schools as called for in the plan.

In a ruling late last month, Judge Limbaugh said an independent audit was necessary before he could determine how to implement the appellate court's ruling.

The audit, which will be conducted by the accounting firm of Price Waterhouse, should also look at the district's overall management structure to determine "the best potential opportunities for reallocating resources to desegregation and related capital programs," Judge Limbaugh wrote.

Airport authorities in the Minneapolis area will provide $1 million over the next two years to soundproof four elementary schools located near the busy Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Educators and students at the four schools have complained that the roar ofaking off and landing at the nearby airport is distracting. Some teachers reportedly have complained that the din is so loud at times that they must stop class.

Two schools, one in Minneapolis and the other in the nearby community of Richfield, will be insulated next summer, according to Jeff Hamiel, executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. Two other Minneapolis schools will be soundproofed in 1989.

Funding for the projects will come from an increase in the fees paid by the airlines that use the airport, Mr. Hamiel said.

Almost 21 percent of the students who entered public high schools in New York City in 1982 enrolled for a fifth year of high school, and 12 percent enrolled for a sixth year, according to a study conducted by the school district.

The findings have implications for computing the district's dropout rate and call into question the traditional view of high school as a four-year experience, district officials suggested in releasing the report.

Of the more than 70,000 students who entered high school in fall 1982, 41 percent had graduated or received a General Educational Development diploma by the end of the 1985-86 school year, the study found. Of the remainder, 22 percent had dropped out, 12 percent had transferred to other schools, 21 percent were still enrolled in the district's schools, and 4 percent were unaccounted for.

One year later, the study found, 48 percent of the class had graduated, 27 percent had dropped out, 13 percent had transferred, and 12 percent were still enrolled.

Eleven students and a student's mother in Camden County, N.J., have been arrested on drug-related charges stemming from an undercover drug investigation at Overbrook High School.

A spokesman for the county prosecutor's office said that during the course of the 10-week investigation, a narcotics officer made 25 drug buys, including purchases of cocaine, opium, marijuana, and hashish.

Gayle Crane, the mother of an Overbrook student, was charged with possession and distribution of controlled dangerous substances.

The probe began at the request of school officials, the spokesman said. The high school was the sixth in the county over the last three years to be targeted by an undercover probe involving the county prosecutor's office.

The Cincinnati Board of Education has voted to ban student smoking at all high schools, beginning next September. Five of the city's nine high schools currently permit smoking in restricted areas on school grounds.

Terri Maue, a spokesman for the district, said officials will also create an educational program to help students stop smoking.

A New Jersey jury has awarded $6.5 million to a former high-school football player who was paralyzed while making a tackle.

Frankie L. Woodson Jr. sued the Irvington (N.J.) Board of Education for negligence after he was injured in a 1983 game. Michael Gordon, the athlete's lawyer, said Mr. Woodson was not properly taught how to tackle and did not receive special protective equipment.

Vol. 07, Issue 14

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