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A federal judge in California has ruled that a teacher barred from the classroom because he has aids may seek damages from his Orange County, Calif., supervisers.

The Jan. 5 ruling by U.S. District Judge William P. Gray cleared the way for Vincent Chalk, a teacher of hearing-impaired students, to seek compensation for the emotional distress he suffered after school officials reassigned him to a desk job in August.

Mr. Chalk, the first teacher with aids known to have contested his ouster from the classroom in court, returned to school in November after a federal appeals court ordered Orange County school officials to reinstate him. (See Education Week, Nov. 25, 1987.)

Marjorie Rushforth, the lawyer who represents Mr. Chalk, said the new case could affect the way school districts nationwide handle cases involving teachers with the disease.

"If one of these employers who discriminated against people with aids had to dip into the tax revenue for a healthy amount of money," she said, "then school districts in other areas would stop excluding teachers."

A coalition of black church leaders in Chicago has lost its court battle to force clinics in three city schools to stop distributing contraceptives.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Anthony Scotillo, in a Jan. 5 ruling, dismissed seven of the eight charges brought by the ministers in a lawsuit against Chicago school officials. Because the church leaders were not directly affected by the distribution of birth-control devices at the clinics, the judge said, the coalition had no legal standing in the case.

When the suit was filed in October of 1986, the church leaders charged that the practice of passing out contraceptives at the clinics was ''a calculated, pernicious effort to destroy the very fabric of family life among black Americans." (See Education Week, Oct. 22, 1986.)

All three clinics are located in schools with large minority populations.

The Rev. Hiram Crawford, the leader of the group and pastor of the Israel Methodist Community Church, vowed to appeal the decision.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed suit against the State of Mississippi and 30 of its county school boards, charging that officials improperly changed election procedures without seeking approval from the department's office of civil rights.

The suit, filed Dec. 30 in federal district court in Jackson, alleges that state and local officials failed to notify the department before creating a number of new municipal school districts. Residents of the new districts cannot vote in the county board races.

Under the federal Voting Rights Act, all such election revisions must first be reviewed by the department. Black civil-rights activists have already filed their own lawsuit against the counties involved, arguing that the new municipal districts unfairly dilute the voting strength of black county residents. (See Education Week, Dec. 9, 1987.)

Mississippi school officials criticized the department's action, noting that a bill pending in the state legislature would permit county boards to revise district boundaries and remove any discriminatory effects.

A Justice Department spokesman, however, said the lawsuit was necessary because it is "unrealistic" to expect such a large number of counties to comply quickly with the law.

Vol. 07, Issue 17

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