Districts News Roundup

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The federal special-education law does not require a North Carolina school district to provide a mentally handicapped 18-year-old with at-home services during all his waking hours, a federal district judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Woodrow Wilson Jones held late last month that the parents of Chris Denton, who is autistic and mildly mentally retarded, had sought to force the Burke County school district to provide their son with home "care"--not "education."

The Education for All Handicapped Children Act, he said, does not entitle the Dentons to "guards ... to protect the parents and other members of the family" from the boy's occasional acts of violence, or to "aides to prepare the child's meals and to take him out to eat."

In a separate special-education development, a federal appellate court has ruled that the Jefferson County, Ala., public schools must pay the $300,000 annual cost of treating a 21-year-old head-injured woman in a private facility in Texas.

The appeals panel upheld a 1987 decision by a lower court, which had ordered the district to pay for the cost of the woman's treatment outside the state, since no institution in Alabama was capable of meeting her educational needs.

Lawyers for the district had argued that she could be educated locally at lower cost.

A veteran superintendent of schools in Mississippi has been indicted on charges of defrauding his local county of nearly $238,000.

William Lewis Brewer Sr., who served as superintendent of the Tallahatchie County school district for 28 years, was indicted on 81 counts of conspiracy and 35 counts of embezzlement, after an investigation by state auditors.

Three other men, including his son, were indicted with Mr. Brewer, who was defeated in a bid for re-election and left office last January.

According to investigators, the elder Mr. Brewer allegedly issued checks over a period of six years for work that was never performed.

Plans by the followers of an Indian guru to build a school in Oregon have been rejected by local authorities.

The Douglas County board of commis6sioners decided late last month to reject a land-use application submitted by the Kirpal Light Satsang, a religious group led by a guru named Thaker Singh.

The school would have housed 32 students and 15 teachers on the religious sect's 305-acre farm. Backers planned to provide instruction in meditation, as well as in academic, agricultural, and vocational subjects.

The proposal was strongly opposed by local residents, according to a spokesman for the county commissioners.

The group plans to appeal the decision to the state's land-use board.

Charlotte, N.C., school officials have moved to double the number of police officers on guard at athletic events after four people were wounded during a shootout at a high-school football game.

Gunfire broke out during a dispute in the standing-room-only crowd at a Labor Day weekend football game between West Charlotte and Garinger high schools, according to a spokesman for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district.

Hospitalized were an 18-year-old West Charlotte student, an assistant football coach from the school, a student's mother, and a 20-year-old Charlotte resident. District officials say the four were hit by stray bullets when the shooting erupted, causing mass panic among the spectators.

Police said the fight involved both students and nonstudents.

Two West Charlotte students were arrested after the incident, according to the school spokesman. One was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, and the other with carrying a concealed weapon.

A South Carolina elementary-school principal was shot to death Aug. 31 during an apparent robbery in the school parking lot.

School officials said the principal, Dennis Hepler, had gone in to work late that evening at the Franklin Street School in Anderson. He was found dead the next morning outside the school.

Four Anderson residents were arrested and charged in the incident, a school spokesman said.

The spokesman added that Mr. Hepler earlier had been badly shaken up when a summer-school student brandished a loaded .32-caliber pistol during a fight. Mr. Hepler disarmed the student without injury.

Metal detectors will be used to discourage students from bringing weapons into classrooms, under a new security policy adopted by Montgomery, Ala., school officials.

Susan Rountree, a spokesman for the Montgomery public schools, said that a walk-through metal detector--similar to those used in airports--will be used on a random basis in the district's middle and high schools.

The new policy was proposed by a task force on weapons and violence established last February by Thomas Bobo, the district superintendent, after a student brought a sawed-off shotgun to school.

Under the new policy, students may carry only clear plastic or mesh book bags, and may be automatically suspended if found with a weapon.

Ms. Rountree said 180 weapons, ranging from pocket knives to guns, were confiscated from district students last year.

Vol. 08, Issue 03

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