District News Roundup

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A high-school sophomore is facing criminal charges in connection with two bomb explosions that caused minor damage and prompted officials to dismiss classes at the Anderson (Ind.) High School this month.

No one was injured in the explosions on Oct. 9 and 10, but about $800 worth of damage was done to the school's wrestling room and choral room.

School officials dismissed classes both days after they received threats of more bombings. Several other area high schools also received bomb threats around the same time, but no explosions occurred.

Although absenteeism was higher than usual in the days immediately following the bombings, attendance at Anderson High School quickly returned to normal, and no more threats were received, said Richard Worden, the school's assistant principal.

The sophomore charged in the case has been expelled from school and faces a juvenile hearing Dec. 31. A second sophomore who was implicated was also expelled, but has not been charged, Mr. Worden said.

Police patrolled the campus of Minor High School in Birmingham, Ala., last week after racial tensions at the school erupted into a melee on Oct. 11 in which the school's principal and a student were stabbed.

Approximately 45 police officers were dispatched to the school following the brawl in the school's lunchroom, and six students were arrested for their part in the fighting, according to Larry A. Vines, an assistant principal. A teacher who had fired a gun in the air was suspended with pay pending further investigation, and 26 students were suspended from school.

As of last week, the number of police officers assigned to the school had been reduced to 10, and the school was "almost back to normal," Mr. Vines said.

The fighting, he speculated, was the result of racial unrest in the school, marked by a "perception on the part of black students that they are not receiving enough recognition" at the school. Black students make up approximately 23 percent of the student body.

To help minimize future racial tensions, the school has increased the number of counselors on duty and is planning a number of meetings and school activities designed to help "sensitize students and teachers to racial issues," Mr. Vines said.

A Wayne County Circuit Court jury has awarded $650,000 to a milk distributor who accused former Detroit school officials of steering milk contracts away from his firm.

In a suit filed in 1986, Joe McLemore, owner of Joe-Dan Ltd., accused the officials of plotting to persuade the school board that his company was a black "front" for a white-owned firm. As a result, Mr. McLemore said, the company lost a $2 million contract to a higher bidder, Metro Institutional Food Service.

Found liable in the case were Harold Murdock, former president of the school-board; Ferd Hall, former director of the school district's equal opportunity division; and Steve Asmar, president of Metro Institutional.

Teachers in financially strapped East St. Louis, Ill., went on strike for three days earlier this month, but returned to the classroom after reaching agreement on a three-year contract.

The district, which is $12.5 million in debt and has been declared "in financial dif6ficulty" by the state, had sought to have teachers pay for a portion of the health-care coverage their dependents receive.

The East St. Louis Federation of Teachers rejected an offer by the board of education to submit the dispute to binding arbitration, according to Stephanie Carpenter, an aide to Elmo Bush, the schools superintendent.

Under the new contract, teachers will not pay more for health coverage this year. However, Ms. Carpenter said, the contract can be reopened if the district's insurance costs continue to rise.

Teachers in the district, which has 16,000 students, also received 2 percent raises for this year and 5 percent raises for the next two years, she said.

The Dallas School Board has agreed to pay $600,000 to end a long-running property dispute with an erstwhile donor.

The legal battle over the Rylie Elementary School grounds, which Ike Sewell donated to the Dallas Independent School District in 1954, began four years ago.

Cameron Dee Sewell, nephew and heir to Ike Sewell, successfully sued the district in 1985, claiming that the district was violating the terms of his uncle's gift.

In conveying the property to the district in 1954, Ike Sewell stipulated that the donated land be used "solely for school purposes." Since 1983, the district has leased most of the building to the city's parks and recreation department.

When the Texas Supreme Court upheld Cameron Sewell's legal victory in 1987, Mr. Sewell seized the school, blocking entrance to the building with hay bales and chains.

The $600,000 settlement, approved by the Dallas School Board Oct. 10, covers rent for the 51 months the board challenged Mr. Sewell's claim. He currently leases part of the building to a church group and rents out the football field to private schools.

The parents of a boy with muscular dystrophy are suing the Westlake, Ohio, school district in an effort to force the district to allow their son to attend his local junior high school rather than a special program 12 miles away.

The lawsuit, filed by Roger and Carol Evans in U.S. District Court earlier this month, caps a 16-month-long effort to get their son into the local junior high school. The Evanses' claim that Westlake school officials are discriminating against the boy by busing him to a school in nearby Parma, where he attends a special program for orthopedically impaired students.

Westlake school officials maintain that they cannot provide the special services the boy needs in their own district.

Vol. 09, Issue 08

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