District News Roundup

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The Emerado (N.D.) School District has alleged in a $10-million federal lawsuit filed against the neighboring Grand Forks School District and state officials that it has been deprived of 250 students and the state and federal aid that would go with them.

School officials in Emerado, located near the Grand Forks Air Force Base, contend in the suit, filed late last month, that their district should be teaching the students living in a housing addition to the base.

Although the addition is within the boundaries of the Emerado district, those students are now being taught by the Grand Forks School District through a contract with the Air Force.

The lawsuit--which names State Superintendent Wayne Sanstead and Mark Sanford, superintendent of the Grand Forks School District, among other state and county officials as defendants--seeks the amount the Grand Forks district has received in state and federal aid since the early 1970's.

Efforts over the past two years to have those students taught in Emerado have failed in both the legislature and in negotiations with the Grand Forks district.

The addition of 250 students to the Emerado district would amount to an increase of approximately $250,000 a year in federal and state aid, according to Bob White,

Emerado's superintendent of schools.

The Cincinnati Federation of Teachers has charged in a lawsuit filed against the city's board of education that the district's policy of restricting teachers' transfers on the basis of their race is discriminatory.

The teachers' union and seven teachers claim in the suit, filed last month in federal court, that the district's policy of maintaining the racial balance of school faculties has unfairly denied four black teachers at a Montessori school the right to transfer to new schools.

The plaintiffs include three white music and physical-education teachers at another Montessori school who will be forced to transfer to new schools in September to make way for black teachers.

School-district personnel officials have said that there are no black teachers trained in Montessori methods who could replace the four teachers who sought transfers. Under a 1984 desegregation agreement, the city must maintain racially balanced faculties in each school.

Tom Mooney, president of the union, said the board should train more black teachers to work in Montessori schools instead of treating those who are already in such positions as "indentured servants."

Schools Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez of New York City is reconsidering the school system's relationship with Michael Milken, the junk-bond billionaire and school benefactor who recently pleaded guilty to felony charges, a school spokesman confirmed last week.

Mr. Milken, who in April pleaded guilty to violating federal securities and tax laws, was reported by a local newspaper to have visited an elementary school in Harlem last month, giving a math lesson to about 30 children who were taken out of their regular classes for the occasion.

A spokesman for the school system confirmed that Mr. Milken has developed ties with schools in several New York City districts by giving them money from his family foundation.

James Vlasto, the spokesman, refused to comment on the Harlem elementary-school incident but said the district will reassess its relationship with the Milken Foundation in light of Mr. Milken's current circumstances.

New York City's school-expulsion6policy is illegal, the state education commissioner has ruled.

Under the policy, students were expelled for one year for carrying a weapon, assaulting a school employee, or selling drugs on school grounds.

In a decision released May 30, Thomas Sobol ruled that such automatic penalties violated a state regulation that students' punishments take into account their previous behavior and the seriousness of the offense.

Mr. Sobol issued the ruling in a case involving a student who hit the dean of security at a Manhattan high school. The student, who had no previous record, was expelled for one year.

Mr. Sobol upheld the assualt charge against the student but said the penalty was inappropriate.

"Although the use of force against school staff cannot be minimized," he wrote, "not every use of force requires automatic expulsion."

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York has barred a Bronx Congressman from speaking at a Catholic high-school graduation because he supports abortion rights, an archdiocesan spokesman said.

Representative Eliot L. Engel, a Democrat serving the Bronx, had been scheduled to speak at the commencement of Salesian High School in New Rochelle until conservative Catholics in the district complained to the archdiocese that his stand on abortion made him an unsuitable speaker.

Mr. Engel is the first politician to be barred from speaking at a church-sponsored event or institution since the archdiocese adopted a policy in 1987 refusing such access to Catholics who deny or ignore church teachings. Mr. Engel is Jewish.

The diocese of Providence, R.I., recently banned state Representative Patrick Kennedy from speaking at a function at Prout Memorial High School because of his support for abortion rights.

A 17-year-old student is suing the Florence, S.C., school district for $3 million for the humiliation he says he suffered when police searched his car for drugs in front of his friends in a school parking lot.

City police said they had received two anonymous tips that narcotics could be found in the car of Phillip F. Moore Jr., a student at Wilson High School. School offiel10lcials gave police permission to search the car on school grounds. They did so using dogs just as school was dismissing at 3 P.M., but found no drugs.

The suit alleges that fellow students have shunned Mr. Moore since the episode.

Undercover police officers attempting to buy drugs in Los Angeles high schools have reported that, for the first time, students are beginning to "just say no."

The number of drug arrests in the district's high schools has increased significantly, a police spokesman said. This spring semester, 139 arrests on nine high-school campuses were reported. Of those arrested, 99 were students.

That figure is up from 121 arrests during the fall 1989 semester, and only 56 arrests during the spring semester last year, police said.

Yet the eight undercover officers who posed as students at the schools this spring reported that many students they approached advised them not to use drugs.

Police Chief Daryl Gates said last month that the officers' report reflects a tide turning against drug use among Los Angeles students.

Vol. 09, Issue 38

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