District News Roundup
Students in New York City's public schools could enjoy after-school sports and receive stipends for performing community service under an anti-crime plan proposed by Mayor David N. Dinkins.
The youth initiative, a three-year, $60-million boost in funding for the city's Department of Youth Services, is part of the Mayor's $1.8-billion anti-crime proposal that includes the deployment of 10,000 more police officers citywide.
Under the youth plan, money would go toward short-term drug treatment, expanf after-school tutorial programs, youth-gang intervention, new after-school athletic programs for elementary-school students, and stipends for such community-service projects as cleaning up a drug-infested vacant lot, said Richard Murphy, commissioner of the city's Department of Youth Services.
All of the new programs, as with existing efforts, would be run by private community groups, he said.
The goal of the youth proposal, Mr. Murphy said, is to head off crime by "giving young people something to do" during their time outside school.
The state legislature may decide as soon as next month whether to approve a tax package that would fund the anti-crime proposal.
An assistant principal at a southeast Texas high school has been charged with murder after he allegedly walked into an administrator's office and opened fire with a .357-caliber handgun, local police said.
Harvey Dixon, 44, has posted the $50,000 bond on which he was held and is undergoing psychiatric evaluation at a Beaumont, Tex., hospital pending grand-jury action in the case, said Arthur Guy, a spokesman for the Hardin County sheriff's department.
Mr. Dixon, who worked at Hardin-Jefferson High School, apparently was despondent over losing an employment-discrimination lawsuit against the district when he allegedly shot Rodrick Hill, 45, in the head and hip earlier this month, Mr. Guy said. Mr. Hill was director of instruction for the Hardin-Jefferson Independent School District in Sour Lake, and reportedly had testified in the case.
Despite opposition from some students, a Roman Catholic high school in Lorain, Ohio, has added a phrase to the Pledge of Allegiance to reflect the church's position against abortion.
Officials at Lorain Catholic High School decided this month to amend the pledge by adding the phrase "born and unborn" after "... with liberty and justice for all."
"This is a way for a student to say, 'I believe "for all" includes the unborn,"' said J. Jerome Lackamp, a spokesman for the Cleveland diocese.
About 20 students planned to boycott classes to protest the change, but they were persuaded to go back to class, Mr. Lackamp said.
"No one is forced to say the pledge at all," he said. "If a student chooses not to say it or those three added words, there is no recrimination."
The Knights of Columbus, a national Catholic men's organization, began using the anti-abortion phrase when reciting the pledge several years ago, Mr. Lackamp said. At least one other Roman Catholic school in the Cleveland diocese--Holy Family Elementary school in Parma--is using the amended pledge. But it is up to individual schools to decide whether to use the new wording, he added.
Two veteran 4th-grade teachers in Hamden, Conn., were suspended for the year without pay for showing their students a question from the state's mastery test.
The incident was the first security breach in the six-year history of the test, which is administered annually to all students in the 4th, 6th, and 8th grades, according to Commissioner of Education Gerald N. Tirozzi.
The two teachers, Margaret Cuticello and Joyce Ryan, who have taught for 18 years and 15 years, respectively, admitted opening sealed packages of test booklets in advance of the test and telling their students an essay-question topic.
Following a recommendation from David W. Shaw, the superintendent of schools, the Hamden school board voted to suspend the teachers without pay for the remainder of the year. The suspensions are expected to cost the teachers about $40,000 each.
Mr. Tirozzi said state officials were reviewing procedures for test security. But, he said, "we feel strongly that, since this is the first time in six years, we have good procedures." He added that the suspensions should "send a loud, clear message across the state: If you participate in this kind of behavior, be prepared for strong measures.''
A chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has filed a complaint with the Massachusetts Education Department against the Amherst school district.
The complaint, filed this month, alleges that minority students have been the targets of racist treatment and epithets. It also claims that the district's minority hiring is deficient.
"The school administration has refused or neglected to take those affirmative steps necessary to eliminate systemic racism in the Amherst schools, thus leaving students of color exposed to further violations against their persons and dignity," the complaint states.
Gus Sayer, the superintendent of schools, said he could not comment on the complaint because of an ongoing investigation.
A jury has ordered a former asbestos manufacturer to pay a Minnesota school district $3.2 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Michael Sieben, a lawyer for the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale district, said the award was the largest ever ordered by a jury in a case involving a school building. Mr. Sieben said the manufacturer, Keene Company of Newark, N.J., had installed asbestos-containing fireproofing in Tartan High School in 1969-70. The district began removing asbestos from the school in 1983, and filed a suit against the company a year later in a Washington County district court, he said.
The lawyer said he expected the company to appeal the case.
Vol. 10, Issue 08