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Bleachers collapsed last month at a Wilmington, Del., high school despite warnings to the school by the Consumer Product Safety Commission that the bleachers could give way if not properly operated and maintained.

Forty-one students were injured, none seriously, when nine rows of bleachers manufactured 21 years ago under the trade name Brunswick gave way during an Oct. 25 student assembly at St. Mark's High School, a school official said.

The school had received one of the warnings issued nationwide by the Consumer Product Safety Commission last December to owners of manual, telescopic bleachers manufactured between 1966 and 1979 under the trade names Interkal, Vecta, and Brunswick. (See Education Week, Dec. 6, 1989.)

Since 1978, at least 16 bleachers fitting that description have collapsed, the CPSC said. Among other cautions, the agency had advised all schools to inspect the bleachers for wear and damage and to allow them to be opened only by trained personnel.

Kenneth P. Giles, a spokesman for the C.P.S.C., said last week his agency was investigating the Wilmington collapse--the first reported since the warning was issued--to determine if its warning had been sufficient.

Gregory R. Meece, development director for St. Mark's, last week asserted that the bleachers had been inspected, operated, and maintained according to the C.P.S.C. warning and guidelines.

New York City transit officials have expanded a pilot program intended to curb crime by putting transit police on subway cars used by junior-high and high-school students, authorities said.

The program, known as "Safe Passage," grew more than threefold on Oct. 24 when 71 transit police officers began patrolling trains near 52 schools throughout the city, said Sgt. Robert J. Valentino, a Transit Authority spokesman.

A multimillion-dollar anti-crime package approved by Gov. Mario M. Cuomo provides the $1.2 million needed to run the program for this school year. Since September, the program had been operating with 23 officers on trains running near just 12 schools, Sergeant Valentino said. (See Education Week, Sept. 26, 1990.)

About half the students at the schools participate in the program, designed to curb crime both against and by students, he said.

An administrative shake-up that resulted in the dismissal of the head of the Red School House, an alternative pro for Native Americans in St. Paul, Minn., has been reversed by a vote of the school's faculty.

The school's board of directors had voted 5-to-0 during a meeting last month to reorganize the administration in a move that eliminated several positions and effectively resulted in the firing of Stephanie Autumn, the school's administrative coordinator.

According to local press accounts, board members admitted that although the reorganization was designed to streamline the staff, only Ms. Autumn lost her job in the process.

Although she was not without supporters within the school, several board members argued that Ms. Autumn, who had held the post for two years, had failed to keep parents informed about the workings of the school and to notify the board about a loss of educational accreditation last spring. (See Education Week, May 2, 1990.)

A school spokesman said that the decision to dismiss Ms. Autumn was reversed by a vote of the "school community" last week.

Vol. 10, Issue 10

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