District News Roundup
A federal judge has ended an 18-year-old desegregation suit against the Lowndes County, Ala., schools, after declaring further efforts at integration pointless since the overwhelming majority of students in the district now are black.
The case against the Lowndes County public schools began in 1973
when the U.S.
Justice Department filed suit in an effort to better integrate the school system's white and black students.
Since then, according to Eli Seaborn, superintendent of schools, white families have left the county school system, leaving the approximately 3,000-student district 98percent black. A private academy in the rea enrolls some 300 white children, he noted. "I would think that's where most of them are going," he added.
After becoming superintendent six years ago, Mr. Seaborn said he began efforts to end the district's long court involvement when he realized how much staff time it was consuming.
"It was of no significance as far as I could to do this."
He said the Justice Department conducted an investigation, found the district's request reasonable, and did not object to the mid-March ruling by U.S. District Judge Robert Varner.
A highly respected Boston principals returned to work after a five-day suspension for falsely certifying an application for a child to the prestigiousBoston Latin School.
Steven C. Leonard was suspended on March 7 for authorizing documents stating that an 11-year-old girl who lives in Brockton was a student at his Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School.
The student's mother, Pilar Garcia-Cabrera, was also suspended from her post as an East Zone administrative assistant for falsely claiming that she was a resident of Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood.
Mr. Leonard's five-day suspension was said to have disheartened Joseph McDonough, Boston's interim superintendent, because the principal's work in turning around his beleaguered middle school has been a bright spot in an otherwise troubled school system. Under Mr. Leonard's stewardship, King Middle School was transformed from one of the city's worst to one. with a waiting list for admission. In a statement, Mr. McDonough said Mr. Leonard's "past record, as well as the promise of his future service, merit mitigation of even more serious disciplinary measures.
Both Mr. Leonard and Ms. Garcia-Cabrera will be docked five days' pay.
The Chicago Board of Education, in a reversal, has unanimously decided to retain the Head Start program within the city's schools.
Earlier this year, the board had announced a plan to phase out Head Start by June 1993 and to transfer administration of the federally funded program to community agencies. That decision was made because the program ran a $1.6-million deficit last year, and officials were unsuccessful in finding additional federal funds to finance the program.
At a January school-board meeting, however, 75 parents protested the decision, saying that local nonprofit agencies would be unable to cope with the sudden onslaught of children, leading to the disruption of their instruction.
The board also directed Superintendent Ted D. Kimbrough to negotiate continued funding with the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the city's Department of Human Services, which Mr. Kimbrough was also advised to examine methods of expanding the preschool program to serve more children. Currently,the school system's program serves 5,160 children, but an estimated 48,000 Chicago children are eligible to benefit from the program.
A 9-year-old Long Island girl was critically injured at school earlier this month when she was pinned between a wall and a motorized gymnasium partition.
Deanna Moon, a 4th grader at Sunquam Elementary School in Melville, N.Y., was in a deep coma last week and suspected to have suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation after her neck was crushed in the accident, said Alice Siegel, a spokesman for the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset.
The accident occurred about 2 P.M. on March 13 as Deanna tried to leave her gym class by walking around the moving partition, according to Lieut. John Gierasch of the Suffolk County police.
The accordion-style partition, which stands 20 feet high and divides the gym in two, is designed to operate only if a button is pressed continuously, police said. But a teacher apparently had wedged a piece of wood against the button to keep it operating unattended so that he could leave the room, Lieutenant Gierasch said.
After police complete their investigation of the incident, the Suffolk County district attorney's office will review the matter, Lieutenant Gierasch said.
The Half Hollow Hills Central School 36 District is continuing its own investigation which could take three to four weeks, said Michael Conte, a district spokesman.
The teacher who was operating the partition, whom Mr. Conte would not identify, has been suspended with pay pending completion of the district's investigation, Mr. Conte said.
The District of Columbia Board of Education has approved a $500,000
that would include the installation of metal detectors for the first time in at least some of the city's junior and senior high schools.
The board unanimously endorsed the plan to stem growing violence in Washington's secondary schools, where stabbings have left students critically injured in recent months. At least 10 schools are included in the plan, but officials have not set an exact number or identified the schools where the devices will be installed. While metal detectors are in regular use in some schools in Chicago and Detroit, the District of Columbia schools have used them only for events such as basketball games.
Patricia A. Lambe, director of communications for the school district, said that if funds can be found in this year's budget, the devices could be installed by next fall.
"The board discussed alternatives to installing the detectors, including the use of a hotline and comprehensive enhancement of security," she added. "We were saddened that it has actually come down to something like this."
The funds will also be used to buy electronic equipment and train security personnel.
Twenty students from a Philadelphia-area school were injured last Wednesday night when the bleachers they were sitting on collapsed beneath them during a high-school basketball game West Chester University in West Chester, Pa.
The injured students, all of whom attend Glen Mills School in Glen Mills, Pa., were taken to area hospitals, treated for minor injuries, and released, school and university officials said.
Joanne L. Matika, a spokesman for the university, said the students had been wait game between Chester High School and the glen Mills School when the incident occurred.
A number of the students had been cheering to celebrate their team's victory, but they did not appear to have done anything out of the ordinary that might have triggered the bleacher collapse, Ms. Matika said.
She said university officials were investigating the incident.
The bleachers, which bore the nameplate "Universal," were installed at the university in 1949 and had been renovated during the 1982-1983 school year, Ms.Matika said.
Vol. 10, Issue 27