News Update

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For the second time this fail, a California school district has rejected an "in-school" scouting program run by the Boy Scouts of America.

The school board in San Jose's Alum Rock Union Elementary District voted 5 to 0 on Oct. 10 not to renew a $12,000 contract with the Boy Scouts for a supplemental science program, Superintendent of Schools Larry Aceves said.

The board found that the Boy Scouts rule barring homosexuals as Scout leaders or members to be at odds with its own nondiscrimination policy, Mr. Aceves said.

Under the Boy Scout program, which the district had used for eight years, Scout-trained college students were brought into 12 elementary schools once a week to give a science lesson, such as on ecology. It reached 4,900 students, Mr. Aceves said.

The Alum Rock board has not yet considered any action regarding its other in-school scouting program, which teaches career awareness to middle-school students, the superintendent said. Mr. Aceves said his district was considering a partnership with the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., who do not bar homosexuals, to fill the void left by the Boy Scout program.

Last month, the San Francisco school board effectively barred in-school Boy Scout programs by broadening its nondiscrimination policy to include "organizations, associations, and independent contractors" among those who must have the same nondiscrimination policy as the district. (See Education Week, Sept. 25, 1991 .)

California health officials have agreed to test about 500,000 poor children for lead poisoning to settle a lawsuit filed by child advocates and environmentalists.

The lawsuit alleged that the state was not complying with the 1989 federal law requiring that poor children who are enrolled in a part of the state's Medicaid program be screened for high levels of lead. California officials had maintained that screening does not always have to include a blood test. ('See Education Week, Feb. 6, 1991 .)

Under the settlement, which will go into effect later this fall, the state will spend at least $15 million to test all eligible young children for lead and will begin testing all enrollees as they reach their first birthday.

Vol. 11, Issue 08, Page 3

Published in Print: October 23, 1991, as News Update
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