District News Roundup

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Two Brooklyn high-school students were shot and killed last week inside their school by another 15-year-old student, New York City police reported.

Tyrone Sinkler, 16, and Ian Moore, 17, were shot on the second floor of Thomas Jefferson High School at about 8:43 A.M., and both were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, according to Det. Joseph McConville of the police department's public-information division.

Mr. Sinkler was shot once in the head, and Mr. Moore was wounded once in the chest, according to police.

Police charged a 10th grader at the school, Khalil Sumpter, with two counts each of second-degree murder, criminal possession of a deadly weapon, and criminal use of a deadly weapon, Detective McConville said.

The alleged killer was captured by school security officers two blocks from the school, police said. He allegedly was carrying a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun, which is believed to be the murder weapon.

The motive for the shootings is still under investigation, Detective McConville said, but is thought to be related to an "ongoing dispute.''

The incident occurred about 45 minutes before a scheduled visit to the school by Mayor David N. Dinkins. The Mayor made the visit and urged a student assembly to practice nonviolence, said Jeff Maclin, a spokesman for Mr. Dinkins.

The state-appointed receiver of the financially troubled city of Chelsea, Mass., has announced a financial-recovery plan that includes replacing virtually every school building in the district with a unified school complex.

The receiver, James F. Carlin, made the announcement late last month when he revealed his plans for eradicating the $9.5-million deficit in the city's $46-million budget.

The complex--to consist of a new high school, two schools serving pre-kindergarten through grade 8, and one renovated building--is expected to cost $92 million. The proposed campus would accommodate up to 4,880 regular and special-education students.

Currently, the district's 3,700 students are housed in five poorly maintained schools, all of which were built before 1925.

The facility would also be used for vocational education, year-round day care, adult-literacy programs, and senior-citizen activities.

This multi-use concept was a feature of the original plan by the team of Boston University employees who are managing the district schools under contract with the school board, according to Robert I. Sperber, a member of the team who is in charge of building operations.

To aid the construction project, Boston University planners secured Chelsea's placement at the top of a list of needy districts eligible to receive 95 percent of construction costs from state funds. While funds and board of education approval are still pending, actual construction should begin in the fall, Mr. Sperber said.

The San Francisco-based chapter of the United Way has asked six local Boy Scout councils it supports to agree to phase out their discrimination against homosexuals over the next five years.

While the United Way of the Bay Area had not had a response from the councils as of last week, the western regional leadership of the Boy Scouts of America said last week it considers those councils' relationship with United Way to be severed and will look elsewhere for the $849,000 the six councils receive from the charity annually.

The unanimous decision Feb. 20 by the United Way board of directors amounts to an "ultimatum,'' said Buford Hill, the western regional director for the Boy Scouts.

"We've been kicked out,'' he said, adding that "we're not going to bend'' on the policy of barring homosexual Scouts or Scoutmasters.

The United Way board called on the Scout councils to operate in a "nondiscriminatory fashion'' and to work, over the next five years, for either a change in the national policy or for an exemption for themselves.

The San Francisco board's request was not an ultimatum, but a "prescription for gradual change,'' said John Stafford, a spokesman for the United Way chapter.

Even if the Scout councils respond negatively, the United Way board will take another vote, Mr. Stafford said.

The United Way board has not yet discussed withholding the funds--about 16 percent of the councils' budgets--from the Scout councils.

But, Mr. Stafford said, "If ... eventually the relationship goes, the money goes.''

Nationally, gay-rights advocates have announced a boycott of the United Way to protest its financial support of the Boy Scouts.

A circuit-court commissioner in Milwaukee has barred a 16-year-old from having any contact with the teacher he assaulted earlier this year.

The Milwaukee Teachers' Education Association won the court order for the teacher late last month. The order bars the youth, who was expelled after the incident, from contacting the teacher in person, on the telephone, or through third parties.

The teacher had been having problems with the student before the assault. While the teacher and the assistant principal were discussing the boy's disciplinary problems, the student threw a wastebasket at the teacher, but the teacher was not injured. As the teacher was walking back to his room, however, the student attacked him from behind, hitting him in the side of the head and knocking him to the ground. It took five stitches to close a cut in the teacher's ear.

After the assault, the teacher was subjected to repeated threats from the expelled student's friends.

The case marks the first time the Milwaukee teachers' association has had to seek a court order to protect a teacher, said Donald Ernest, the association's executive director.

"There seem to be more and more assaults against teachers,'' Mr. Ernest said. "We're going to make sure teachers are protected. If it requires us to go to court, we will do that.''

A 14-year-old Baltimore youth has been charged as an adult with shooting a school police officer who attempted to break up a fight.

Peter Adams, an 8th grader at Roland Park Elementary-Middle School, was charged with attempted murder and handgun violations.

The officer, 38-year-old James Kelly, was in serious but stable condition last week following surgery at a shock-trauma unit for a stomach wound.

Police said that Officer Kelly had tried to break up a fight between Peter and another 14-year-old male when the gun Peter was holding went off. Both boys had a history of disruptive and violent behavior, officials said.

In the aftermath of the incident, Mayor Kurt Schmoke said he would consider recommending that school officials separate potentially violent students from regular classrooms.

Mr. Schmoke's daughter attends Roland Park.

The Houston Independent School District has moved to curtail a policy allowing students from other districts to attend Houston magnet schools without paying tuition.

The board of trustees this month voted to restrict the interdistrict transfer of students after local community leaders complained that the policy was unfair to the district's taxpayers.

Houston magnet schools that cannot fill their open slots with district students may petition the superintendent to allow outside transfers for racial balance, however.

The district had enacted the interdistrict-transfer policy a decade ago when it was under a federal court order to desegregate and wanted to counter the effects of white migration to the suburbs.

Vol. 11, Issue 24

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