District News Roundup
Citing more than a dozen serious weapons incidents--including a fatal stabbing--inside or very near a school thus far this term, the United Federation of Teachers last week called on New York City to provide handheld metal detectors in all 124 of its high schools.
Metal detectors are now used in 41 high schools, but teachers say they want more protection for themselves and students.
The union also demanded that the city provide safe passage for students going to and from school with a "highly visible police presence'' around schools, Rhonda Weingarten, a lawyer for the UŸFŸTŸ, said in a statement.
In addition, the union called for an immediate safety review of all intermediate and junior high schools and demanded that the city place at least one security guard at every elementary school. Some 100 of the 625 elementary schools still do not have guards, according to the union.
Union officials also released the results of an annual survey of crime incidents against faculty members, which showed that in 1991-92, city schools had the highest number reported incidents since the union began keeping records in 1973. The total number of incidents increased 17 percent over the previous school year, to 4,123, and serious crimes--assault, robbery, and sex offenses--rose 21.8 percent, to 1,377 incidents.
James Vlasto, a spokesman for Chancellor Joseph A. Fernandez, said that given budgetary constraints, metal-detectors and security guards--which he said cost $1 million per school--are put in place only where they are deemed to be needed most.
"It's one thing to make a statement like that,'' Mr. Vlasto said of the UŸFŸTŸ demands. "It's another to say how you're going to pay for it.''
A shortage of qualified substitute teachers has forced the Fairfax County, Va., schools to rescind a requirement--adopted last spring after an escaped convict working as a substitute was arrested--that background checks be completed before hiring.
Under the new rules, adopted last month, qualified substitute teachers with good references and sound community ties will be allowed to teach before the fingerprint check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation is completed.
District officials said that they have many potential substitutes who cannot teach until the county receives the results. The process normally takes 10 weeks.
Last May, F.B.I. agents arrested John Garris, who had escaped from a Maryland prison while serving a 45-year sentence for murder and robbery, at a middle school science class. Mr. Garris had been hired before his background check was completed.
Following the incident, the school board toughened its background checks and began requiring school administrators with teaching certificates to work as substitute teachers when needed.
A Montgomery County, Md., college freshman has been sentenced to six months in jail on perjury charges related to his cheating on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.
The case is believed to be the first criminal prosecution related to an S.A.T. cheating incident.
Laurence H. Adler, 19, will begin serving his sentence in the county jail on Dec. 26 after his first semester at college.
In July, Mr. Adler agreed to plead guilty to charges of perjury and subornation of perjury. The student admitted that he and a friend lied in testimony during a civil suit Mr. Adler had filed against the Educational Testing Service, which administers the S.A.T. Mr. Adler was seeking to force the firm to accept his scores on the test.
The åŸôŸóŸ had charged, and Mr. Adler later acknowledged, that as a high school senior he had hired a college freshman to take his college-admissions test. Mr. Adler was fined $10,000 for filing a fraudulent lawsuit and was indicted on the perjury charge.
Mr. Adler was also sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 100 hours of community service, and was ordered to enroll in a psychotherapy program.
According to Matthew Campbell, a deputy state attorney, Mr. Adler's lawyer is expected to file a motion to review the sentence.
A tentative collaboration between a Colorado school district and a private school to provide parents school choice without vouchers may not be legal, according to an opinion by the state's attorney general.
Under the proposed partnership, students of the Moffat district would have been able to attend either the public schools or a small private school in the town of Crestone that now serves about 20 students. The district enrolls approximately 100 K-12 students.
The opinion states that the contract improperly entrusts the board's authority to a private institution. It also states that the agreement does not include enough details about how student performance will be measured or the education programs planned.
Under the proposal, the private school, which does not give grades or administer tests, would have been accountable to the board of the Moffat district, which has a traditional curriculum, for the satisfactory progress of the students.
The Cleveland school board has approved a plan by Superintendent Sammie Campbell Parrish to overhaul the district's administrative structure.
The plan, approved unanimously by the board late last month, calls for administrative duties to be reassigned in an effort to streamline the district's leadership.
Ms. Parrish said contract obligations prevented her from cutting many positions, but the plan will enable her to make reductions as contracts expire.
The plan would create two deputy-superintendent posts, one for education and one for operations; eliminate five of six cabinet-level positions; and reduce the number of administrators who must review information from principals before passing it to the superintendent.
The plan remains subject to approval by the Ohio Department of Education and plaintiffs in a desegregation suit brought against the district.
The junior-varsity football team of Bowie High School in Arlington, Tex., will be unable to finish its season for the second straight year because more than half of its players are academically ineligible under the state's "no pass, no play'' rule, school officials say.
This year, 20 of the 26 players failed at least one of their classes in the first six-week grading period.
The controversial policy was devised by the Presidential candidate Ross Perot when he headed the Texas school-reform effort in the mid-1980's. The rule states that any student who fails one or more classes will be unable to participate in any extracurricular activities or any school-sponsored activity conducted after school hours.
The growth of the Los Angeles Unified School District's enrollment has slowed significantly, according to a district report.
Since last year, the district has grown by just 1,507 students, a smaller gain than at any other time in the past dozen years, according to a report issued by district officials last month.
Henry Jones, the district's administrator of budget services, said the enrollment slowdown may have been caused by a number of factors, including an extremely poor local economy and parents' concerns over the safety of their children following the recent riots.
The district reported its enrollment in kindergarten through 12th
grade as being 641,206 students for this school year.
Vol. 12, Issue 09