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A trustee of a well-regarded private school in Atlanta who fought to change its ban on hiring non-Christian faculty members resigned late last month.

John R. Harrison, one of 30 trustees of the independent, nondenominational Westminster Schools, a group of K-12 college-preparatory schools, had taken up the cause after a group of parents and alumni began lobbying to change the policy in 1989. The ban has split members of the school community and brought Westminster unflattering publicity. (See Education Week, May 8, 1991).

The hiring practice led Georgetown University, Tufts University, and Washington University to boycott Westminster's annual college-recruitment day this fall. Harvard University, Yale University, Duke University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent letters of protest last summer, but had representatives at the event, a school spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, Dick Lindeman, the trustees have been considering long-range goals for the school since September, and hiring practices are among the issues to be addressed.

"We want to move forward, but we intend on maintaining the Christian character of the school,'' Mr. Lindeman said.

A common-pleas-court judge in Philadelphia has refused to hear a lawsuit brought by parents who sought to overturn the school district's condom-distribution program.

The parents charged that the program in the city's public high schools is "hazardous'' and should be abolished.

In a decision issued last month, Judge Bernard J. Avellino ruled that Parents United for Better Schools had insufficient grounds to file the suit because parents may exclude their children from participation in the program. (See Education Week, Jan. 22, 1992.)

"I am sympathetic to any assertion of parental rights,'' Judge Avellino wrote.

But because the district allows children to opt out of the program, he ruled, "the plaintiffs' interest in rearing their children ... hasn't suffered any infringement because of condom distribution.''

The plaintiffs are planning to appeal the decision.

Vol. 12, Issue 14

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