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The Delaware state board of education has moved to end the federal-court supervision of four New Castle County school districts resulting from a landmark desegregation case.

Gov. Thomas R. Carper announced this month that the board has authorized the state attorney general to file a motion in U.S. District Court seeking to end court supervision of the Brandywine, Red Clay, Colonial, and Christiana districts, which were incorporated in the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Governor Carper issued a statement saying that the districts have peacefully implemented a 1978 court order requiring school desegregation and have demonstrated their commitment to providing equal educational opportunity to children, regardless of race. The problems that remain in their schools "will find no answer in the courthouse,'' he said.

An organization called the Coalition to Save Our Schools has argued, however, that the districts have not remedied problems that have existed since the court order was implemented and that an end to federal-court oversight would be premature.

A New York State appeals court has reversed a lower-court ruling and reinstated a $350,000 damage award to a girl who was forced by two other girls to engage in sexual activity at the New York City elementary school where she was a 3rd grader.

The Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court this month ruled 3 to 1 in favor of the plaintiff, identified as Shante D., in her claim of negligence against the New York City board of education and her teacher at the time.

The court said that "a school board ... has an unqualified and mandatory duty to supervise the activities of the students in its charge'' that stems from its "physical custody over them.''

The case arose from an incident in March 1986 when Shante was molested by the two girls in a bathroom at Community School 30 in Manhattan.

Ellen B. Fishman, an assistant chief in the appeals division of the New York City law department, said she would seek permission to appeal the case to the state Court of Appeals, New York's highest court.

Vol. 12, Issue 38

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