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The New York State board of regents has reaffirmed its ban on the Channel One classroom television-news program.

The regents voted 14 to 1 last month to continue prohibiting public schools in the state from subscribing to the 12-minute daily news show, which includes two minutes of commercials. Whittle Communications, the producer of the show, had lobbied hard for the regents to overturn the ban. (See Education Week, May 12, 1993.)

The firm said it will now refocus its efforts on bills in the state legislature that would give school boards the right to contract for commercially sponsored programs such as Channel One.

Meanwhile, a California bill that would ban Channel One in that state has been the subject of intense maneuvering in the legistature.

The Assembly education committee voted 10 to 3 last month in favor of the bill. But on July 7, opponents forced a second vote in which the measure was defeated. The bill has already been approved by the state Senate.

Los Angeles County's juvenile-detention camps and the on-site schools that serve them have been rescued from the brink of closure for the second time in as many months.

The county board of supervisors last month approved $30 million to keep the facilities running through December, said Laurene W. Twineham, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, which operates the camp schools.

Nearly all of the 19 detention camps for juvenile felons in the county as well as 11 of the 13 on-site schools that serve them were expected to close as early as May due to lack of funds. (See Education Week, April 7, 1993.)

An earlier infusion of money had kept the camps open in May and June. (See Education Week, May 5, 1993.)

The Los Angeles County Office of Education, which is separately funded, has funds for the camp schools, but the schools cannot operate without the facilities to house them.

Beginning this fall, Massachusetts public school teachers will receive state-sponsored training on how to address the needs of gay and lesbian students.

More than one-third of the state's 300 public high schools have agreed to participate in the training sessions, which will be conducted in 13 regions around the state, said David LaFontaine, the chairman of the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, which is co-sponsoring the training with the state education department.

Teachers and others from the school community will learn to prevent violence and harassment against homosexual students and be trained in suicide-intervention strategies, among other skills.

The training follows the commission's March report that criticized teacher training as well as policies and practices of secondary schools that make them an "unsafe climate'' for homosexuals.

In May, the state education board became the nation's first to recommend that schools adopt guidelines to protect gay students. (See Education Week, May 26, 1993.)

Like the implementation of those recommendations, participation in the training is a local option. It is expected to cost "a few hundred thousand dollars,'' Mr. LaFontaine said.

A school district created to serve special-education students in a Hasidic Jewish community in New York State violates the U.S. Constitution's ban on government establishment of religion, the state's highest court has ruled.

The Court of Appeals handed down a 4-to-2 decision July 6 affirming lower-court decisions that the legislature erred in establishing a school district for the village of Kiryas Joel, about 50 miles northwest of Manhattan. Nearly all of the village's 12,000 residents belong to the Satmar Hasidic sect.

The sect maintains its own schools, but cannot afford to run a school for emotionally and physically disabled students. In 1989, state lawmakers responded with the new school district, which was challenged by the state school-boards association. (See Education Week, Feb. 5, 1992.)

An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is expected.

The District of Columbia school board voted last month to close nine schools and one former school property as part of a plan to narrow the city's budget gap and provide money for pay raises for teachers and administrators.

Six elementary schools, three secondary schools, and a school-owned building that was being rented to a nonprofit education group were to be closed by June 30, the deadline set by Superintendent Franklin L. Smith and city leaders in a budget summit earlier this year.

Under the budget agreement, Mr. Smith pledged to cut 883 employees from the school payroll and to close or consolidate 10 schools. (See Education Week, May 19, 1993.) In return, the city council agreed to provide pay raises and avoid further cuts in the $511.3 million school budget.

Community groups organized drives in an effort to thwart the closing of several schools. Only M.M. Washington--a high school that provides career training--was removed by the board from the superintendent's final list of schools recommended for closure.

Vol. 12, Issue extra edition

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