District News Roundup

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The Eden Prairie, Minn., school district discriminated against a 6-year-old girl who complained of sexual harassment on a school bus, the state department of human rights has ruled.

The department ruled this month that the girl, Cheltzie Hentz, was discriminated against because school officials did not treat the charges of offensive language and rowdy behavior under district sexual-harassment policies.

The district originally responded to the complaint under general discipline policy for inappropriate language, banning one boy from the school bus for a year and removing another for a week.

State officials said their decision set a precedent by establishing that elementary school students can be sexually harassed by their peers.

The U.S. Education Department ruled in April that the district had mishandled the complaint and should strengthen enforcement of its sexual-harassment policy. (See Education Week, May 12, 1993.)

Busing Furor Continues: The superintendent of the Wausau, Wis., school system has agreed to step down in response to public furor over a busing plan to integrate low-income Asian-American students with their more affluent white peers.

The Wausau school board, five members of which face a recall vote Dec. 14 because they approved the plan, moved this month to buy out Superintendent Penny Kleinhans in the last year of her three-year contract.

The $141,700 buyout package includes, on top of remaining salary and benefit payments, a $57,500 "cash incentive'' donated in part by private sources.

Fatal Bus Crash: Four students were killed and several people were injured when a truck slammed into a school bus in Snyder, Okla.

A 20-seat bus carrying nine students home from local elementary and middle schools this month was crossing a highway when a truck hit its right side, causing the bus to roll and land on its side in a ditch.

The impact threw at least eight children from the bus into the ditch. The bus was equipped with seat belts, but no state or district policies required their use.

Three students died at the site, and eight people were hospitalized, including a student who later died of her injuries and the bus driver, who was listed in critical condition last week.

Elementary School Murder: The body of a 14-year-old boy was found this month in an outdoor stairwell at Ridgely Elementary School in Springfield, Ill.

Harold Page 3rd died from two gunshot wounds to the head. The murder was the first on Springfield school property "in a long time, if ever,'' according to a police spokesman.

The 8th grader had been a member of a gang called the Simon City Royals, the spokesman said.

Vol. 13, Issue 12

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