District News Roundup

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Following an incident last month in which sexually explicit materials were distributed at a student conference, Schools Chancellor Ramon C. Cortines of New York City has decided to relocate the district's AIDS-resource center from the campus of a high school to a school board office where it can be more directly administered.

The board of education's H.I.V.-AIDS Resource Center was a sponsor of the conference on safe sex and AIDS, which was held at New York University last month.

While calling the conference "a success in many ways,'' Mr. Cortines objected to materials presented at a table run by an independent AIDS-education group, which displayed information on anal and oral sex and graphic descriptions of sexual practices.

"In my viewpoint, the [materials] contained language that was totally inappropriate [for children] and possessed no education value,'' Mr. Cortines wrote in a memo to the board.

The Chancellor said the center's relocation will help to clarify the role of the resource center, which provides counseling and information on AIDS to high school students and teachers throughout the city.

Miami Building Contract: After a bidding war, the Dade County, Fla., school district has awarded a $53.9 million contract to a local African-American construction company to build a high school in Miami.

Although the bid amount was $13 million more than the board's original budget for the project, Gaston-Thacker Inc. was the board's unanimous choice for the contract.

In an effort to counter past racial inequities in awarding building contracts, only African-American contractors were allowed to bid on the school-construction job.

Construction of Northwestern High School, which is expected to take three years, will begin this spring.

Classroom Suicide: A 15-year-old student shot and killed himself last month in a Cherokee County, Ga., high school classroom.

The student, Brian Head, pulled out a pistol after being teased by other students at Etowah High School, according to the Cherokee County sheriff's office.

A social-studies teacher witnessed the suicide after the other students fled the room.

Principal Bill Carpenter said Mr. Head, who was overweight and in a special-education program, had had many personal problems.

Metal-Detector Fight: City and school officials in Yonkers, N.Y., have locked horns and landed in court after the mayor ordered and supervised the installation of metal detectors in a local high school without consulting the school system.

School officials asked the state supreme court for a restraining order against Mayor Terence Zaleski, but a compromise was reached under which the metal detectors were removed and meetings were arranged to discuss safety at Roosevelt High School.

Officials from the mayor's office and the school superintendent's staff will be required to agree on a safety plan and report to the judge soon.

The episode followed several violent incidents at the 1,600-student school, including a stabbing the previous day.

No-Contact Sports: Opposing players in schools in a southern California athletic league will no longer exchange post-game handshakes. Officials made the ruling, which applies to boys and girls sports, after determining that the traditional sign of sportsmanship has become a prelude to violence.

The Maramonte League, which includes schools in the valley region west of Los Angeles, halted handshakes between players after fights broke out after basketball games this season.

Other California schools have stopped the post-game ritual when conflicts were expected, officials said, but principals from the eight schools in the sports league are the first in the state to decide that an end to handshakes is the most peaceful policy.

Vol. 13, Issue 28

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