District News Roundup

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The Bristol, Va., school district has dropped a proposal to use the Bible as a text to teach grammar, literature, and history after being advised that the plan would be unconstitutional.

Ronald R. Morgan, the chairman of the Bristol school board, proposed the plan late last month. Mr. Morgan was the Mayor of the southwest Virginia community in 1983 when the district was sued for offering Bible classes for 4th- and 5th-grade students. The district was forced to end that practice.

Four of the five board members signed on to the plan to use the Bible in the classroom as a text as long as there were no prayers or discussions of salvation, sin, or the soul.

The board voted to get a legal opinion about the idea from the Virginia School Boards Association, said Superintendent David Lenker of Bristol.

A lawyer for the school boards' group advised the district that the proposal would violate the First Amendment's ban on government establishment of religion.

Meanwhile, the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue over the plan.

Citing the legal opinion and the threatened lawsuit, the board dropped the plan early this month.

Enrollment Policy Relaxed: Parents in Los Angeles have moved quickly to take advantage of the school board's decision last month allowing open enrollment within the district as long as racial balances are not disturbed and classrooms are not overcrowded.

The new policy relaxes guidelines that required a principal's permission to withdraw a child and enroll him in another school.

The surge in interest among parents is expected to increase next month, when schools announce the number of slots available and begin taking applications for next year.

A lottery system will be used to select students for schools where applications outnumber spaces.

Elementary School Shooting: A 10-year-old boy who had been taunted in a playground scuffle allegedly shot and killed an 11-year-old classmate with a .22-caliber semiautomatic pistol last week at an elementary school in Butte, Mont.

The shooting occurred as students at the Margaret Leary Elementary School lined up for classes on the morning of April 12.

The 10-year-old fired a gun at one of the students he had argued with on the school playground the previous day, according to police, but he missed, instead shooting a boy who had not been involved in the dispute.

A group of boys had teased the 10-year-old about his parents, a school official said, leading to a shoving match.

According to the school official and news accounts, the boy's father is sick and his mother is infected with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS.

Vol. 13, Issue 30

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