News Update

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Judge Won't Block Initiative To Allow Prayer in D.C. Schools: A District of Columbia judge has declined to block a ballot initiative that would allow voluntary student prayer in the district's public schools. (See Education Week, April 27, 1994.)

Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and People for the American Way sued to keep the initiative off the November ballot.

Backers of the prayer measure still had to gather 16,500 signatures by July 11 for the initiative to appear on the November ballot.

Brakes on Bus Contract: After months of controversy, the Fairfax County, Va., board of supervisors has terminated a problem-plagued contract with a private company to maintain school buses.

The decision came after the board and the company, Johnson Controls World Services Inc., disagreed over which penalties the company should pay for failing to keep up with repairs. (See Education Week, June 15, 1994.)

Illegal Immigrants Targeted: Citing the cost of providing social services to illegal immigrants, the backers of a California measure that would prohibit illegal-immigrant children from attending schools there garnered enough signatures last month to put the proposal on the state's November ballot.

School districts would be required to check the immigration status of all their students and to report to U.S. immigration authorities and state education officials any parents and students they suspected were in the country illegally. (See Education Week, June 8, 1994.)

Recall Drive in Vista: A parents' group in Vista, Calif., appears to have obtained enough signatures to place on the November ballot a recall proposal aimed at ousting two members of a self-described "Christian literalist'' bloc on the local school board.

The three-member conservative bloc garnered national attention last year by approving a policy that encourages the teaching of "scientific alternatives'' to evolution. (See Education Week, Sept. 8, 1993.)

The Vista Teachers Association said last month that a parents' group had collected 12,000 signatures on a recall petition. To place a recall measure on the ballot requires 9,145 validated signatures.

Suit Settlement: A rural Alabama school district has settled a discrimination suit filed by a mixed-race student who said her high school principal called her "a mistake.''

The student will receive $25,000 from the Randolph County school district, her lawyer said. According to the suit, Principal Hulond Humphries made the remark at an assembly where he threatened to cancel the spring prom if interracial couples planned to attend.

Mr. Humphries was suspended March 14 but was reinstated two weeks later after an investigation by the district. A U.S. Justice Department investigation is pending. (See Education Week, May 25, 1994.)

Prep-School Plan Dies: Baltimore's schools superintendent, Walter G. Amprey, has rescinded a plan to have a foundation affiliated with the college-preparatory Hyde School in Maine take over a troubled city high school.

The plan reportedly would have added at least $1.5 million a year to the cost of running Patterson High School, and the plan had been criticized by the school community and had prompted a student walkout. (See Education Week, June 22, 1994.)

Vol. 13, Issue 39E, Page 4

Published in Print: July 13, 1994, as News Update
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