State Journal: Crossfire; As the Superintendency Turns

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A 17-year-old West Virginia boy got a lesson in the rough and tumble of politics when he testified before a Senate panel in support of a school-safety bill.

During a one-day stint last month as a Senate page, Nathan Kingery told lawmakers about the popularity of firearms and how he accidentally shot himself in the hand last spring with a sawed-off shotgun.

"You can't imagine how many weapons are in the school until you've been there on a day-to-day basis," he testified.

The next day, when Mr. Kingery showed up at Capital High School in Charleston to enroll as a new student, the principal declined. A newspaper account had mistakenly reported that the youth's testimony reflected conditions at Capital High, a description that hardly pleased officials there.

Mr. Kingery eventually took his place at the school. Now, he may even return to the legislature for more testimony on school safety.

"He's a brave boy who wants to do what's right," said Donna J. Boley, the Senate Republican leader.

As the Superintendency Turns

The Georgia Public Television debut of Linda C. Schrenko, the new state schools superintendent, quickly turned into a soap opera. Ms. Schrenko feared an ambush just before a teleconference was to be beamed to the state's schools over the broadcaster's educational satellite channel.

The format of the hourlong show seemed innocuous enough. Following a brief opening segment, Ms. Schrenko would take questions from the host, the studio audience, and callers.

Still, her press secretary, Elizabeth R. LaVack, was wary. She knew that the Georgia Public Telecommunications Commission, which operates GPTV, is now run by Werner Rogers, the previous state chief, whom Ms. Schrenko defeated in an upset last November. Ms. Schrenko had also clashed previously with the show's executive producer.

Ms. LaVack pulled the plug on the appearance after her request for a roster of the audience members and a list of the host's questions went unanswered and she deemed the introductory profile of Ms. Schrenko too negative.

"I don't mind facing a crowd that isn't happy with me, but I do mind it being set up," Ms. Schrenko told reporters.

Since then, Mr. Rogers and Ms. Schrenko appear to have made up. As a gesture of goodwill, she will use the station to produce the teleconference on her own.

--Drew Lindsay & Peter Schmidt

Vol. 14, Issue 21

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