Private Schools Column

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A 7th-grade boy who was allegedly beaten and forced into women's clothing at the direction of a teacher has filed a $22.5 million lawsuit against the teacher and the Excelsior Seventh Day Adventist School in New York City.

Teacher Pauline Williamson instructed Caleb Guerrier on April 24 to "put on what's in the box" as punishment for making noise, according to the boy's lawyer, Sanford A. Rubenstein.

Caleb refused, knowing the box contained high-heeled shoes, a wig, a bra, and a dress, items that had been used in the past to discipline boys, Mr. Rubenstein said. At that point, a group of boys approached Caleb, punched him in the head, beat him, and forced him into the clothing, while the teacher stood by joking, Mr. Rubenstein said.

The boy and his mother sued in a state court in Kings County late last month, requesting the money for assault and battery, negligence, and punitive damages.

Officials at the 200-student, K-8 school in Brooklyn refused to comment on the case and Ms. Williamson's phone number is unpublished. But according to The Associated Press, she has been suspended with pay while the school investigates.

Roman Catholic schools in northern Colorado are getting a big boost from their archbishop.

In a pastoral letter sent to Catholics last month, Archbishop J. Francis Stafford of Denver urged his parishes to support Catholic schools, which he said "are the best way to help parents educate and nurture their children in the Catholic faith."

The letter, the second of a three-part series devoted to the benefits of Catholic schools, was released as the Denver-area archdiocese, which enrolls more than 12,000 K-12 students, is considering adding between seven and 13 elementary schools and an additional high school.

A bill that would transfer the supervision of Hawaii's private schools from the state education department to a board of independent schools has passed both houses of the legislature.

Gov. Benjamin J. Cayetano will likely sign the legislation.

Private schools in Hawaii have always enjoyed a good relationship with the department, said Robert M. Witt, the executive director of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.

But, he added, an independent-school board that understands non-public schools will be able to regulate them more effectively, and enable the department to focus more on public schools, which are run as a single statewide system in Hawaii.

--Laura Miller

Vol. 14, Issue 38

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