News in Brief: A National Roundup

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Judge Blocks Consent Forms For La. School Health Clinics

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the use of new parental-consent forms in Louisiana's school-based health clinics.

U.S. District Judge Marcel Livaudais's decision this month comes in response to a lawsuit filed by a health clinic at a New Orleans high school against state officials. The suit contends that the new forms invade students' privacy, violate due process, and disproportionately affect African-Americans.

The forms, which would require parents to approve specific services for their children, represent a compromise by members of a governor's study group. Some of the panel members are conservative Christians who do not like the clinics.

Robert L. Johannessen, a spokesman for the Louisiana health department, said state officials did not believe the new forms would affect the provision of services at the clinics.

The restraining order will remain in effect for at least another week.

--Bess Keller

Ky. Teacher, Aide Disciplined

A Louisville, Ky., teacher accused of jerking her students by the arms and yelling at them has agreed to retire, while an instructional aide who brought the behavior to light has been fired.

The 92,000-student Jefferson County schools announced last week that Norma Jean Jefferson was opting to retire at the end of this school year, after being suspended for five days this month.

Investigators accused the Chenoweth Elementary School 1st and 2nd grade teacher of shouting at students and grabbing them by the arms and letting them watch "The Jerry Springer Show" during class. The district also suspended the school's principal, Maxie Johnson, for three days for not immediately reporting the inappropriate conduct.

Lisa Qureshi, the aide with Ms. Jefferson's class, was fired because she purportedly failed to inform the state's child-protective-services agency on the incidents, as required by law, officials said. They also allege she waited weeks before reporting the full extent of the problem.

Ms. Qureshi, who denies the charge, said last week that she has hired a lawyer.

--Jeff Archer

Seattle Schools Select Chief

Joseph Olchefske, the acting superintendent of the Seattle schools, has been given the permanent position.

Mr. Olchefske, 40, has served in as acting chief since last April, when then-Superintendent John H. Stanford was diagnosed with leukemia. Mr. Stanford died in November. ("Seattle Chief Leaves Legacy of Achievement," Dec. 9, 1998.)

Like the man he succeeds, Mr. Olchefske did not come from the world of education. The former head of the public-finance group at a Seattle investment firm, the new superintendent was the first hire of Mr. Stanford, a retired U.S. Army general, after he came to the 48,000-student district in 1995. Mr. Olchefske is widely credited with putting the system's financial house in order and improving the way money is allocated to schools.

The board considered a two-person team to lead the system, but gave up the idea in the face of opposition from influential education groups and the public.

--Bess Keller

Court Sides With Assaulted Pupil

A former student at Farrington High School in Honolulu, who was severely assaulted by gang members the day he went to register for classes in August 1994, is entitled to a $300,000 judgment, the state supreme court has ruled.

The Hawaii Supreme Court upheld a judgment that was awarded to the parents of Michael Quiaoit, who had sued the state education department, arguing that school officials should have taken precautions and provided better security because they knew about the risk of gang violence.

Mr. Quiaoit's injuries resulted in permanent brain damage, and he spent three weeks in a coma.

A spokesman for the Hawaii education department said that after the incident, officials responded by making adjustments in security procedures.

--Linda Jacobson

Charges Reduced in 'Clip' Case

An Illinois teenager who was arrested for flicking a paper clip at a school cafeteria worker won't have to spend time in jail.

Clint E. Jackson, an 18-year-old student at Richmond-Burton High School in suburban Chicago, was initially charged with misdemeanor battery but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct last month, according to prosecutor Daniel Regna. The student was sentenced to 12 hours of community service and a fine of $150. A conviction for misdemeanor battery could have resulted in a year's jail sentence and a $2,500 fine.

Mr. Jackson last May loaded a rubber band slingshot with the paper clip, pointy side out, and hit the worker in the chest, causing her to bleed, Mr. Regna said.

Mr. Jackson, who could not be reached for comment, was suspended from school after the incident.

--Julie Blair

Dress Protest Reaps Suspensions

A dress-code crackdown at a Texas high school ignited a protest that resulted in the suspensions of more than 100 students.

Students at Alvin High School, angry over the sudden enforcement of the school's dress code, refused to go to their second-period classes and ran through the hallways yelling and knocking over trash cans late last month.

All 120 students involved were suspended for the day, Superintendent Virgil Tiemann said. Students will have to appear before a justice of the peace, who could fine them for disrupting class.

The districtwide policy--which requires shirts to be tucked in, belts to be worn, and girls' dresses to be a specified length--has been in place for three years.

But many students did not adhere to the code, Mr. Tiemann said, and enforcement had lapsed at the 3,100-student school. Students were warned more than a week before the protest that the school would begin to enforce the code, he added.

--Adrienne D. Coles

Student Fatally Kicked at School

An 11-year-old student has died after he was kicked in the head by another student in a New York City school.

Sandy Martinez, a special education student, was attempting to leave class earlier this month when a 12-year-old male student blocked the doorway and started a fight. The teacher grabbed the arms of the 12-year-old, but the assailant used his feet to kick the other student in the head, according to David Galarza, a spokesman from the New York City school system.

Sandy lost consciousness, and another teacher administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. But the boy was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The medical examiner's office has yet to determine the exact cause of death, Mr. Galarza said. The 12-year-old student has been suspended from the 1,300-student Intermediate School 52, and police are reviewing possible charges against the youth, he added.

--Karen L. Abercrombie

Teacher Disciplined for Donations

The school board of the Tempe Union High School District in Arizona has suspended a teacher for five days without pay for not following proper procedures in making a $20,000 donation to his school as well as accepting outside contributions.

The school board of the 12,500-student district ordered the disciplinary action this month against George Alper, a teacher at Desert Vista High School in Mesa, for what district officials called "unprofessional and insubordinate conduct."

District officials said Mr. Alper had spent $20,000 of his own money for school projects and also accepted donations from third parties--including $20,000 worth of software from Microsoft Corp.--without going through the proper channels.

Mr. Alper, who teaches photo-imaging and television production, said he was only trying to do what was best for the students, said his lawyer, Susan Sendrow.

--Mary Ann Zehr

Student-Abuse Case Closed

An assistant elementary school principal in Dallas will not face criminal charges following an investigation into an incident in which an 8-year-old girl's arms were bound and her mouth covered with tape.

Sgt. Fred Rich of the Dallas police said the child had not been injured. In addition, he said, the girl's mother had told school officials "to use whatever means necessary" to discipline the child, and the mother did not want to press charges.

The assistant principal, who works at the 900-student Onesimo Hernandez Elementary School, was on paid leave last week pending a district review, a school official said.

--Robert C. Johnston


John H. Hollifield Jr.

John H. Hollified Jr., a long-time editor and disseminator of research reports for the Center for the Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, died of cancer Feb. 2. He was 59.

In his three decades with the Baltimore center, Mr. Hollifield coaxed technical jargon into prose on 500 reports. He also wrote and produced newsletters, gave presentations on the center's research projects, and developed curricula to help teachers employ cooperative-learning teaching strategies in their classrooms. In addition, he founded and edited The Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk with Johns Hopkins researcher Samuel C. Stringfield.

--Debra Viadero

Vol. 18, Issue 23, Page 4

Published in Print: February 17, 1999, as News in Brief: A National Roundup
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