News in Brief: A National Roundup
Reform Project Relocating to University of Connecticut
One of the nation's largest school reform programs, involving more than 1,000 schools in 41 states, has a new home and a new director.
The Accelerated Schools Project, which had been housed at Stanford University for 14 years, is moving this month to the University of Connecticut's Neag school of education in Storrs, Conn. ("As Levin Steps Back, Accelerated Schools Takes Stock," Oct. 13, 1999.)
Gene Chasin, the former superintendent of the Nashoba Regional School District in Bolton, Mass., and the chairman of Accelerated Schools' national policy advisory board, has been named the project's director.
He will succeed the project's founder, Henry Levin, now a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, who is continuing to work on the project.
Accelerated Schools is partnering with the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development to share research and fund-raising duties, said Janice Palmer, a spokeswoman for the University of Connecticut. The two programs will maintain their own names and separate staffs.
Jury Rejects Bias Claim
A Suffolk County, Mass., superior court jury has dismissed the case of a white teacher who claimed she was passed over for jobs in the Boston district even though she was more qualified than minority applicants.
Elizabeth Joseph's lawsuit targeted a section of a 25-year-old U.S. District Court ruling that ordered Boston schools to integrate. Part of the ruling required at least 20 percent of all Boston teachers to be African-American and 10 percent to be Hispanic or members of other minorities.
Thomas W. Payzant, the superintendent of the 64,000-student Boston public schools, said the "strong decision" affirmed the right of school districts to recruit the most qualified teachers.
Ms. Joseph, who was eventually hired by Boston's Josiah Quincy Elementary School to teach art, is reportedly considering an appeal.
School Bus Kills 5-Year-Old
A South Carolina kindergartner died when he was pinned under the wheels of a school bus Feb. 10.
Investigators believe Damien Douglas, a 5-year-old pupil at Brooklyn Springs Elementary School in Lancaster, was trying to catch up with the bus as it pulled away. A special unit of the South Carolina highway patrol trained to interview young children is investigating.
The death is the second school bus fatality in the state since 1993, according to district Superintendent John Taylor. Of the 11,000 students in the Lancaster district, nearly 8,000 use school buses for transportation.
The bus driver, who has operated school buses for five years, was placed on leave with pay, but Mr. Taylor said he did not expect the driver to be found liable for the incident.
— Mark Jennings
D.C. Restricts Game Entry
An incident at a high school basketball game that apparently led to the shooting deaths of two District of Columbia students has prompted the school system to restrict admission to all basketball games for the remainder of the season.
Game attendance will be limited to students and parents of participating schools.
The new policy was put in place after the Feb. 8 shooting of two Woodrow Wilson High School seniors, Andre Wallace and Natasha Marsh, who were killed off campus after Mr. Wallace was involved in a fight at a basketball game.
Administrators will monitor game entrances and check identification of those in attendance, according to the District of Columbia Interscholastic Athletic Association, which administers sports programs for the 77,000-student system.
—Adrienne D. Coles
Mass. Principal Steps Down
A Massachusetts middle school principal facing charges of assaulting a teacher in front of her students has resigned.
Principal Lewis Klaiman stepped down from his position at the 375-student Sutton Junior High School earlier this month. A lawyer for the Sutton, Mass., school district said that Mr. Klaiman made the decision to resign on his own.
Mr. Klaiman is scheduled to appear in the Uxbridge District Court in April to face assault and battery charges stemming from the argument he had with former teacher Kathryn Bastein last October in her classroom.
School faculty members and parents have submitted letters and petitions in support of Mr. Klaiman to district officials, the lawyer for the 1,500-student district said.
Software Piracy Alleged
A high school student in New Britain, Conn., has been arraigned on felony charges of first-degree computer crime and sale of copyright items.
Karol Steczowski, a 16-year-old at New Britain High School, was charged as an adult Feb. 9 for allegedly using his home computer to pirate copyright music CDs, computer software, and movies, and then selling the materials to his peers at the 2,300-student school.
The crime is the first of its nature for New Britain police officials, according to Detective James Wardell, who spearheaded the investigation.
The arrest affidavit values the allegedly stolen materials—which included copies of nine unreleased first-run movies—at $24,000.
Mr. Steczowski posted $11,000 bail and must reappear March 13 in New Britain Superior Court. No disciplinary action has been taken by the school.
N.C. Starts Anti-Violence Plan
Gov. James B. Hunt Jr. of North Carolina has kicked off a new program to prevent violence in the public schools.
North Carolina is the first state to adopt WAVE America, developed jointly by the Center for the Prevention of School Violence in Raleigh, N.C., and the Pinkerton Services Group in Charlotte, N.C., in response to recommendations made by the governor's youth-violence task force.
The WAVE program, initiated Feb. 10, stands for Working Against Violence Everywhere. It features a 24-hour toll-free tip line that students, teachers, and parents throughout the state can call to report safety concerns. An awareness campaign will use brochures, a World Wide Web site (www.waveamerica.com), and "awareness centers," such as bulletin boards at sporting events, to alert students and parents to the warning signs of violent behavior. All North Carolina public schools may sign up free of charge.
4th Grade Harassment Alleged
Five 4th grade boys were suspended from their upstate New York elementary school this month for behavior that was deemed sexual harassment.
The boys, who attend the 450-student Hastings Mallory School in the Central Square school district in Oswego, were punished for poking straws at body parts on pictures on juice cartons. A girl upset by the actions reported them to a teacher, who alerted Principal Susan Caccamo.
The superintendent of the 5,000-student district, Walter Doherty, reviewed the two-day suspensions and supported the principal's decision because it adhered to the school's discipline code for dealing with sexual harassment.
Columbine Mourns Again
School officials in Jefferson County, Colo., beefed up security after two sophomores from Columbine High School were shot and killed last week.
Stephanie Hart, 16, and Nicholas Kunselman, 15, were found outside a Subway sandwich shop where the boy worked, according to a spokesman for the Jefferson County sheriff's office.
The motive for the killing is unknown, and at press time no suspects had been identified. Mental-health workers were made available to staff members and students, according to a spokeswoman for the 89,000-student Jefferson County district.
A shooting spree at Columbine High last April left 15 people dead, including the two student gunmen.
Vol. 19, Issue 24, Page 4Published in Print: February 23, 2000, as News in Brief: A National Roundup