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Foul Play

A homeschooled 9-year-old autistic boy has been banned from playing on the only public school playground in Falmouth, Maine. A superior court judge handed down the opinion after the parents of Jan Rankowski sued officials at Plummer-Motz School, which cited reports that the 4th grader used bad language and behaved aggressively. The boy’s mother told the Boston Globe, “They’re basically saying to put him back in the attic.”

Unkindest Cut

You could call it a cut in charitable giving: The Harlingen, Texas, school board vetoed a dress-code exemption that would have allowed 16-year-old Gerardo Garcia to grow his hair and donate it to sick children. He was shooting for 10 inches, the length required by a charity that makes kids’ wigs. The district’s superintendent offered a compromise—a $500 donation to the American Cancer Society. But Garcia told the Valley Morning Star , “They just can’t see that I want to make a difference that does not have to do with money.”

Supply Side

California has canceled extra credit for its teachers. A sliding tax credit that allowed educators to deduct up to $1,500 for classroom supplies has been sacrificed to help bridge the state’s budget gap. Venice High School teacher Doreen Seelig says she and her colleagues have no choice but to keep spending their own money on basic supplies. “What are we going to do, tell the kids, ‘Sorry, there’s no paper today’?” she asked the Associated Press.

Sinking Feeling

Just because the earth is swallowing your school doesn’t mean your facilities don’t deserve an “A”—especially when the state allows self-grading. As reported by the Detroit News , that city’s Ford Elementary was closed in October 2003 because it was sinking into the ground. Yet school officials gave their facilities high marks. Tom Watkins, Michigan’s superintendent of public instruction, acknowledged the system’s f laws. “We need it to pass the smell test,” he said.

Vol. 16, Issue 03, Page 10

Published in Print: November 1, 2004, as News Briefs
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