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Back to Dec. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 143 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS DECEMBER 1997
EDUCATION BRIEFS

High school students in Kansas will be allowed to drop out at ages 16 and 17. Governor Bill Graves (R-KS) approved a bill allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to withdraw from school with parental consent. The bill requires that both parents and students sign a disclaimer acknowledging that the teenager has not achieved certain academic skills and that status as a high school dropout will affect future employment.

The Texas State Supreme Court has ruled that schools have the right to suspend male students who won't get a haircut. The decision overturned an appeals court ruling that said the Bastrop Independent School District violated the law in 1990 when it suspended a third-grader who had a 7-inch ponytail. In the 7-1 opinion, Justice Priscilla Owen noted that the male hair-length requirement does not deprive students of an equal opportunity to receive an education. A spokesman for the school district said the issue all along has been who is going to run the schools.

According to the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), homeschoolers fall under the jurisdiction of the gun-free school zone law. The BATF further states that, "while the Gun-Free School Zone Act is being challenged in court, it is currently in effect for all schools, including home schools, if they meet the definition of a school under state law."

The Supreme Court has refused to hear the case of two Alabama second-graders who were strip-searched by a teacher and guidance counselor. The girls had been accused of stealing $7 from a classmate. Without comment, the high court let stand a lower court ruling which said the girls' constitutional rights were not violated. Attorneys for the girls told the justices that the only circumstances in which strip searches of students have been allowed involved "imminent danger" posed by possession of weapons or illegal drugs. The circuit court's ruling did allow that the school officials "likely exercised questionable judgment given the circumstances. . . ." No money was found on the girls.


 
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