Justice watch: Keeping an eye on the law.

Florida Libraries Ban Adults in Kids' Area

ORLANDO, FLA. - Libraries in Florida's Orange County have barred unaccompanied adults from lingering in the children's areas of its 14 branches, a policy among the first of its kind in the nation.

Since Nov. 1, adults without children may select items in the children's section, but they cannot read books or loiter in the department, says Marilyn Hoffman, community-relations coordinator.

Officials with the Association for Library Service to Children say many libraries limit adults' use of computers or bathrooms in the children's departments, but Orange County's policy could be the first in the nation to restrict adults' presence in the areas.

"It's not a common trend, but I think it's going to become more common," says Cynthia Richey, a former association president. "It's, in part, a preemptive move" to protect kids.

Women object to intrusive patdowns

NEW YORK - Rhonda Gaynier, a New York real estate lawyer, was flying home from Tampa, Fla., and passing through airport security when she was asked to step aside for additional screening. What happened next shocked her: Using an open hand, a security agent touched her across her bra strap, and between her breasts - all in front of other passengers. "I've never been so humiliated in my life," she says.

The patdown before that mid-October flight was the result of a new government directive that airport screeners carry out more frequent, and more thorough, searches for explosives.

But women across the nation say the patdowns go too far. Some are so angry that they have stopped flying altogether.

The new policy was implemented by the Transportation Security Administration on Sept. 22, after 90 people were killed in two plane crashes in Russia believed to have been caused by Chechen women who carried explosives on board.

Montana's Indian Education Mandate

GREAT FALLS, MONT. - Longfellow Elementary started its American Indian collection 30 years ago.

Everything fit on one bookshelf back then. Today, thousands of donated books, videos, and artifacts help the school fulfill a state mandate - one unique in America - that was handed down without money to carry it out. Preserving the cultural identity of Indians through education became part of the Montana Constitution in 1972, passed by a constitutional convention. But just how to do that and how to pay for it weren't spelled out.

It took until 1999 for state legislators to pass a bill, the Indian Education for All Act, to put particulars in the amendment requiring all public school students - not just Indians - to learn about tribal history and culture.

Now, though, the state Supreme Court may force lawmakers to act again. In a decision handed down this fall, the seven justices found Montana had failed to provide enough money for the Indian education act. Lawyers for the education groups that filed the lawsuit say they'll go back to court asking for more specific relief if the mandate is not funded this legislative session. - Associated Press

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