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Teaching America's homefront abuses

Albany, N.Y. - A bill being considered in New York State would require that schools teach about the violation of United States citizens' civil liberties during World Wars I and II. Millions of Americans of Italian, Japanese, and German descent were denied jobs and the right to travel, and some were sent to internment camps. "People's civil liberties were ... simply taken away by fiat," says state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R) of Long Island, a former teacher who proposed the bill. "That should never be allowed to happen again, and the only way to stop that ... is by teaching new generations." Under current state law, children over age 8 must learn about the Irish famine, the Holocaust, slavery, and the Underground Railroad.

A challenge to California's exit exam

San Francisco - Advocates for children with learning disabilities challenged California's new high school exit exam in federal court last Tuesday. The class-action suit charges that the state Department of Education, among other defendants, has flagrantly violated the rights of thousands of disabled students by failing to ensure that reasonable accommodations are provided.

The exam was given for the first time in March to ninth-graders. Although this round was voluntary, the results are being used to set a passing score. This group of students and all subsequent classes must pass the test of proficiency in English and math to receive a diploma. Parents are seeking such remedies as having the tests read aloud to learning-disabled students, having tests printed in large type, or allowing use of spell-checkers.

A spokesman for the state Department of Education defended the exam program, and said the state is working on guidelines for accommodating disabled students.

Dartmouth expels Zeta Psi fraternity

HANOVER, N.H. - Dartmouth College announced it is shutting down a fraternity for printing newsletters in which members detailed their sexual escapades with undergraduate women who were identified by name. The Ivy League school said the 48-member Zeta Psi fraternity will no longer be allowed to hold meetings or activities on campus, and all members must move out of the campus house when the spring term ends June 10.

"Zeta Psi undermined fundamental values we hold dear," says Dartmouth President James Wright. "When such conduct violates our standards, the college must take action." One newsletter said a future issue would give one member's "patented date rape techniques.

The executive director of the fraternity's national governing body says he is disturbed Dartmouth acted before his group finished investigating.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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