Arundel Digest

ARUNDEL DIGEST

March 14, 2003

Board reviewing superintendent's ban on overseas trips

The Anne Arundel County school board is weighing an appeal by a group of South River High School parents that challenges the superintendent's ban on overseas field trips because of security concerns.

Several parents testified this week before a five-member panel of the school board - the number needed to rule - that they believed a weeklong trip to Scotland for 110 music students and 30 adults would be safe.

The board, which is reviewing evidence submitted by the parents and the administration, had not reached a decision yesterday.

Extending school year by three days proposed

Anne Arundel County Superintendent Eric J. Smith is proposing to extend the school year by three days to make up some of the days lost to inclement weather this winter.

The proposal to alter the calendar must be approved by the school board, which will vote on the matter Wednesday. The school year would be extended to June 23, and students would attend classes April 17, currently the first day of spring break.

Smith also is seeking a one-day waiver of the state's requirement that schools provide 180 days of instruction each year. The state schools superintendent has given local school systems the option of shortening their academic calendars by up to two days.

Anne Arundel schools have been closed nine times this year for inclement weather. The calendar provided for five.

Prosecutors drop charges against inmate serving life

Anne Arundel County prosecutors dropped charges yesterday against a prisoner accused of sending a death threat to a judge, noting that the defendant is serving multiple life sentences.

Terry P. Dorsey, 34, was convicted in 2001 of sending a threatening letter from prison in 1999 to Robert C. Murphy, who had retired as chief judge of the Court of Appeals in 1996 and died in 2000. The Court of Special Appeals overturned the conviction 15 months ago.

Assistant State's Attorney Sandra Foy Howell said retrying the case was not justified because of the resources it would take. The maximum sentence would be three years. Dorsey is serving three life sentences for sex crimes in Baltimore, plus 15 years for burglary.

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