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School Officials Cite Holiday Concern

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By John Mintz and Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 21, 1998; Page A13

Some school administrators and parents in districts that have declared today an official holiday for the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah have expressed concern that youngsters could be exposed to salacious material on television when President Clinton's grand jury testimony is played at 9 a.m.

"For Maryland, it's not a good time to release it because of the number of children who will be at home," state School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick said. "I'm very concerned about the exposure of children to all of this. I don't believe children can honestly process and understand all they're being bombarded with."

In Maryland, Montgomery, Howard and Baltimore county schools have today off. So do others, including those in New York City and Long Island.

The House Judiciary Committee decided not to release the videotape Saturday because children would be watching television, but it may not have considered school vacation schedules.

Bea Gordon, a Montgomery School Board member, said she would have preferred for Congress to keep the videotape secret. "The content of both the report and the tape are adult," she said, adding, "We can't expect the Congress would know all of the holidays of . . . school systems."

"There's no good time to release this," Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) said on CBS's "Face the Nation." "But the American people need to see the truth."

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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