School District Wants Pledge Ban Overturned

ELK GROVE, Calif. -- The school district at the center of the fight over the Pledge of Allegiance said yesterday it will ask the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling barring use of the pledge in classrooms.

Dave Gordon, superintendent of the Elk Grove Unified School District, also said attorneys will ask that the ruling be put on hold so children can continue reciting the pledge.

The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which said the phrase "under God" is unconstitutional when recited in public schools, takes effect in nine Western states next Monday.

Gordon said the district will substitute other patriotic exercises, such as a song, a poem or quotes from historic figures, if the ruling is not put on hold.

* DENVER -- A British skier was arrested on suspicion of assault after a fatal collision with another man at a Colorado ski resort. Robert Wills, 31, was being held in lieu of $15,000 bail on suspicion of first-degree assault and reckless endangerment in the death of Richard Henrichs, 56, of Naperville, Ill., on Sunday at Breckenridge. After the two collided, Henrichs struck a tree and later died of head injuries.

* SAN FRANCISCO -- Police Chief Earl Sanders refused to join six top aides who stepped aside while prosecutors investigate an alleged conspiracy to cover up a street brawl involving off-duty officers. Sanders will take a medical leave but not step down, his attorney said, without specifying the nature of Sanders's disability.

* SOMERSET, Ky. -- The man who fired the shot that killed Pulaski County Sheriff Sam Catron at a political rally and fish fry was sentenced to life in prison as part of a plea agreement. Danny Shelley, 31, agreed to testify against Jeff Morris, 35, and Kenneth White, 55, who are charged with plotting to kill Catron.

* BUFFALO -- Potential jurors were asked their views on abortion in jury selection for the murder trial of antiabortion militant James Kopp, who shot a New York doctor, Barnett Slepian, in 1998 and led police on a global manhunt. Kopp is charged with second-degree murder and with depraved indifference for human life. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.

* CHICAGO RIDGE, Ill. -- An eighth-grader was suspended from school for wearing a T-shirt with a drawing of two towers, an airplane and a man in traditional Arab headdress. Officials at Finley Junior High School said the shirt "could be taken as a promotion of terrorism." Colleen Itani said her son, Ian, 14, whose father is of Lebanese descent, was simply trying to send a message that all Arabs are not responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

-- From News Services