News Briefs for March 2002

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Gay Adoptions OK: Citing the estimated 9 million children in the United States with at least one gay parent, the American Academy of Pediatricians urged its members to support measures to allow gay adoption. The AAP joins the American Academy of Children and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychological Association in support of such a policy. The APA said that while children in gay-couple households may be more open to homosexual activity, “there is no basis on which to assume that a parental homosexual orientation will increase likelihood of or induce a homosexual orientation in the child.”

Money to Feed Youth: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service says it will adjust reimbursements rates for its Summer Food Service Program for Children to match the Consumer Price Index. The rate changes amount to a 3.17 percent increase.

State Budget Cuts: The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is trying to convince states to fill recession-time budget holes without decreasing support to low-income families. Suggestions include delaying tax cuts and accessing “rainy day” funds. A center report says 36 states have planned or implemented cuts in public services.

Gun Lock Spares Lives: A 13-year-old seventh-grader was arrested last month for threatening to shoot 10 students, a teacher and the principal of Carl G. Fisher School in Speedway, Ind. The boy got a gun from his home, where his father had several firearms, but couldn’t remove the trigger lock. The school received an anonymous tip, then called police.

Ecstasy Use Up: The Partnership for a Drug-Free America says that Ecstasy use among 12- to 18-year-olds rose 20 percent last year, marking a 71 percent increase from 1999. While overall drug use leveled off, the survey of 6,937 teens says Ecstasy use now surpasses use of cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD or heroin.

Whistleblower Indicted: AmyLee Bowman, the 18-year-old whistleblower who revealed an alleged plot in November to “shoot up” her high school in New Bedford, Mass., has been indicted by a Bristol County grand jury. Bristol County District Attorney spokesman Garry Mello said indictments were returned against Bowman, Eric McKeehan (age 17) and three juveniles for conspiracy to commit murder. McKeehan was also charged with unlawful possession of ammunition.