In other items: Judge suspended over party costume, and testing scheduled on SARS vaccine.

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The police chief and the head of the city’s schools apologized yesterday to the mother of a 10-year-old girl who was arrested and handcuffed after she brought a pair of scissors to school in her backpack.

Although officers were following protocol when they drove the girl to a police station with her hands cuffed in front of her, discretion will be used in future cases involving young children, Police Chief Sylvester Johnson said.

Johnson said he told Rose Jackson that the arrest of her daughter, Porsche Brown, was “extremely unfortunate” and apologized for “any trauma that her daughter experienced” on her way to the station.

The fourth-grader did not threaten anyone with the 8-inch shears, but the district said she violated a ban on bringing “potential weapons” to school.

New Orleans

Judge suspended over party costume

A judge who wore blackface makeup, handcuffs and a jail jumpsuit at a Halloween party will be suspended for six months, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

The justices voted 5-2 to suspend Judge Timothy Ellender for a year without pay for dishonoring his position but to defer half of that penalty. Ellender will lose more than $50,000 in pay, one judge noted.

Ellender, who is white, testified that the costume was meant only as a joke. The justices ordered him to take a sociology course “which will assist him in achieving a greater understanding of racial sensitivity.”


Testing scheduled on SARS vaccine

The National Institutes of Health will launch a human trial to test the safety of an experimental vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome.

SARS, which was first recognized in 2002, killed 774 people worldwide before being brought under control by quarantine, patient isolation and travel restrictions. Since then, researchers have been studying the virus in an effort to develop a vaccine.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said yesterday it will test the vaccine in 10 volunteers, doing periodic follow-up exams for 32 weeks. The vaccine has worked well in animals, and this trial is primarily intended to determine if it is safe in people and to see if the volunteers produce antibodies, the institute said.