Tag Archives: School

Lawsuit Filed Against Deputy For Handcuffing Children With Disabilities

A Kentucky Deputy Sheriff is being sued by the parents of two children with disabilities, who are claiming that he traumatized their children by handcuffing them for acting out in school in relation to their disabilities.

A video released by the American Civil Liberties Union, in connection with the Child Law Center, shows Deputy Sheriff Kevin Sumner at a school in Covington, Kentucky, placing handcuffs on the arms of an 8-year-old boy. Because the boy’s hands are too small to fit, Sumner places the handcuffs on the boy’s biceps, forcing his hands behind his back, while he cries out in pain.

The boy, who is identified in the lawsuit as S.R., has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a history of trauma. A 9-year-old girl, identified as L.G., is also mentioned. The lawsuit claims that she has been handcuffed twice, and that she has ADHD and other special needs.

WKYT reported that students with disabilities “make up 12 percent of the student population, but are 75 percent of the students who are physically restrained by adults in their schools,” and that minority students with disabilities are often “punished and pushed out” instead of being given educational and counseling services. In this case, S.R. is Latino and L.G. is African American.

In each of the three incidents in which the children were handcuffed in fall 2014, the lawsuit claims that there was “no imminent danger of physical harm to the child or to anyone else” that required Sumner to place handcuffs on the children and to subject them to “unnecessary and excessive handcuffing” that resulted in “pain, fear and emotional trauma, and an exacerbation of their disabilities.”

S.R.’s mother, T.R. told WKYT that she has her son was traumatized by the incident. “It’s hard for him to sleep, he has anxiety, and he is scared of seeing the officer in the school,” T.R. said. “School should be a safe place for children. It should be a place they look forward to going to. Instead, this has turned into a continuing nightmare for my son.”

Lisa Thurau, executive director of Strategies for Youth, a national nonprofit organization that trains school resource officers, told the New York Times that cases such as one where a federal judge in New Mexico “ruled that the use of handcuffs on a 7-year-old with autism was permissible,” are an example of the way courts are increasingly upholding the use of handcuffs on children.

“This is an example of two worlds colliding,” Thurau said. “The state department of education says use the least restrictive treatment possible, the least use of force, and special consideration for children with special needs. But then police come in, and they are untrained, and judges are validating the use of force.”

Kim Tandy, executive director of the Children’s Law Center, noted that Kentucky’s school personnel are prohibited from using restraints to punish children or to force behavior compliance. “These regulations include school resource officers,” Tandy said. “These are not situations where law enforcement action was necessary.”

The lawsuit also names the Kenton County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Chuck Korzenborn, charging them with the “responsibility of establishing policies, practices and training for school resource officers,” such as Sumner.

Read the full lawsuit below:

Special Ed Teacher Arrested For Sticking Autistic Boy Head First In Trash Can

By Eric Owens

A special education teacher at a Georgia elementary school was arrested on Monday for allegedly sticking a young autistic boy in a trash can — head first.

The incident occurred on April 30 at Mount Bethel Elementary School in the suburban sprawl north of Atlanta.

The unidentified second-grade boy was participating in an after-school program at the taxpayer-funded school at the time, local Fox affiliate WAGA-TV reports.

According to an arrest warrant for the teacher, Mary Katherine Pursley, the boy had come in from outside “screaming” about a second boy hassling him in some way. He “wouldn’t calm down.”

Pursley, whose actual teaching role that day is not clear, appeared and told the boy he could end up like Oscar the Grouch.

“If he had trashy behavior like Oscar, he’d go to the trash can,” Pursley explained to the autistic boy, according to the warrant.

[bctt tweet=”“If he had trashy behavior like Oscar, he’d go to the trash can,””]

The boy’s behavior presumably did not change because, next, police say, Pursley picked the boy up by the legs and slowly dropped him into the trash can, until he was in up to his shoulders, despite the boy’s pleas that she stop.

As an aside, Oscar the Grouch is a green, ill-tempered Sesame Street character who lives in a trash can and enjoys trash immensely. Of critical importance, however, Oscar rises head up from his trash can residence. The Muppet’s feet are very rarely seen, however, and no one ever dangles them over a trash can.

Three school employees witnessed Pursley’s actions, police believe.

The single count against the 21-year-veteran teacher is cruelty to a child. It’s a first-degree felony.

After her arrest, she paid a $5,000 bond and was released from custody.

A school district spokeswoman, Jennifer Gates, provided a lengthy comment explaining that the district had no comment.

“It is a personnel matter and no comment can be given,” Gates told The Marietta Daily Journal.

“Safety and security of Cobb students continues to be our No. 1 priority,” she added. “Our attention is on making every remaining day of school for our students safe, healthy, engaging, meaningful and focused on academic excellence.”

Meanwhile, school officials have placed Pursley on administrative leave. With pay.

She makes $68,230 annually.

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South Korea to teach anti-ISIS classes in schools

The government of South Korea is in the works to present a curriculum to elementary, middle, and high school students which is meant to inform and prevent students from joining the terrorist organization ISIS.

This new curriculum comes as a Korean teenager, whose surname is Kim, crossed the border from Turkey to Syria in order to join ISIS last month. Kim reportedly learned about ISIS through their various ISIS propaganda campaigns online and through people he contacted about the group.

According to the Korea Times, Kim, 18, was on a trip to Turkey when he met an unidentified man in the town of Besiriye near the Syrian border. The man in question is believed to be a member of ISIS.

“We are introducing the lessons because ISIS uses social networking services (SNS) to conduct propaganda activities and attract people to join it,” said a Ministry of Education official. “Kim’s case showed that Koreans are no longer safe from the ISIS activities… Elementary, middle and high school students will learn the truth about ISIS.”

This official also said material about ISIS has been in development by the ministry and would be completed and distributed to schools soon.

Government officials are worried however that presenting their students with too much information on ISIS would only pique some student’s interest. Because of this, the lessons would not only inform the students about the terrorist group, but also discuss in detail the dangers of joining such groups.

The government has also said they will strengthen monitoring programs of internet activity with the hopes of deterring discussions online about ISIS.

New Illinois Law Allows Schools to Discipline Students for Cyberbullying that Occurs Outside of School

As of January 1, 2015, a new law will go into effect in Illinois that allows schools to punish students for offenses that occur outside of the classroom, with an emphasis on combatting cyberbullying.

The News-Gazette reported that the law “allows schools to discipline students for any type of electronic bullying that causes a disruption to the school day,” even if that bullying occurred outside of school.

According to NBC Chicago, the new law “expands on a previous legislation banning cyberbullying in schools,” and “applies to devices that aren’t owned or used by a school.

Once the law goes into effect, Tuscola High School plans to launch an online “Issue Awareness Report,” which is a forum for concerned individuals to notify the principal, social workers, and guidance counselors of instances in which they have been bullied or harassed on the Internet.

Katie Hatfield, a social worker in Tuscola, told the News-Gazette that although when posting in the forum, users must include specific details about the incident of offense, the post is ultimately anonymous, and the user is not required to provide his or her name.

“The forum is a good way for people to share information and let us know what is going on without us having to get it second-hand,” said Hatfield. “If we know about what is happening, we can more easily address it.”

NBC Chicago reported that the new legislation, which was approved by the Illinois Legislature earlier this year, and signed by Governor Pat Quinn in August, would require districts to “update their disciplinary policies to reflect the new law.”

Darren Loschen, the Principal of Armstrong High School, expressed concern about the liability the new law will put on school districts.

It’s really a situation where you would hope schools would deal with bullying, no matter when the harm happens, but if it’s happening off school grounds and it’s not tied to the school, then there’s always the question: Should it be handled by someone else?” Loshchen said.

Law school students can ask for final exams to be postponed

Columbia Law School is allowing students to ask for their final exams to be postponed if the student says they felt traumatized or disturbed by the decisions not to indict police officers in Missouri and New York for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

Robert E. Scott, the interim dean for Columbia Law School, sent an email on Saturday saying, according to Buzzfeed, “Students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effect of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examinations reschedule.”

The email also says, “For some law students, particularly, though not only, students of color, this chain of events is all the more profound as it threatens to undermine a sense that the law is a fundamental pillar of society designed to protect fairness, due process and equality.”

Yahoo News is also reporting a trauma specialist and several faculty members are holding special office hours for any student who wants to discuss the decisions or needs support.

The decision to allow students to postpone their exams comes after a student organization called for the exams to be put on hold.  According to FOX News, an email sent to the school board says many of the same legal principles the students had learned about were being used to “deny justice to so many black and brown bodies.”

The letter the group wrote was posted online and part of it reads, “We sit to study with the knowledge that our brothers and sisters are regularly killed with impunity on borders and streets; we sit to study with the understanding that our brothers and sisters are marching to have our humanity recognized and valued by a system that has continually failed us.”

While many students disagree with the postponement of their fellow student’s exams for these reasons, a spokeswoman told the NY Post, students have been allowed to postpone their exams over “extenuating conditions, including illness, religious observance, bereavement and other exceptional and documented circumstances.”

Veterans Day Controversy: Wis. School Cancelled Festivities Because of 21-Gun-Salute

Students within the Eau Claire, Wis. area school district had a different Veterans Day today. Since the 1930s, local veterans came to the school and did a program that include a 21-gun salute. That didn’t take place, because of a disagreement over firearms.

According to WEAU, the veterans received several different reasons for the cancellation, but one of the main concerns focused around firearms on school grounds.

Vice President of the Patriotic Council, Kaye Olsen says, “Now as the last few years have gone on, with the school shootings and everything, it’s getting harder to do our veterans programs like we want to,” said Kaye Olsen, vice president of the Patriotic Council.

Olsen said recent school shootings has hindered the group from doing the Veterans Day celebration they want to.

“It’s really hard to tell the veterans they’re not allowed to bring those rifles in,” said Olsen. “Which, the only purpose is, to honor our flag and our country and to teach the kids.”

The district said that it’s becoming more difficult to honor the memory and sacrifice of veterans on Veterans Day:

“We like to honor the veterans; we bring them in on a regular basis,” said Tim Libham, the Executive Director of Administration for the district. “There are just some conditions that we have to adhere to and the shooting of guns, even with blanks, is something we don’t feel is appropriate given society, and the concerns that we have and that the community has, on school premises.”

Even the use of blanks is an issue: “We’d had family and students that were uneasy, even with blanks being fired on school premise,” added Libham.

The veterans group was able to have a service. It was in a Burger King parking lot, where they were able to perform “Taps” and do a 21-gun salute.

Do you agree with this school district? Give us your thoughts below?

Lone shooter in Washington school shooting is reportedly dead

A shooting at a high school near Seattle early Friday morning has resulted in the death of the shooter, according to Washington state police.

The shooting happened at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, which is in Marysville, a residential area to the north of Seattle.

Marysville Police Commander Rob Lamourex said the shooter was a student who attended Marysville-Pilchuck.

According to the Seattle Times, the shooter turned them gun on himself, resulting in his death.  One other student was reportedly killed during the shooting.

At least five others were injured, including two other students, and one of those injured reportedly is suffering from a head wound.  How serious these injuries are, and whether any of them are life-threatening, has not been disclosed as of yet.

One student, whose name has been withheld, told CNN when the shooting started, students initially thought the noise signaled a fire drill.  This student said when they realized the sounds were gun shoots, they hid in a nearby classroom with other students, all of whom were unharmed.

After police arrived on the scene, they began to evacuate the students and staff safely out of the school and transport them to a nearby church.  Parents were at the church to meet with their children and others.

Heather Parker, who is a mother of a Marysville-Pilchuck senior, said, “I never thought I would be standing here after a school shooting.”

Jery Holston is the father of two students at the school, told reporters, “As a father, this has been my fear since my kids have been in school, that something like this would happen.”

Missouri expands firearm legislature to schools

A new law passed in Missouri will allow specially trained school employees to bring firearms onto school campuses, and these employees will be designated as “school protection officers.”

The new law allows any person with a valid concealed carry permit to openly carry their firearm of choice wherever they please, including in areas where firearms are publicly banned, such as schools.  This law also supersedes any city or town ordinances which ban the carrying of firearms in public.

School boards in Missouri already allow for teachers to carry concealed firearms on campuses, but the new law would require the Department of Public Safety to set up training courses and guidelines to train specific teachers or administrators for the new role of “school protection officer.”

“I think it’s important that we train those individuals if they are going to be carrying,” said state Senator Will Kraus, R-Mo., according to the Huffington Post.

While states such as New York, California, and Connecticut have expanded gun law restrictions since the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut, according to ABC News, Missouri has become the 10th state to pass some sort of legislation to allow school employees to carry firearms within the premises of a school.

While Republican leaning states have tried to allow more guns into schools for protection purposes, Democratic leaning states have tried to restrict guns in schools for the same reasons.

Senator Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, Mo., however, said this law would make things worse.  “The reality is we’re making our cities less safe,” Justus said.

Exclusive UPDATE: Mother of Special Ed. Bullied Teen Speaks Out as They Battle Court Conviction


For the first time, since her teen son was convicted of disorderly conduct for recording bullies in his classroom, Shea Love, the mother of that student, is speaking out.

Benswann.com is the first media outlet in the country to reveal that student to you, after he was bullied at South Fayette High School in McDonald, Pennsylvania and then punished for speaking up.

Christian Aaron True Stanfield, a sophomore, claims to have been bullied for months in his first year at South Fayette High School. On February 11, he made an audio recording of one bullying incident during his special education math class. Stanfield used his school approved iPad to make a seven-minute audio recording of the incident. Instead of questioning the students whose voices were recorded, school administrators threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping. Our original story was first reported here, where we have detailed that bullying incident.

“Christian chose the most responsible route possible for a student who felt he had no power and no voice in order to change the negative environment that he was forced to be in every day. If we are ever going to change the culture of violence in our schools, we need to look at Christian’s actions not criminally, but rather as a profound cultural step in the right direction for kids who don’t feel they are being heard,” says Christian’s mother Shea Love.

As we reported, Christian’s actions were treated criminally, however, after his mother contacted the school. Shea listened to the recording before contacting administrators. The recording included repeated abusive and vulgar language from students as Christian was receiving help from a math teacher. After Christian’s mother heard it, she called the school at 8:00 a.m. on February 12 and spoke with Dean of Students Joseph Silhanek. Principal Milburn immediately consulted with the school’s attorney on the matter before calling the police. When Shea Love arrived at the school at approximately 10:20 a.m., she found her 15-year-old son visibly distraught in a wooden chair in the middle of the room, surrounded by school administrators and the police. She was advised over the phone at 10:00 a.m. that her son had committed a crime and was being questioned.

“Christian had the courage to be vulnerable as a whistleblower in order to create change where it was desperately needed. The school’s zero tolerance response (to electronics use) is the very type of action that creates the dangerous situations we have in our school today. Some of our children are choosing anger and deadly outbursts in order to be heard,”
said Shea Love.

Instead of punishing the bullying students who were recorded on his iPad, it was Christian who served a Saturday detention for making the recording. Then, he was required to appear in front of a magistrate judge on charges of disorderly conduct. Stanfield’s mother said the school’s attorney was present at the March trial but refused to state his entire name to the court reporter. “When she asked him about his identity, he said that he was not involved,” Love said. “The court reporter asked him for his name and he just barked that his name was Wolfe.”

During the hearing, Lt. Robert Kurta testified that he consulted with the Allegheny District Attorney’s office before following up on the case, saying, “I made the decision to file a citation, summary citation, locally to be heard by our magistrate because I believe that he (Stanfield) committed a crime and that there should be some — he should in some way answer for it.”

Originally, Lt. Kurta indicated that Christian could be charged with a wiretapping felony. For clarification, law enforcement officers do not have the authority to charge anyone with a crime. When asked why the wiretapping charge was not officially made, Kurta testified, “That violation is a felony, and had I filed a felony charge against your client, and had he been adjudicated delinquent through juvenile court, that’s a record…”

On Wednesday, March 19, District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet opened the trial by stating that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was charging Christian Stanfield with disorderly conduct. The accused never entered a plea, but McGraw-Desmet found him guilty and ordered that he pay a fine.

“Christian’s willingness to advocate in a non-violent manner should be championed as a turning point. If Mr. Milburn and the South Fayette school district really want to do the right thing, they would recognize that their zero-tolerance policies and overemphasis on academics and athletics have practically eliminated social and emotional functioning from school culture. They should make it a top priority to use this incident as a catalyst for social and emotional change in the district and pioneer the way for other districts to follow.

“Mr. Milburn, will you stand by Christian’s side in court April 29 or will you still be looking down at him from the other side?” asked Shea Love.

Christian Stanfield is preparing a statement of his own to give on April 29, the day of his appeal hearing. Ben Swann will have the exclusive story.

Exclusive: Special Ed. Student Records Audio Proof of Bullying, Threatened With Charges of Felony Wiretapping

A South Fayette High School sophomore claims to have been bullied all year at his new school located in McDonald, Pennsylvania. In February, the student made an audio recording of one bullying incident during his special education math class. Instead of questioning the students whose voices were recorded, school administrators threatened to charge him with felony wiretapping before eventually agreeing to reduce the charge to disorderly conduct. On Wednesday, March 19, the student, whose name we have agreed to not include in this story, was found guilty of disorderly conduct by District Judge Maureen McGraw-Desmet.

Before the defendant was able to give a statement, McGraw said, “Normally, if there is — I certainly have a big problem with any kind of bullying at school. But normally, you know, I would expect a parent would let the school know about it, because it’s not tolerated. I know that, and that you guys [school administrators] would handle that, you know. To go to this extreme, you know, it was the only alternative or something like that, but you weren’t made aware of that and that was kind of what I was curious about. Because it’s not tolerated, but you need to go through — let the school handle it. And I know from experience with South Fayette School that, you know, it always is. And if there is a problem and it continues, then it is usually brought in front of me.” (emphasis added)

The student and his mother, Shea Love, testified before the magistrate that the boy has been repeatedly shoved and tripped at school, and that a fellow student had even attempted to burn him with a cigarette lighter. The defendant is, according to school records, a well-behaved student with no history of disciplinary action. He was, however, previously diagnosed with a comprehension delay disorder, which is a slower processing speed for information than is normal, ADHD, and an anxiety disorder. He says the bullying treatment is especially harsh and academically disruptive during his special education math class, in which students with behavioral problems are also placed. On February 11, after doing research on several anti-bullying websites, he used his school approved personal iPad to make a seven-minute audio recording of his classroom experience. He played the recording at home for his mother. Outraged, Love, a former Air Force Morse code operator, transcribed the audio before calling school administrators.

According to Love, as the teacher is heard attempting to help her son with a math problem, a student says, “You should pull his pants down!” Another student replies, “No, man. Imagine how bad that (c**t) smells! No one wants to smell that (t**t).” As the recording continues, the teacher instructs the classroom that they may only talk if it pertains to math. Shortly thereafter, a loud noise is heard on the recording, which her son explained was a book being slammed down next to him after a student pretended to hit him in the head with it. When the teacher yells, the student exclaims, “What? I was just trying to scare him!” A group of boys are heard laughing.

The school board’s bullying policy pledges no retribution for reporting suspected bullying. Its policy for abuse of electronic devices is disciplinary action and/or confiscation of the device pending a conference with the parent. South Fayette High School’s policy guidebook on the discipline of disabled students states, “Students with disabilities who engage in inappropriate behavior shall be disciplined in accordance with their Individualized Education Program (IEP), positive behavior support plan in place, each building’s Code of Conduct, and Board policy.”

The School’s Response:  “Could Be Charged With Felony Wiretapping”

Love says that upon fielding her complaint, Principal Scott Milburn called South Fayette Township police Lieutenant Robert Kurta to the school to interrogate her son in the presence of Associate Principal Aaron Skrbin and Dean of Students Joseph Silhanek. The defendant testified before Judge McGraw-Desmet that he was forced to play the audio for the group and then delete it. Love says by the time she arrived at the school, her son was surrounded by school officials and the police officer and was visibly distraught. She says

Principal Milburn advised her that her son was “facing felony wiretapping charges” because he made a recording in a place with an expectation of privacy, and that Officer Kurta agreed.

Milburn defended the teacher’s response to the classroom disturbance.

Kurta testified before the magistrate that Milburn requested his presence at the school on February 12 at 8:20 a.m. The officer said, “He believed he had a wiretapping incident.” Upon his arrival, Kurta said Milburn advised him that Silhanek fielded a call that morning from Love notifying him “that she planted a recording device in her son’s backpack to record the activities in one of his classes.” According to Kurta’s testimony, after Milburn consulted with the school district’s attorney, he advised reporting the incident to the police and treating it as a crime. The officer then admitted he did not hear the audio file in question or do an investigation into the recording, presumably because the student was ordered to erase it prior to his arrival at the school. Silhanek testified, “Mr. Milburn asked (the defendant) to delete it (the recording) after we heard it and (the defendant) complied.” The defendant clarified that the recording was still on his iPad when Lt. Kurta arrived at the school. He said of the recording, “Mr. Milburn told me to delete it, and I just felt, like, really pressured to do it. I didn’t want to. I just think that it wasn’t really right. Like, I’m getting prosecuted for trying to seek help…If I had known it was illegal, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Love testified, “ I didn’t believe it (the bullying) was as bad as what it was. And when I heard the recording, I flipped out. He did not want me to say anything to anybody, but I wanted to be able to say something because what I heard was not right. It was not okay.”

In his defense, the student testified as to why he made the recording. “I wanted her (Love) to understand what I went through. Like, it wasn’t like I was overexaggerating it. I wasn’t lying. It was really happening. I was really having things like books slammed upside my head. I wanted it to stop. I just felt like nothing was being done.” Love testified that she was aware of the bullying but, “I did not tell him to record. I did hear the recording. …I’ve emailed her (the special education teacher) several times on this incident with other kids.”

Kurta said, “After I left the school, I wasn’t sure what charge to file so I contacted the district attorney’s office. This would fall under a wiretapping violation, which is a felony.” He later answered as to why he thought the disorderly conduct charge applied to this case by saying, “Because his (the student’s) actions — he engaged in actions which served no legitimate purpose.” He then read the statute as, “Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by acts which serve no legitimate purpose.”

Love’s attorney stated during the March 19 proceeding, “I’m not so sure that there wasn’t a crime committed by that evidence being destroyed. There’s no recording here that anybody’s introduced into evidence.” He continued in his closing arguments, “We’ve shown that there’s a legitimate purpose for the recording. And there’s no physically offensive or hazardous condition that was created by this recording. I don’t see how a recording of students that are bullying my client could be physically offensive or dangerous to anyone, other than potentially the people that are bullying my client.”

Disorderly conduct is defined in Pennsylvania as “the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof” such as by engaging in “fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior, unreasonable noise, obscene language, obscene gestures,” or creating “a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor.”

Convicted of Disorderly Conduct

While Love’s son was never officially charged with felony wiretapping, the magistrate pronounced him guilty of disorderly conduct. This occurred after the administrators gave the student a Saturday detention to serve and he completed it as asked.

The 15-year-old defendant, whose favorite class is Civics, plans to appeal the conviction. His next court appearance is April 29 in Pittsburgh. When asked if she was afraid of retaliation by school officials or harassment by the police, Love said, “I refuse to be threatened. I just want my son to have a chance to bloom and not fall so far behind in a totally disruptive environment.”

The school immediately removed Love’s son from the special education math class. The students whose voices were caught on tape remain enrolled.

Transcripts of the court proceedings were made by a court stenographer hired by the defense team. The school will not comment on the matter.

Video: School’s Lack of Respect For Child Who Committed Suicide Sparks Protest, Arrest

On April 2nd, more than 200 students gathered after lunch at Lake Central High School in Indiana to protest the fact that a child who had recently committed suicide was not allowed a moment of silence. The student was not currently enrolled. However, the other students felt that the child should be given a moment of silence anyway.

An unidentified person shouted “One moment of silence, for my [inaudible], over the intercom, that is all was are asking for from the school.”

Principal Robin Tobias then replies “Can you sit down now? You are not in charge here. I am.”

“We should be given a chance to grieve as a school,” sophomore Natalia Kuzbiel said.

After feeling the faculty had lost control of the peaceful demonstration they called the St. John police. Several officers arrived.

Tobias is heard saying on the video,  “You are sitting here for what you think is a good cause,” then went on to say some students think that it is a joke. Tobias stated that he was disappointed in the students. That is when a student spoke up and said that he was disappointed in Tobias. Police wasted no time and dragged the student by the arms and arrested him.

A moment of silence was finally given at 1:30pm. However, the moment of silence was not a schoolwide event. It was confined to those who were protesting.

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CO Middle School Students Take Field Trip To Gun Range

PUEBLO COUNTY, Colo. – KRDO is reporting that a group of middle school students from Craver Middle School had the chance to see firsthand what it’s like to fire a gun while learning about gun safety .

“I’m very excited, today we’re going to come out here on the gun range and shoot a little bit. The past week we’ve learned about the Revolutionary War,” said Craver Middle School student Jonah Statezny.

This was the first time that the national non-profit organization project Appleseed, an activity of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association, had taking its gun training to the classroom.

“We’ve never been allowed to bring actual real firearms into a school. Until this week. This is a very big deal. We had them touching fire arms, holding them and learning about how to handle them safely,” said Elizabeth Blackwood, a representative from Appleseed.

When Carver student Danielle Cooper was asked what his favorite part of the field trip was, he responded, “My favorite part is shooting guns. When I was little we used to go to the shooting range.”

The field trip was spurred because the students were learning about the Revolutionary War that week. Each student attending the field trip had permission from their parents to go.

Mother Tries To Help Sick Child At School, Gets Arrested

Niakea Williams, a Missouri mother of a son with Asperger’s syndrome, is outraged after she was arrested for trying to help her special needs son at school.

Williams received a call from the school notifying her that her son was having a medical episode. “I was lying in bed when I received a frantic phone call from the teacher, Michael was panicking,” said Williams.  She rushed to the school where school officials buzzed her into the building.

“I saw a teacher and she said Ms. Williams what is wrong? I said something is wrong with Mikey and proceeded to go straight to my son,” Williams told KMOV.

Williams then proceeded to help her child, calming him down from his episode. Then things took a turn for the worse.

The principal entered the classroom and informed Williams that she had violated the school policy by not signing the guestbook. Indeed, Williams was in a rush to help her child and did not sign the guestbook, so she told the principal that she was willing to sign the guestbook. But that didn’t satisfy the principal.

“I didn’t sign the book, but I had to check on my son. You can bring me the book, she said oh no, I’ve already called the police. You called what,” said Williams.  The school was then put in lockdown for 12 minutes.

Police arrived and told Williams that she had not be authorized to enter the building, even though she was let in by school officials. The officers then arrested her and brought her to the Calverton Park Police station.

 “Four officers told me to turn around and put my hands behind my back, I was under arrest.” Williams said. “I feel like today I got arrested for being a concerned parent of my child.”

The school has also sent home a letter to all the parents explaining what happened.

Owners of Private Christian Charter School Flee Town with $200k Taxpayer Dollars

In Milwaukee, Lifeskills Academy was a private K-8 school that joined the state voucher program five years ago.  Over the years, Lifeskills Academy has received $5 Million in taxpayer funded public payments.

Last year, only one student scored “proficient” in reading, according to state records.  Records show the school had only 66 students last year.

The school closed unannounced on December 12th.  Due to the school closing mid-year, the state is not eligible to recoup this year’s money, which amounts to $202,278.  For school year 2012-2013, voucher payments totaling $633,248 were made, according to Wisconsin Department of Education (DPI).

All Saints Catholic Church owns the building at 3434 N. 38th St, and rented it out to Lifeskills Academy.  “They moved out, as people say, in the dead of night,” Father Carl Diederichs of All Saints said.

The money came out of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.  Voucher programs and private schools are widely lauded by those who champion the free-market and argue against regulations.  Charter schools have proved problematic on many different levels, and there is a vigorous argument that charter schools do not solve the overall education problem in America.  The school’s rise and fall illustrate how unstable operations and oversight are in charter programs.  It also illustrates how government subsidies are a magnet for unscrupulous business people.document


DPI began corresponding with the school in early December after DPI received many emails from someone named Dominic Robinson, who claimed they worked for the school.  Right after, Dominic Robinson denied any knowledge of the emails to DPI.  School owner Taron Monroe then confessed she sent the messages on behalf of Robinson, and that Robinson was not aware of the emails.  While DPI tried to figure out how to respond to the school, Taron Monroe decided to close the school.

DPI knew at that point to cease making payments on behalf of students.  The annual per-pupil payment is $6,442 and DPI makes the students payments split up over four yearly installments.  Lifeskills had already gotten its first two annual payments for the school year.  Whatever monies left over, if any, the owners took with them to Florida, where they fled to a life they had set up behind the scenes.

The owners of the school, Taron & Rodney Monroe, have been tracked down to Daytona, FL.  The home they owned in West Bend had a foreclosure action filed against it in early 2013.  Records show the Monroe’s now live in a gated community and started a new private Christian school in Daytona Beach this year.


While Likeskills Academy in Milwaukee was failing, the Monroe’s were telling Florida friends that they were successful in getting government grants for religious schools in Florida.

The home’s ownership shifted in 2011 from “Lifestyle Ministries” (the religious group run by the Monroe’s), to Taron Monroe’s personal name, according to real estate records.  The foreclosure motion was filed in early 2013.  The house was sold in a Sheriff’s sale in November, just weeks before the Monroe’s left and closed Lifeskills Academy.

“I haven’t seen them since before Thanksgiving,” said Bill Vigue, a pastor with a Christian radio show.  He attended church with the Monroe’s in Florida.

DPI records show the school was nearly kicked out of the voucher program two years ago, because Taron & Rodney were listed as school administrators but they don’t have the required Bachelor’s Degree.

A spokesman for DPI said their authority is limited in what they can do to voucher schools, which are all private, and almost all religious schools.  The law is limited and DPI cannot close a private school due to low academic performance.  DPI also cannot do anything to a private school due to the owner’s personal financial status.

School Bans Christmas Trees, Kids From Wearing “Christmas Colors” & Saying Merry Christmas

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) signed the “Merry Christmas Bill” last June. The bill was designed to nullify legal risks of saying “Merry Christmas” and protect Christmas iconography in public schools.

Regardless of the new state law, an elementary school in  Frisco, Texas has recently banned students from wearing green and red colors, making references to the Christian holiday, and Christmas trees from an upcoming “winter party”.

One parent forwarded the email from the school planner to Texas Rep. Pat Fallon. Rep. Fallow says the rules violate the new state law. Rep. Fallon contacted the school district and was informed that it was not a district wide policy. He was then informed by the PTA that children were allowed to say Merry Christmas.

The school district released the following statement:

“The school was unaware of this and it was not an official PTA correspondence either. There have never been any limitations on what students wear, what they bring to share with their classmates on party days … what greetings people exchange with each other.”

However, he later received a follow up email from a PTA member that stated organizers decided to keep everything in place, as originally planned, in an attempt to not offend anyone.

Regardless of the school district’s statement, “It’s my understanding that nothing has changed,” responded Rep. Fallon to Fox News investigators.

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US Drone Attacks Pakistani Religious School, Killing Eight

This article was submitted by guest contributor Jason Ditz.

The US breaks its promises so quick with Pakistan it’s scarcely worth mentioning them in the first place. Just hours after a promise not to launch any more drone strikes against Pakistan for the duration of their peace talks with the Taliban, a US drone pounded a religious school in Hangu.

The attack killed eight people, including three teachers and five students. A number of others were wounded in the attack, and drones continued to loom overhead after the attack.

It’s noteworthy for a lot of reasons, and not just that it broke yet another promise. Hangu is not in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where US drone strikes have almost exclusively hit, but is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah (KP) Province. Hitting a proper province is much more controversial within Pakistan, and a major backlash is expected on a national level.Hangu Pakistan

But that may pale in comparison to the backlash on a provincial level, as the KP Province is ruled by Pakistani Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI), an anti-drone party ruled by Imran Khan which had threatened to blockade the NATO supply route through its province into occupied Afghanistan if the drone strikes didn’t end. They gave an initial deadline of November 20… the day of the latest attack, so it will likely be interpreted locally as timed explicitly to spite them.

The deadline had been moved back to November 23 but the attack is almost certain to spark an enormous response, and will oblige the PTI to at least attempt such a blockade to retain its credibility. It will also add to pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been facing growing criticism for his inability to stop the strikes, a key promise of his campaign.


This article is from Antiwar.com.  A friend in need is a friend indeed – and we need your help to fight this brazen state repression. We’re fighting to restore constitutional government in America – but we need your tax-deductible donation to do it. Please, make your contribution today!”

School Refuses to Give Child to Father, then Arrests Him

Your children are not your own. They belong to the State. That is the message the government is sending parents across the U.S.

This week, Jim Howe, a father in T.N. was arrested for merely trying to pick up his child after school hours.

A few weeks ago, a father was arrested at the request of the school board for merely questioning the low standards of the controversial Common Core curriculum and exercising his 1st Amendment rights.

The media has been promoting the idea for a while now that children don’t belong to their parents. MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry said on her show, “we have to break through our private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families.”


This totalitarian idea that children do not belong to their parents is not new. Karl Popper in his book, The Open Society and it’s Enemies, warned us that this kind of totalitarian thinking stems from Plato’s Republic. In Plato’s Republic, the State takes children away from their parents and raised in state-run foster homes supervised by the “elite Philosopher” class.

Parents are fighting back though.

Parents are fed up with all the controversies surrounding the public school system and are choosing to home school their children.

Dr. Susan Berry via Brietbart.com, explains the exodus from public schools to home education. “As dissatisfaction with the U.S. public school system grows, apparently so has the appeal of homeschooling. Educational researchers, in fact, are expecting a surge in the number of students educated at home by their parents over the next ten years, as more parents reject public schools” said Berry.

According to Education News, since 1999, the number of children who are home schooled has increased by 75%.

With Common Core curriculum which teaches young children to use emotionally charged language to manipulate others, massive data collection including medical records that are now being breached by hackers, violence in schools, school officials preventing parents access to their own children, it is no wonder why parents in the U.S. have had enough of public education.


VIDEO: High School Senior Slams Common Core

Common Core was passed by governors and bureaucracies with little accountability or democratic oversight, so it is only as the program nears implementation that its many problems have drawn attention.  Now, more and more people are speaking out against the program.  Students, teachers and parents across the country are voicing their concerns about the program’s lowered standards, potential politicization, and unconstitutionality.

Last week, one of the more noteworthy voices of opposition came from a Knox County student named Ethan Young, who spoke at a local School Board meeting.  In just over five minutes, Young discussed problems with the creation of the Core, its educational standards, and the harmful constraints the program would place on teachers.

“Somewhere our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves — pleading, screaming and trying to say to us that we teach to free minds. We teach to inspire. We teach to equip, the careers will come naturally” said Young.

Though at first glance it would seem the initiative came from states, “in reality it was contrived by an insular group of educational testing executives,” a partnership of the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers and Achieve Inc, a Gates-funded non-profit.  Even the two academic content specialists involved refused to approve the final standards, with one publicly stating that “the standards left students with an empty skill set,” Young explained.  It was neither created democratically nor by educational specialists.

Young’s primary concern, though, came from the national testing requirements.  “Much like No Child Left Behind,” he quipped, “the program promises national testing and a one size fits all education, because hey, it worked really well the first time.”  The standards, designed for an industrial education model, treat both students and educators as little more than numbers.  Tests don’t take into account the interaction at the heart of the teacher student relationship, damage teacher self-esteem, and force teachers to do things which are not beneficial to their students.

“As a student [it’s] like watching your teacher jump through flaming hoops to earn a score.”  Even forgetting all of the ideological problems of common core, treating education as a bureaucratic endeavor rather than a personal one will never work on a practical level.  It won’t engage students or teach them to love learning.  “I mean, why don’t we just manufacture robots instead of students?  They last longer and they always do what they’re told.”

Ethan Young’s concerns echo those expressed online and at PTA and School Board meetings across the country, from liberal strongholds like New York City to more conservative areas like Utah.  Some point to Young’s concerns, and some are put off by sexually explicit texts.  Others are concerned by data mining, or simply its expense.  In fact a growing movement spread via social media would protest Common Core nationwide by declaring November 18 “Don’t Send Your Child to School Day.”

Common Core’s problems range from its creation to its implementation, and cover both ideological and practical issues.  The program went largely unnoticed while it was being created and as states were bribed to adopt it, but with the recent wave of scrutiny a number of states have already dropped or attempted to drop the program.

Kansas Boy Suspended For Wearing A Purse To School

A 13-year-old male student in Kansas was suspended from school after he refused to take off his Vera Bradley purse.

When Anderson County Senior-Junior School officials asked Skyler Davis to take off the bag, he said no. Skyler’s refusal caused him to be sent to Assistant Principal Don Hillard’s office and subsequently suspended.

The teen’s mother, Leslie Willis, was called to come pick her son up and take him home. She said, “I was a little furious, and I called the school to reverify the story, and yeah, he refused to take off his Vera Bradley bag, nothing more to it.”

Skyler feels he was discriminated against — he claims that girls at his school wear purses all the time with no repercussions. He said, “I don’t think everyone should be treated differently. Everyone should have the same privileges.”

The school Superintendent, Don Blome, asserted that students of both genders are banned from having bags in “core classrooms.” He said, “We strive to make sure we treat every kid alike and there are classroom rules we expect kids to follow. They can bring [bags] to school. There’s no policy against that. But the classroom rules are that they can’t bring it to the classroom… We are not going out there to discriminate against anybody.”

Blome claimed that students are expected to put bags and purses in lockers during class time.

But Mrs. Willis said the school handbook makes no mention of this “rule.” She is furious with the school and supports her son. She said, “Skyler is only 13 years old. He’s just a child. And if this isn’t bullying, I don’t know what is. I think it is pretty cool that Skyler is making a stand and it’s causing somebody to listen.”


Mrs. Willis also asserted that the school got angry when Skyler spoke out about the experience. She said, “Skyler can speak freely about what’s bothering him. I have taught him this. Now the school is upset because he spoke out.”

Skyler’s story has been gaining so much traction that the Vera Bradley headquarters put out a statement that said, “Vera Bradley creates products that allow all of us to express our individual style. We encourage self-expression through color and design.” Two boutiques that sell Vera Bradley products have given Skyler free purses after hearing his story.

Skyler’s suspension will continue until he stops wearing the purse.

Even though her son is stubborn, Mrs. Willis wants to find middle ground with the school. She said, “We’re going to have to find some compromise in this.”

ACLU Tells Schools To Stop Praying, Or They May Sue

Tennessee is perhaps best know for country music. “Music City”, as it is known, plays home to the mountain distilled whiskey Jack Daniels (Ole Lady 7 as I like to call it), the Great Smoky Mountains, crazy night life, hot chicken and the buckle of the bible belt. Okay, perhaps not the buckle, but definitely one of the first couple holes.

As reported by the Tennessean,

The ACLU has sent a letter to 135 Tennessee school executives telling them to stop praying at football games. The ACLU of Tennessee reminded school executives that the Supreme Court has ruled multiple times against public prayer.

“Our experience is that many public school administrators and educators struggle with how the constitutional guarantees of religious freedom apply to prayer during their school-sponsored events,” said Hedy Weinberg, the ACLU’s executive director. “Our goal is to make sure that school systems statewide understand these First Amendment guarantees and commit to protecting religious freedom for all students, including athletes, and for their families who attend the games.”

The ACLU was promoted to compose the letter after an East Tennessee football coach publicly endorsed the idea of prayer before football games. However, Weinber hasn’t actually ever received a complaint about prayer before football games.

Weinberg says that the ACLU is prepared to go to court to support families who are “victimized”.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi