Third and fourth grade students Steven and Patrick Peterson have reportedly passed out fake coins with biblical messages at Desert Knolls Elementary School in Apple Valley, Calif. for over a year.
On one side of the coins is the Bible verse "John 3:16," while the other side says: "Where will you spend eternity?"
The San Bernardino Sun reports that Allen and Kelly Peterson, the boys' parents, instructed their children not to distribute the coins during class time, but during recess.
“The kids would take four, five, six of them to school,” Allen said. “A lot of [their friends] will ask them to bring more coins because they’ll take them home to give them out to family and friends.”
According to Patrick, a teacher allegedly told him in January, "I hate them and they’re a distraction to my class. I don’t want to see them anymore."
In another alleged incident on Valentine’s Day, the Peterson boys made homemade valentines, which included candy and the Bible verse coins for their classmates, but another teacher went through the Valentine’s bags and took out all the coins, claiming they were a violation of California law.
Allen Peterson contacted the school principal, but claims he was told that nothing could happen on the school's campus without the principal's permission.
In response, the Christian law firm Freedom X, sent a letter to the Apple Valley Unified School District demanding an apology.
William Becker, Jr., an attorney and CEO of Freedom X, told CBS Los Angeles, "Public school teachers in this day and age can't play dumb anymore. They know the law prevents religious discrimination, yet they can't help but act on their bigoted instincts. That has to stop."
Freedom X recently claimed victory on its website based on a letter it received from Apple Valley Unified School District Superintendent Thomas Hoegerman who said his investigation made "it clear that although no violation of the children's rights was intended, a teacher was mistaken as to obligations under the law."
"I can assure the Petersons that corrective actions are underway," wrote Hoegerman.
Carol Thebarge, a 79-year-old substitute teacher, was recently fired because she refused to "unfriend" her students on Facebook.
“They gave me an ultimatum, either take them all off or you are terminated,” Thebarge told CBS Boston. “And I decided that I would not comply and so I was terminated. And it’s caused a firestorm across the entire area.”
Thebarge, who was a teacher for nine years at Stevens High School in Claremont, N. H., had over 250 student friends on her Facebook page (video below).
Stevens High School administrators told Thebarge to "unfriend" the students, but she refused and lost her job.
“Facebook is a wonderful communication tool among friends,” said Superintendent Dr. Middleton McGoodwin. “But teachers are not students’ friends. She’s a wonderful lady and she’s loved by many but that doesn’t give you allowance to ignore a protocol designed to protect all.”
However, Thebarge tells a different version of her meeting with Dr. McGoodwin on her Facebook page:
You sat in your office with me last Wednesday and were perplexed as to "why the deletion was requested of me." After all, you stated, "You are in the privacy of your own home, with your own computer.. I see nothing wrong with this."
You said you would investigate it and get back to me. You never did. Yet in an interview that you gave to the press, you stated, "I sat with her and asked her to reconsider." This never happened. This is a dishonest statement.
Thebarge recalled to WMUR how school administrators told her four years ago about deleting her student friends on Facebook, but issued its ultimatum after a fellow teacher, Christopher LeBlanc, was accused of sexually assaulting a student.
Apparently students, not the administration, are able to differentiate between the two teachers and have been protesting outside the school for Thebarge.
“She wasn’t harming anybody,” said student Kayla Jennison. “She was a great person and always helps us.”
“She was like a second mom to all of us,” added student Elizieh Sheppard.
Eighth-grader Seirra Olivero says she was suspended from Orange-Ulster BOCES school in Goshen, N.Y. because she told other students that they didn't have to take the Common Core English test.
The incident reportedly happened last Tuesday. The 13 year old was suspended for two days.
"She walked away!" Olivero's mother Carin Beauchesne told RecordOnline.com. "She felt she was being treated like a criminal. She's a 13-year-old girl. What would you do?"
Orange-Ulster BOCES's superintendent William Hecht said Olivero's complaint was being taken seriously and students should not be disciplined for refusing a Common Core test.
Hecht claims Olivero was suspended for refusing to obey the school's administrators.
Olivero recalled her meeting with the principal who asked why she told other kids not to take the test: "I replied and said, 'I did some research and it said they don't have to.'"
When Olivero asked to call her mother, the principal refused.
"Then [the principal] started to ask other questions and that's when she started to interrogate me and I felt like I was being treated like a criminal," added Olivero.
Olivero said she left the principal's office, slammed the door behind her and refused to stop when a school administrator called to her.
Olivero claims the administrator told her, "I had no business telling the kids that they don't have to take the test and if I wanted to tell them I [could] out of school."
"Then I said, 'I can tell them whatever I want [and] to mind his business' and he said 'No, it is his business,'" recalled Olivero.
It's not clear, however, what exactly Olivero objected to on the Common Core test, which has been demonized by the home schooling industry and conservatives, reported Politico.com.
Fox News reports that mom Heidi Indilecato recently pulled her fourth-grade son out of a Common Core testing in Lancaster, N.Y.
“We respectfully refuse to participate in the test,” Indelicato told her son's teacher.
While other kids took the test, Indelicato and her son Benjamin wore T-shirts that read: "Keep calm and and refuse the NYS tests."
“The children should not be punished because of our fundamental right to want what’s best for their educational development,” Indelicato told Fox News. “I feel that the district is trying to use the powers of persuasion to get parents to have their kids participate in the testing.”
However, Indelicato did not say exactly why she opposes Common Core testing.
A transgender student, whose name is Jayce, was born a female, but self-identifies as a male and wants to live in the male dorm at George Fox University, a Christian college in Newberg, Ore.
After Jayce was denied housing in the male dorm, Jayce's mother, Janice, started a petition to pressure George Fox University to change its decision, reports InsideHigherEd.com.
The Change.org petition states: “Jayce wants to live with his male friends in on-campus housing next year, but George Fox University recently refused to allow this because Jayce is transgender.”
According to Jayce’s mother, her offspring has "transitioned socially several years ago and has been under the care of a medical doctor, and on testosterone, for over a year to assist with his transition.”
Jayce has also applied for a legal gender change, which would also appear on his driver’s license and Social Security status.
However, George Fox University said in a statement, “George Fox strives to be a Christ-centered community and our residential facilities are single gender because of our theological commitments. The student’s request to switch from female-only on-campus housing to male-only on-campus housing is one that many institutions would struggle with."
"While the university did not grant his request to live on campus with males, the student was not denied on-campus housing. He was offered the option of an on-campus single apartment with a commitment from Student Life to ensuring he stayed socially connected to the community," added the Christian school.
Georgia’s tax credit program takes “funds away from Georgia’s public schools” and redirects it to private religious schools, according to a lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court.
Raymond Gaddy and three other co-plaintiffs say the program violates Georgia's Constitution and tax code.
The claim states that money is siphoning public school funds through scholarship organizations, which are not regulated by the state.
"Individual taxpayers in Georgia, as well as corporations, receive dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations and contributions made to private Student Scholarship Organizations ('SSOs'). The SSOs then take the redirected tax funds and use them to provide scholarships for students to attend private schools," the suit says.
"Absent the constitutionally required state administration, the SSOs and the private schools that receive their funds are free to do virtually as they please," the complaint states.
Gaddy’s children attend school in Chatham County. He says Georgia "enacted a scheme in which funds from the state's treasury are redirected to pay tuition at private schools in the state."
The suit claims that tax credits are prohibited if the taxpayer designates education expenses for the benefit of a particular student.
"In this regard, although supposedly intended to benefit underprivileged children, the SSOs and private schools receiving the funds can, and generally do, award scholarships to students who already can afford private schools," the complaint states. "Also, because the majority of private schools in the state are faith based, many enrollment decisions are conditioned on commitment to specific religious beliefs and practices."
The plaintiffs want the state enjoined from redirecting tax money and a declaration stating that the program violates Georgia's Constitution and tax code.
Ethan Chaplin, a seventh-grade student at at Glen Meadow Middle School in Vernon, N.J., was recently suspended for twirling his pencil like a gun.
The 13-year-old was in math class when a fellow student yelled, “He’s making gun motions, send him to juvie!”
Ethan claims the other student had bullied him earlier in the day (video below).
According to AppalachianAreaNews.com, Ethan’s teacher sent him to the principal’s office, where he was suspended.
Ethan was told he would have to pass a “physical and psychological evaluation” in order to return to school.
“I was shocked because I’m like, how am I not going back to school? I didn’t even do anything,” Ethan told News 12.
Vernon Schools Superintendent Charles Maranzano defended the principal’s decision.
“We never know what’s percolating in the minds of children,” Maranzano stated. “When they demonstrate behaviors that raise red flags, we must do our duty.”
“I’m absolutely livid," Michael Chaplin, Ethan’s father, countered. "I think it’s gross misconduct at its finest. They took something so minimal and took it so far over the edge.”
Michael described the physical and psychological evaluation that Ethan had to undergo.
“The child was stripped, had to give blood samples [which caused him to pass out] and urine samples for all things drug testing,” recalled Michael. “Then four hours later a social worker spoke to him for five minutes and cleared him. Then an actual doctor came in and said the state was 100 percent incorrect in their procedure and this would not get him back in school.”
Last Friday, several parents in Casey County, Ky., kept their kids home because of a book that was given out at schools by the Tri-State Freethinkers, an atheist group.
The book, Humanism, What’s That? A Book for Curious Kids, encourages children to use science to find the answers in life. The book was given away at three elementary schools.
“Our attendance was probably not as good as it normally is,” Liberty Elementary School Principal Boyd Harris told The Advocate Messenger. “We feel like there may be some connection there."
Parents walked into Jones Park Elementary School last Thursday and
demanded to see the table where the atheist books were going to be displayed.
“We’re here to defend God and his glory,” said one mom, who didn't give her name.
According to WKYT, the Freethinkers chose Casey County because Gideons International, a Christian organization, gave out Bibles at the same schools.
The ACLU sent the school district a letter on behalf of Freethinker's President Jim G. Helton for the same opportunity to give out atheist books.
Helton said that school officials didn't give his group any problems.
“The people we talked to were very polite and professional, there were no issues there whatsoever,” Helton stated.
The Freethinkers left five copies of their book at the schools after classes on Thursday to avoid speaking to students on Friday during school hours.
“It should be empowering for [parents] to say what they believe in,” added Freethinker Torey Glassmeyer. “This is a chance for them to talk to their children about their beliefs.”
Sources: The Advocate Messenger and WKYT
A 25-year-old high school teacher was arrested after a police investigation uncovered that she had been having sex with an underage student.
Brittany Marie Phillips, a teacher at Lexington Senior High School in North Carolina, faces felony sex offense charges after the unnamed student admitted to another teacher that he was having a relationship with Phillips.
The victim told police that he had multiple sexual encounters with Phillips between December 2013 and February 2014, and to prove his claims, he brought them a video recording of Phillips performing a sex act on him.
"The juvenile corroborated this statement by explaining that he had a video of Phillips performing [a sex act] on him," wrote Detective Benjamin Clayton of Lexington Police Department in his report. "The juvenile showed me the video, and the video does appear to show Phillips' face."
Following her arrest, Phillips was immediately suspended from the school and her name was taken off the teacher list on the school’s website.
“Right now, the situation is under investigation, and Miss Phillips has been suspended and is not in contact with any students,” said Lexington City Schools Superintendent Rick Kriesky.
Phillips, a first-year teacher, was released on a $50,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in court on April 7.
Las Vegas parents are upset about "slap-ass Friday," which is reportedly happening in local middle schools.
Every Friday, male students slap female students on the behind, reports CBS Las Vegas.
“I actually am going to keep her out of [Escobedo Middle School] until the situation is resolved on Fridays,” Denise Delucia told KLAS. “I’m not letting her go to be accosted on Fridays, that is not acceptable.”
"It just happens everywhere," Amirah Shotlow, 15, said. "It's all over school, just every Friday, they come and smack girls' butts."
"Sometimes they'll do it with their binders and sometimes they'll use your hands, and I just, they just walk around school and just out of nowhere," explained Justina Failla, 14.
“I just think it’s inappropriate,” High school senior Tasha Rasmussen added. “We were young and I just don’t believe that it should have been done. I definitely think there should be a stop to it. Somebody needs to bring the consequences to the students’ attention. It is frowned upon. It is bad. It is gross.”
The Clark County School District replied to news reports with a statement:
School administrators are aware of this parent complaint and have been working with the parent and student directly to gather additional information. The district has a zero-tolerance policy for physical violence. If appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken.
However, it's not just Las Vegas. YouTube has numerous videos of "slap-ass Friday" posted from around the country; some videos date back years ago.
The Clark County School District spokesman said she had never heard of it. A search on Google for "slap-ass Friday" brought up 790,000 results.
Kindergarten teacher Susan Kimball recently testified to the Missouri Senate Education Committee that she was intimidated and bullied by co-workers and her bosses for publicly opposing Common Core.
Common Core is a new standardized educational plan that is being used in 45 states, notes MSNBC.
“When I turned in a personal day request to come support the rally for House Bill 1490, I was asked by my principal, ‘Do you really want that in your personnel file?’ And then I was bullied and ostracized by my administration, a few other teachers and the president of the school board and that continues today," claimed Kimball, reports The Missouri Torch, which shot the video (below).
Kimball also claimed that during some school meetings she and other teachers were told not to post anything negative online or talk in public about Common Core or it could affect their jobs.
"So, even though many teachers were hating the Common Core curriculum, they would not voice there opinion to anyone," said Kimball.
“It has been heart-wrenching to watch my students frustration when having to be taught these lessons, especially when I know better from all my years of teaching that this is not appropriate, but I am powerless to do anything,” added Kimball.