In a Monday night televised debate, all four Republican candidates running for the position of Texas lieutenant governor — a position some say is the most powerful in the state — said they believe creationism should be taught in Texas public schools.
The four men Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples, State Senator Dan Patrick and current Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst were all asked the direct questions, “Does creationism belong in schools? Would you like to see creationism in textbooks?”
All four candidates answered in the affirmative.
Commissioner Patterson said, “Creationism, intelligent design, evolution should be taught in school. Our students should be armed with knowledge about creationism, intelligent design, evolution.”
“We teach kids in church on Sunday about Jesus. On school, on Monday, they can’t talk about Jesus. They must be confused. We have yielded to [the] secular left. I believe we’ve been blessed by God as a nation. When it comes to creationism, not only should it be taught, it should be triumphed, it should be heralded,” was the answer of State Sen. Patrick with the most forceful answer of the evening.
Commissioner Staples answered, “Creationism can be taught in our schools. It is something most Texans believe in.”
Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst, who is facing one of the toughest re-election bids of his career tried to split the difference but still came down on the side of teaching creationism saying, “I believe in creationism but I understand it alone cannot be taught. And I am fine with teaching creationism, intelligent design, evolution. Let students, with advice and counsel, decide for themselves which one they believe in. All three should be taught.”
Texas public schools do not currently teach creationism, although some charter schools in the state do teach the concept. Currently the only states allowing public schools to teach creationism are Louisiana and Tennessee. Other states have private schools receiving tax-funded vouchers teaching creationism including, Indiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and Arizona.
A 7-year-old girl was beaten unconscious by her classmates on Tuesday at the Thomas Claggett Elementary School in District Heights, Md.
At the time of the attack, there were reportedly 75 children in the school gymnasium, but only five teachers, who did not see the beating.
The unidentified girl was taken via ambulance to Children's Hospital in Washington D.C. where she was found to have suffered a mild concussion, notes TheRoot.com.
"That's my baby. I bring her to school and that's the least thing I expect is a phone call informing me that my daughter is unconscious,” the girl's mother, Phersephone Holland, told My Fox DC (video below).
"Notice needs to be sent out because next time it could be a little pocket knife or a gun to school,” added Holland. "It's serious. A child was unconscious today. It could have been worse than that. She could have died."
The girl's father, Rodney Smyers, says his daughter has been attacked before.
"One incident, she came home, she had a split in her lip," stated Smyers. "It's an ongoing problem."
Holland says her daughter will not be going back to Claggett Elementary School because her life is in danger.
Prince George’s County Public Schools spokesperson Max Pugh says there is an investigation of the assault.
Sources: My Fox DC and The Root
A student journalist at Purdue University was thrown to the ground by police, had his camera taken away and was detained for three hours for trying to cover Tuesday's on-campus shooting by suspect Cody Cousins.
According to The Exponent, the campus newspaper, their photo editor Michael Takeda was in the Electrical Engineering Building taking pictures. The area had not been closed by Purdue University Police at the time.
After slamming Takeda to the ground, Purdue police seized his camera and photos. Police also detained and questioned Takeda for about three hours.
The police did not return his camera equipment until Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, intervened on Takeda's behalf.
“[The law] specifically says that the police cannot confiscate or search where journalists keep their unpublished work product unless they first go in front of a judge and give the journalist the chance to argue his side,” LoMonte told The Exponent.
According to TechDirt.com, an "exigent situation" exception in the law allows police to seize and keep press equipment when the safety of the police or public is immediately threatened.
An anonymous source recently sent a collection of somewhat racy pictures of teacher's aide Kaitlin “Kaity” Pearson to the school where she works and to a local newspaper.
Pearson, 23, has now been placed on administrative leave by the South Street Elementary School in Fitchburg, Mass. for the sexy pictures, some of which she had put on her Facebook page.
“To think that one year ago I was a girl picked up by a small modeling group (thing) branched out and spread my wings and was given the highest honor a model could ask for,” Pearson wrote on Facebook after being named model of the year by the publication ModelsMania.
According to the News Telegram, Pearson is scantily clad in T-shirts, bikinis and lingerie in some pictures. She covers her nipples and genitals with her hands or legs in other pics (video below).
While some parents were upset about Pearson's legal modeling pictures, her father was supportive.
“That’s her private life. She’s 23,” Chuck Pearson told CBS Boston. “She’s a grown-up woman.”
He also recalled how much she loved working at the school, helping special needs children and "learning something new every day."
Chuck Pearson also questioned the morality of whoever sent the pictures to the school and local newspaper.
Fitchburg School Superintendent Andre Ravenelle said the anonymous package of pictures was delivered to his office last Friday.
“[The package] contained modeling screenshots of an individual who is employed as a paraprofessional at South Street Elementary School, and it also contained comments about that individual’s employment here,” Ravenelle said in the statement.
“The school department’s hiring procedure solely requires [Criminal Offender Record Information] checks on the background of potential employees,” added Ravenelle. “CORI checks only screen for criminal activity. The information provided to the school department and [Fitchburg] Sentinel is not of a criminal nature. This situation poses no threat to the student body and is at this time solely a personnel issue.”
Somerset Middle School in Somerset, Wis. has been accused of segregating boys and girls based on gender stereotypes, which may violate gender equality laws.
The ACLU of Wisconsin claims that the middle school's use of gender stereotypes is depriving students of an equal education.
“There is no solid evidence supporting the assertions about supposed differences between boys’ and girls’ brains that underlie these programs, and there is absolutely no evidence that teaching boys and girls differently leads to any educational improvements. It’s harmful for schools to promote these types of generalizations about boys and girls," Galen Sherwin, of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, said in a press release.
The ACLU claims that documents obtained via open records laws show the school uses different teaching methods for boys and girls, who are separated into single-sex classrooms. The kids are also segregated by during extracurricular activities, lunch and recess.
According to the ACLU, the school claims “girls hear better,” “boys are messy," “boys value team affiliation above friendship" and "girls are more easily distracted than boys and prefer quiet and focus.”
The ACLU is calling for the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education to investigate.
The school's program is heavily influenced by Dr. Leonard Sax and corporate consultant Michael Gurian, who have advocated for the choice of single sex education.
However, The New York Times reported in 2011 that eight scientists wrote in the journal Science that "sex-segregated education is deeply misguided and often justified by weak, cherry-picked or misconstrued scientific claims rather than by valid scientific evidence.”
“It’s simply not true that boys and girls learn differently,” the study’s lead author Diane Halper told The New York Times. “Advocates for single-sex education don’t like the parallel with racial segregation, but the parallels are there. We used to believe that the races learned differently, too.”
Afro-American Society president and student Jalil Bishop led a protest at Dartmouth College on Monday against the school's alleged indifference to racial equality, sexual assault and fraternities that have held racist parties.
The protest occurred on the Hanover, N.H. campus during speeches to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, noted The Dartmouth (video below).
Bishop criticized the school for putting effort into MLK celebrations, but not putting the same work into ending “oppression on campus.”
“Ask yourself why Dartmouth has spent more time, money, and resources into celebrating this so-called ‘justice work,’ than into actually doing justice work,” said Bishop.
“Dartmouth is complicit,” added Bishop. “We are complicit in failing to break down the structure that keeps so many black and brown bodies across the country and around the world marginalized, and keeps so many white bodies benefiting from that marginalization.”
At one point, Bishop stated, “Stand if sitting is no longer an option, stand if you understand that we must eradicate white supremacy."
About a third of the student audience joined Bishop on stage with signs while chanting “No justice! No peace!”
According to ValleyNews.com, Bishop spoke for twenty minutes during the protest.
Eventually, Dartmouth's keynote speaker, ABC News reporter John Quinones, was able to give his speech after the protesters left the stage.
After speaking, Quinones told The Dartmouth, "It says a lot about this university that they were allowed to go onstage and get their message out. There are other places where they could have been arrested or pulled off the stage or something ridiculous like that. I hope people will hear and listen and that somehow there’s a conversation that’s started.”
Colorado Ballot Initiative Will Require Marriage Education Courses Prior to All Weddings in the State
A group in Colorado is causing a stir after proposing a ballot initiative that will require couples looking to get married to go through educational classes prior to actually being allowed to wed.
The ballot, known as the Colorado Marriage Education Act, will make it mandatory for new couples to go through 10 hours of educational courses before getting married. If someone is getting married for the second time, the number of required hours would increase to 20, and for a third time, 30. A widow or widower that is remarrying, however, would only be required to go through 10 hours of classes.
Those in favor of the bill, like David Schel and Sharon Tekolian of the group Kids Against Divorce, say that the point is to, “better prepare individuals going into marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent, to furthermore protect children given that marriage is the foundation of a family unit."
Those opposed, however, feel that it is inappropriate to have laws regulating education when it comes to marriage.
"This is the stupidest thing I have ever heard," said the three-time married Alyx Reese-Giles. "The government has no business deciding what education people should or should not get before entering into marriage. Marriage is about communication and being ready to commit, and no class is going to teach you that."
In addition to proposing mandatory classes for couples wanting to get married, the ballot also proposes annual tax cuts for couples that willingly continue the educational courses each year of their marriage, saying that will “reduce the billions of dollars taxpayers spend annually on divorce.”
The group that proposed this ballot initiative say they’ll need 86,000 signatures in order to get the Colorado Marriage Education Act on the voting ballot for November.
The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity was suspended from Arizona State University (ASU) after the local chapter threw a "MLK Black Party" on Sunday.
The student party-goers posted pictures of themselves on social media wearing basketball jerseys, flashing gang signs and drinking from watermelon cups, reports CBS 5 (video below).
ASU called the unofficial party "misguided" and "offensive." Tau Kappa Epsilon reportedly held the party off campus without university permission.
"ASU has suspended chapter operations, can and will take additional action against the individuals involved, and is meeting with the national TKE organization today to take further action," ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler told the Phoenix New Times.
"ASU has one of the most diverse student bodies of any major university in the country, and it is unfortunate that a few misguided individuals held an offensive party at a time when ASU, the state and the nation are celebrating Dr. King's achievements and legacy. The university will not tolerate this kind of behavior," added Keeler.
Patrick Gleason, of the national TKE chapter, told CBS 5, "I'll be meeting with the school as well as the local chapter, as I said, to really flush out the details of this incident and get a full scope of what occurred, We have been in contact with the chapter and have been working with them to help them get back onto campus."
Robert Marucci, 18, was reportedly kicked out of Cocoa High School in Cocoa, Fla. for performing in gay porn to help support his family.
Two weeks ago, Marucci said that some fellow students discovered his videos on an adult website SeanCody.com, shared sexual pictures of him on their phones and bullied the young man (video below).
Marucci said school administrators expelled him, claimed he was a disruption and accused him of threatening to bring weapons to the school, which he denies.
"I feel like I have been treated unfairly and this is unjust," Marucci told ClickOrlando.com. "This was completely legal. I didn't break any laws, and this took place out of the school."
Marucci's mother, Melyssa Lieb, knew her son was working in porn films, but adds, "I think he's the most awesome person in the world. He stood up and he was the man of the house when I couldn't be."
Lieb says the school principal told her, "He was expelled due to his explicit lifestyle career."
"I think that it is Dr. [Stephanie] Soliven's morals and her personal beliefs and I don't think that this is anybody's business except for my son's," added Lieb. "The children at the school found [the porn] and she didn't do anything to stop it."
According to the Daily Mail, students staged a walkout last Friday to support Marucci and created a Facebook page to garner public favor.
Michelle Irwin, a spokesperson for the Brevard County School District, said in a statement this week: "No child would ever be suspended for a job that they have outside of the school environment."
But Irwin wouldn't say why Marucci was expelled citing privacy laws.
After the story broke in the news, the Brevard County School District said they would allow Marucci to return to school, but made no mention of the students who bullied him, reported ClickOrlando.com.
South End Elementary School in Reidsville, N.C. is catching heat from an African-American mom, Natasha Lea, because a teacher at the school gave her son, Jacob, a Confederate Army cap.
The cap doesn't bear the Confederate flag, but does say the word "Confederate" inside (video below).
“I did not want to believe that the school actually let him walk around, as an African-American child, with a Confederate cap on," Lea told Fox 8. "This stands for a dark time in our history.”
“What is this hat doing in that school, period?” added Lea. “For any child?”
According to FreakOutNation.com, Rockingham County spokesperson Karen Hyler said in a statement, "Before winter break in December, the class had an auction where students could bid on different items using their big bucks. Many of the items are donated by families. One of the items for bid was a grey cap with a black bill. The cap did not feature any additional decorations.”
“Ultimately, the teacher had no malicious intent offering this cap as a reward," said Hyler. "The school has reflected on this issue and will be sure to thoroughly screen items donated to err on the side of caution that they could not be seen as potentially offensive.”
Sources: FreakOutNation.com and Fox 8