A teacher in Memphis, Tennessee landed herself in hot water after deciding it was a good idea to lock a 5-year-old girl in a closet to reprimand her for “being bad.”
According to reports, Kristin Oshfeldt, a kindergarten teacher A.B. Hill Elementary, has been suspended with pay following the incident that has left 5-year-old Akeelah Joseph terrified to go back to school. Joseph was in the dark closet for over an hour and was only found by a substitute teacher after Oshfeldt wound up going home early because she was sick.
“I was playing too much,” said Akeelah of the reason why Oshfeldt locked her in the closet to begin with. “I almost peed on myself if I didn’t make it the bathroom.”
Akeelah’s mother Wanda Joseph says she was horrified to learn that the teacher treated her daughter so poorly.
“I am hearing that the teacher locked my child in a closet, because she was supposedly bad,” said Joseph. “You don’t do that. I hurried up to the school and started yelling, ‘Where my daughter at? Where my daughter at?’ She was cold. She came out cold and shaking. Plus she has asthma. She could have had an asthma attack in that closet!”
Reports claim that this may not have been the first time that Oshfeldt has locked a child in the closet to discipline them, and the mother of one another kindergartener at A.B. Hill says that’s not what she sends her child to school for.
“You shouldn’t have to worry about this,” said mother Branelle McGaughy. “You send your kids to school to learn. Not to be put in closets and hit over the head with rulers and stuff like that.”
Akeelah’s mother says that locking a young child in a closet as punishment is unacceptable.
"You don't do a child like that,” said Wanda Joseph. “If you're going to punish a child, you tell them to stop and behave or you're going to write them up and send them to office. You don't put a child in a closet, period.”
The school district, the Memphis police department, and the Department of Children’s Services are currently investigating the incident. Oshfeldt remains suspended with pay while the investigation continues.
Jordan and Juwaun Jackson have been suspended from Sheboygan Falls High School because of a picture (with their brother Jamal) in a local newspaper that interviewed them about playing basketball.
The Sheboygan Falls, Wis. school district claims the two brothers were making hand gestures that “looked like” gang signs in a “goofing around” photo (video below).
The Sheboygan Falls News ran the "feel good" story and the “goofing around” photo on Jan. 1.
The boys were suspended because some parents claimed the brothers were making gang-related hand signs, but this came as a surprise to the boys.
Jordan says he did not know the "3" gesture was a gang symbol used by the Los Angeles-based "Bloods."
"I had no idea," Jordan told TMJ 4. "They told us it meant blood."
"I did it like every other kid does it when they make a 3," added Jordan. "When you make a 3, everyone does this sign. You’ve probably seen LeBron James or someone do it. I did the 3 in the picture, and my little brother pointed at the camera.”
Police Chief Steve Riffel determined that the boys did make gang signs, but after investigating them, found no actual threat, reports WHBL.
Sheboygan Falls News Editor Jeff Pederson tried to calm the hysteria on Facebook today:
The sign made by Jordan Jackson (on the far left side of the photo) is also commonly used by NBA players, such as James Harden, Lebron James and Brandon Jennings, after making a 3-point shot. The good intentions surrounding a positive article about high school student-athletes adjusting to a new school and contributing to an SFHS sports program has somehow taken an ugly turn.
...In my 20 years in mainly small-town newspaper journalism, I have fielded plenty of complaints from readers. However, I have never seen anything published in a paper I have been a part of escalate to this very unfortunate and negative magnitude.
The Sheboygan Daily reports that the ACLU of Wisconsin condemned the overreaction of the school district and police department.
“It appears as if the Sheboygan Falls school district and police department are unprepared to respond to the increasing diversity in the schools in an appropriate and educationally sound manner,” said ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ahmuty.
“The ACLU will be seeking information from the schools in order to assess their compliance with pupil non-discrimination rules," added Ahmuty. "The ACLU asks the district to immediately make the brothers eligible to play in tomorrow’s game.”
When people are led to believe that a black man is more educated, they remember him as being lighter skinned, according to a new study in the journal SAGE Open.
Researchers tested 160 students at San Francisco State University by priming them with either the word “ignorant” or “educated.” They were then shown the face of a black man.
Students consistently recalled the “educated” black faces as lighter than they actually were.
Researchers say it has everything to do with racial stereotypes shaping memory. The study suggests an educated black man defies social stereotypes and, in order to maintain consistency, the mind tricks a person into thinking they weren’t so black.
Researchers called this type of racism “skin tone memory bias.”
“Black individuals who defy social stereotypes might not challenge social norms sufficiently but rather may be remembered as lighter, perpetuating status quo beliefs,” the study said.
“Whereas encountering a Black individual after being primed with the word educated might pose a challenge to existing beliefs, encountering a Black individual after being primed with the word ignorant would likely not require resolution or a misremembering of skin tone to align with these beliefs,” it added.
“When a Black stereotypic expectancy is violated (herein, encountering an educated, black male), this culturally incompatible information is resolved by distorting this person’s skin tone to be lighter in memory and therefore to be perceived as ‘whiter,’” said the study’s main researcher Avi Ben-Zeev.
First grader Brynn Williams and her classmates were told by their teacher to bring something to class that represented a family Christmas tradition and perform a one-minute speech about it.
Williams reportedly brought her family's star of Bethlehem to Helen Hunt Jackson Elementary School in Riverside, Calif. on Dec. 19.
However, when Williams started to recite a Bible verse, John 3:16, her teacher allegedly cut her off and told her to sit down (video below).
The law firm Advocates for Faith & Freedom is now defending Williams after the principal of the school reportedly told her mother, Gina, that California's Educational Codes supported the teacher's actions.
“After Brynn took her seat, the teacher explained to Brynn in front of all the other students that she was not allowed to talk about the Bible or share its verses,” Advocates for Faith & Freedom stated in a letter to the school district, noted Patch.com.
“She's not allowed to talk about the Bible in school," Robert Tyler, of Advocates for Faith & Freedom, told NBC Los Angeles.
"The disapproval and hostility that Christian students have come to experience in our nation's public schools has become epidemic,” added Tyler.
Brynn's father, Shane, stated, "When this took place she was hurt. She felt that she had done something wrong and she was going to be punished."
The Temecula Valley Unified School District responded with a statement that said it "respects all students' rights under the Constitution and takes very seriously any allegation of discrimination. Due to the fact that District officials are currently investigating the allegations, it would be inappropriate to provide further comment at this time."
Sandusky Central Catholic School in Sandusky, Ohio fired music director Brian Panetta on Jan. 3 for violating the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Panetta later met with the Catholic Diocese of Toledo, Ohio, which agreed he could resign instead.
At issue is Panetta becoming engaged to marry his partner, David Nathan, in July 2015.
The music teacher, who calls himself a "proud and gay Catholic," says he never hid his relationship with Nathan from the Sandusky Central Catholic School during his four and a half year tenure.
"I knew if we ever wanted to get married, it would limit my time teaching at the school I love," Panetta told the Sandusky Register last Friday. "When I met with the diocese, they basically told me my engagement is a public statement of my support for equality for gay marriage, which the Catholic Church does not support."
Panetta recently sent a letter to parents and students announcing his resignation:
It is with heavy heart and great remorse that I find myself stepping down from my position as Director and Coordinator of Music at Sandusky Central Catholic School.
I am, however, proud to announce that over Christmas Break I accepted a proposal of engagement to my partner of five years. As a proud and gay Catholic, I understand the Church’s teachings on marriage and agree that my engagement is a public statement of my position for marriage equality, which the Catholic Church does not yet support. I am hopeful to see change in the future, but until then I am praying for strength and understanding and encourage my students to do the same.
According to The Advocate, the school released its own letter:
It is with great sadness that we extend to you that Mr. Brian Panetta has resigned his position today as director and coordinator of music at Sandusky Central Catholic School. Although parting ways is never easy, especially in the midst of a school year, we would like to thank Mr. Panetta for his devotion and service to the school, and the gifts and talents he brought to the music program.
Researcher Gets Death Threats For Study, Says 10 Percent of UNC Athletes Read Below 3rd Grade Level (Video)
Mary Willingham recently revealed in a study that 8-10 percent of University of North Carolina (UNC) student-athletes read below a third-grade level.
In response, Willingham has received death threats from UNC sports fans and denial from UNC administrators, who approved the study (video below).
Willingham recently showed CNN her study, which she says UNC has as well.
“It’s in their system,” Willingham told CNN. “They have all the data and more. It belongs to them, and they paid a lot of money for it.”
However, UNC said in a statement, "University officials can’t comment on the statistical claims mentioned in the story because they have not seen the data.”
That claim is false, according to several emails between Willingham and UNC.
CNN reports those emails show that Willingham shared her study with UNC Executive Vice Provost James W. Dean Jr. and with a member of the UNC Committee on Academics and Athletics.
Even though UNC claims it has not seen Willingham’s study, the school claims it is “patently unfair to the many student athletes who worked hard in the classroom... Such analysis is not part of [Willingham's] job duties at the university.”
But that statement by UNC was also proven false when Willingham provided CNN with emails she exchanged with UNC officials showing their approval for the research.
Willingham has recently met with UNC's Department of Public Safety because she has received multiple death threats and 30 other messages from "people who put in the subject or body [of the e-mail] straight-up hate speech.”
UNC police claim they are “looking into it and making effort to reach out and investigate the nature of the threats.”
Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern (R) introduced a bill this week that would prevent schools from punishing students who bring small toy guns, or objects resembling or depicting guns, to school.
Across the US, children have been charged for bringing firearms to school, when in reality it was a just a toy gun, a pastry shaped as a gun or even using their fingers to make a gun gesture.
Kern's bill HB 2351, the Common Sense Zero Tolerance Act, says schools shall not "punish, humiliate, intimidate, be condescending to, or bully a student" who has "possession of a toy weapon."
The bill would also allow kids to wear clothing or accessories that support or advance Second Amendment rights or organizations.
Children would also be allowed to draw pictures of firearms, military vehicles or aircraft.
"Real intent, real threats and real weapons should always be dealt with immediately. We need to stop criminalizing children's imagination and childhood play," Kern told News 9.
"If there's no real intent, there's no real threat, no real weapon, no real harm is occurring or going to occur, why in the world are we in a sense abusing our children like this," added Kern.
However, the Oklahoma Education Association opposes Kern's proposed law.
"I fully trust Oklahoma educators to handle student discipline in an appropriate case-by-case manner," said Oklahoma Education Association President Linda Hampton. "The proposed legislation removes local control from teachers, counselors, administrators and local school boards. Educators are degreed professionals, trained and experienced in dealing with children."
But Hampton did not address the incidents in which children have gun violations put on their permanent school records for non-gun objects.
“My intent is to protect children, protect families and to not criminalize childhood behavior,” Kern told KFOR. “Why do we have to wait until some child is traumatized, some parent has to deal with this issue to do something to protect children and their families?”
Noelle Roni claims she was fired on Nov. 1, 2013 from the Peak to Peak Charter School in Lafayette, Colo. after she tried to stop school officials from marking the hands of children who could not afford to buy lunch for full price.
In Nov. 2013, the Peak to Peak Charter School told parents in an email that the former principal's firing was not a form of retaliation, but refused to state why Roni was fired, noted The Denver Post.
After she was fired, the community rallied around Roni. Parents started petitions to recall two members of Peak to Peak's Board of Directors.
Roni told The Daily Camera today how the school would stamp children’s hands if they did not have enough money to pay for lunch or if they were eligible for free lunches.
“As soon as I saw it happening, I was like, ‘No, this is not okay,’” stated Roni. “The students felt so humiliated, like they had done something wrong. They didn’t want to go into the lunchroom any more. It’s unethical and disrespectful.”
Roni’s lawyer said that she asked cafeteria workers to stop stamping the hands of the children, but the workers still did it.
Roni met with school leaders who agreed the stamping should stop, but the food services manager resigned.
Roni's lawyer claims that weeks later Kelly Reeser, Peak to Peak's executive director of education, “demanded” that Roni take responsibility for the food services manager resigning.
When Roni refused, a disciplinary letter citing “unprofessional conduct” was put in her school file, according to Roni's attorneys.
“[Executive Director Kelly Reeser] used this incident and my stance against it as an example of my being unprofessional and insubordinate, which eventually led to me being terminated,” added Roni. “You put kids first. That’s more important than whether I’m going to get along with my co-worker.”
Peak to Peak's Board of Directors denies Roni's firing was retaliation, but still won't give specific reasons for her firing more than two months ago.
Kids are expected to put in hard work in school, but students in Indonesia work even harder to just get there.
School-aged children in Sumatra, Indonesia put their lives in danger to get an education. While children in various parts of the world who walk miles to get to school is not uncommon, the kids in the pictures below take the cake when it comes to death-defying risk taking.
Kids are forced to tightrope across a 30 ft. pass where a bridge used to stand over a river. The bridge, which included a seven-mile walk, was the common route for these Indonesian children.
But thanks to heavy storms and floods, pillars on that suspension bridge have been broken, making an already dangerous trip to school even more perilous.
The photos below show school-age children as they cross narrow aqueducts on a small plank board, carefully guarding their books and book bags so they won’t get wet.
In China, school-age children have to pass through high cliffs while others have to zip line high above the ground in Colombia.
Riding in a school bus on a rainy day doesn't sound that bad now.
Source: Visual News, NBC News
There was an armed guard at the Columbine school shooting in 1999 and an armed "emergency response team" assigned to Virginia Tech during the 2007 mass shooting (the worst in the US history), but in both cases the armed "good guys" made no difference.
Undeterred by history, the Gainesville, Ga. school board recently approved the purchase of three Colt 6920 M4 rifles for use by school resource officers at Gainesville High, Gainesville Middle School and Wood’s Mill Academy (video below).
The rifles will be stored in safes that will only open via the fingerprints of the school resource officers. The guns will not be stored at the schools when the officers are not working, notes Guns.com.
The school resource officers already carry Glocks (pistols), but the Gainesville Police Department has wanted them to be more heavily armed ever since the mass school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
“We have a very strong relationship with Gainesville Police Department,” school board chairwoman Maria Calkins told the Gainesville Times. “We work with them every day to protect the kids and make Gainesville city schools a safe place.”
On Monday the entire school board, except for Willie Mitchell, voted to approve the $6,000 gun buying proposal.
“For some reason or another, I just can’t buy into guns in school,” said Willie Mitchell. “I’m not sure that’s the best way to [take care] of the situation.”
“To me it’s like putting Band-Aids on a cancer,” stated Mitchell. “Yeah, we need to study ways to keep bad people out of our school system but a gun in a cabinet, away from where probably the scene would happen, isn’t going to stop any damage.”