A New Jersey college professor says he was suspended after he shared a picture of his daughter doing “yoga” in a Game of Thrones shirt, and the message on the shirt made school officials feel threatened.
“I will take what is mine with fire and blood,” reads the shirt that Francis Schmidt’s young daughter is seen wearing in the photo. Schmidt believed he was simply sharing an innocent photo of his daughter on social media, but when Bergen Community College human resources director Jim Miller saw it, he decided to call a meeting with Schmidt and administrators.
After sitting down with school administrators, Schmidt was told that the school was suspending him until further notice because of a “threatening email.” When Schmidt asked administrators why they felt the email was threatening, they informed him that the line printed on his daughter’s shirt was a nod to school shootings in America.
“I had no idea what to say to that. For God’s sake, I’m a middle-aged art professor,” said Schmidt. “I don’t own any firearms.”
Despite the latest outrage over the professor’s suspension, Bergen Community College is standing by their decision.
“The referenced incident refers to a private personnel matter at Bergen Community College,” said college spokesman Larry Hlavenka in a statement. “Since Jan. 1, 2014, 34 incidents of school shootings have occurred in the United States,” Hlavenka added. “In following its safety and security procedures, the college investigates all situations where a member of its community – students, faculty, staff or local residents – expresses a safety or security concern.”
Schmidt believes the real reason behind the suspension has nothing to do with his daughter’s shirt and is actually their retaliation against him for filing a grievance after they denied him a sabbatical a few months ago.
A science teacher at Ramón C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts in Los Angeles was suspended because another teacher thought some of his students’ projects were dangerous.
Greg Schiller was suspended from the school because the other teacher believed that two projects looked like weapons. Schiller says that the one project was an air cannon and another was an electromagnetic coil gun, and by the time he was suspended, he hadn’t even gotten a chance to grade or look them over.
“I discussed with them scientific principals but the projects were removed before I had an opportunity to fully examine them,” said Schiller to KTLA.
Student Asa Ferguson, whose electromagnetic coil gun got Schiller in trouble, explains the function behind his project and why he believed it caused issues.
“It has appliances in roller coasters and spaceships. It’s been theorized to be able to launch spaceships in space for cheaper,” said Ferguson. “I think that if I had said it was an electromagnetic propulsion system it would not have been taken out.”
Now, Schiller’s students are protesting at the school, demanding that their beloved teacher be allowed back.
“We want Mr. Schiller back. We want him out of ‘teacher jail.’ We want him reinstated,” said Samantha Healey. “No one got hurt, no one was going to get hurt. He’s a really great teacher, and he really cares, he really wants to teach and he loves teaching.”
Most of the students placed duct tape on their mouths and wore signs that read, “I will not talk until Mr. Schiller is reinstated.”
While the school isn’t really commenting on the issue, they did say that they are simply following protocol.
“There is an ongoing investigation, therefore, we cannot comment,” said Tom Waldman, director of media and communication for the Los Angeles Unified School District, in a recent statement. “It is the practice of the Los Angeles Unified School District to reassign an employee to a non-classroom setting when there are allegations related to student safety.”
A Facebook page made by some of Schiller’s students has already garnered over 700 likes.
A Virginia middle school student claims she was suspended and is facing expulsion after she took a razor blade from a classmate who was cutting his arm. Sixth grader Adrionna Harris took the blade, threw it away, and tried to help her friend understand that he shouldn’t be hurting himself. The next day, Harris decided to tell school administration what happened so that they were aware of the issue, and school officials responded by suspending her for 10 days.
“I was shocked and surprised,” said Rachael Harris, the young girl’s mother. “I was very shocked that a student would get suspended for saving another child. The school system over-reached absolutely.”
The school has suspended the student for 10 days and has allegedly recommended that she be expelled, per their zero tolerance policy. Harris says she felt that she was helping her peer and that she would do it again if she had to.
“I took the razor blade, and then I threw it away immediately. I didn’t carry it around the school. I didn’t use it against anyone. I threw it away,” said Adrionna. “Even if I got in trouble, it didn’t matter because I was helping him. I would do it again even if I got suspended, yes.”
Adrionna’s mother says she believes her daughter did the right thing and is angry that the school reacted the way that they did.
“I felt she did the right thing,” said Rachael Harris. “Under the circumstances, she thought he would bleed out, as he was cutting himself, and there was no teacher in sight. It was a 911 situation, and there wasn’t time to find a teacher.”
The Harris family says that they felt ignored by school officials for days after the suspension, but once they reported their story to the local news, administration finally returned their calls. Adrionna’s suspension hearing is scheduled for today, and the family hopes they will be able to resolve this issue so that she can get back to school.
A two-year-old girl has reportedly been suspended from daycare for three days because she brought in a cheese sandwich.
The girl’s father, Randy Murray, says that he didn’t have enough time to feed his two children breakfast while trying to get them out the door one morning, so he quickly made them each a cheese sandwich so that they could eat in the car on the way to daycare.
Unbeknownst to Murray, his daughter, Faith, decided not to eat the sandwich during the ride to Centre de l'Enfant aux 4 Vente daycare and instead slipped it in her pocket to save for later.
As Murray escorted his children into the daycare facility, a staff member immediately noticed the sandwich sticking out of the toddler’s pocket. The sandwich was promptly confiscated, as the daycare has a strict policy that does not allow outside food. Murray says he completely understands why they took the sandwich away, but he didn’t expect them to suspend the two-year-old for three days.
"I thought they were joking,” recalled Murray of being told his daughter was suspended. “I was like why would I bring one kid home and be home from doing work and everything ... I'd bring them both home and that's the end of that."
The daycare defends its policy, which states that if outside food not containing peanuts is taken into the facility, the child automatically receives a mandatory three-day suspension. If the food actually contains peanuts, however, the child is permanently expelled.
"We need to ensure their well-being and safety,” said Deb Ducharme, director of the daycare. “Most parents are comfortable with our rules because it creates a safe environment for their children.”
Still, Murray says the disciplinary action taken by the school against the innocent two-year-old is over the top.
"I'm speechless,” said Murray. “I wish they had handled it differently. They freaked out. If I got a warning, I'd admit my mistake and move on. But it seems they want to penalize the parents. There's no logic to it. I'm going to the media because I think people have to speak up when something's fishy."
Murray, a graphic artist, is planning to send Faith and her brother, Michael, to another daycare.
The internet is a powerful thing. Words typed in anonymity online – whether intended to be taken seriously or not -- often bite back with real world consequences. Minnesota high school student Reid Sagehorn is finding this out the hard way.
Sagehorn has been suspended for over two months after sending out a tweet claiming to have had sexual relations with a teacher at his school. Sagehorn, a student at Rogers High School, sent out the tweet in response to a rumor on the “Rogers Confessions” page on ask.fm. Ask.fm is a popular social media site in which users – often through a veil of anonymity – ask and answer questions online.
A rumor on the site alleged Sagehorn had sexual contact with a female teacher at his school. In typical high school male bravado, Sagehorn responded to the rumor saying that “Yes, actually” he did have a sexual interaction with the teacher. Sagehorn’s claim spread quickly amongst students and didn’t take long to reach school administrators.
Police interviewed the 28-year-old teacher at the center of the rumor and found that Sagehorn’s claim was false. Rogers High School suspended Sagehorn for two months for making a false claim that had the very real ability to tarnish a teacher’s reputation and ruin her career.
The student body at Rogers High has taken to Sagehorn’s defense. They say his claim was just a joke and that his suspension is an overreaction. What’s worse, the students are directing much of their anger at the teacher involved in the rumor, as if she somehow contributed to Sagehorn’s suspension.
Rogers Police Chief Jeff Beahen spoke to the Star Tribune recently about Sagehorn’s comment and the student body’s protests.
“It’s like screaming ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater or ‘I have a bomb’ on an airplane,” Beahen said. “If you say something on a very public forum, there are consequences. This young, innocent teacher is the victim here…no one seems to care about the teacher … and that’s a sad experience. She’s, frankly, being bullied and harassed by students.”
Elk Area River Schools Superintendent Mark Bezek defended the teacher as well.
“The teacher involved, she did absolutely nothing wrong,” he said. “In the cyberworld, she’s getting crucified. Our staff members wonder: ‘Is this going to happen to me?’”
Police Chief Beahen says that in addition to his suspension, Sagehorn may face criminal charges. Since the teacher would be committing a crime if she had enagaged in sex with Sagehorn, his claim that she did so is a false criminal accusation.
“That’s a crime,” Beahen said.
Sagehorn may face either felony or misdemeanor charges for his comment. For a felony charge, Beahen said, “You have to prove intent, that the accused was fully aware that harm would occur.”
A misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge could apply if prosecutors decide not to pursue the felony charge. Beahen says the county attorney will decide which route to take following an investigation.
Superintendent Bezek says the ordeal serves as a warning to students to take their online conduct seriously. He called the internet a powerful thing that “can also cause so much harm. We’ve just given it to them without the proper training. You don’t let a kid drive a car, shoot guns without the proper training.”
One teen’s controversial suspension at a Texas high school has angered people all over the country after news of it spread like wildfire on social media.
18-year-old Chris Tumax was in lunch at Rudder High School when he suddenly heard his special needs friend yelling behind him. When Tumax turned around, he saw his friend being tormented by some other students.
"I turned around and saw he was being harassed," said Tumax to KBTX. “I told the guys to be quiet and leave him alone.”
Shortly after, Tumax says he was called down to speak with school officials and was told he was being given one day’s suspension. Officials said that they were basing their decision off surveillance video of the incident, and, according to what they could see, Tumax was the aggressor in the situation because he stepped towards the bullies. The school officials made that decision without any context and didn’t even listen to the accounts of other students.
"They had to base it off what they saw in the cameras," said Tumax. "They saw me go forward, and that's the reason I got suspended."
Following Tumax’s suspension, his fellow students took to social media to demand that school officials reverse his suspension.
“Okay BISD, suspending a boy for sticking up for a special needs kid that was being bullied? you have a huge mess to clean up. #FreeTumax,” wrote Twitter user @heartificial.
Superintendent Dr. Thomas Wallis also took to Twitter, but instead of defending Tumax’s actions, Wallis made clear that it was a private matter.
"I appreciate the messages today, I do read them,” tweeted Wallis. “Please remember student discipline issued by a campus is a confidential matter."
An official school statement echoed the same sentiment and reminded people that they could not discuss the matter publicly.
"Individual student discipline is tied to confidential student records," the statement said. "Regardless of the circumstances surrounding any one event, by law the district cannot comment. These privacy boundaries are put in place to protect students and their confidential information."
Tumax says he is not angry with school officials for suspending him, but he does make clear that if he was faced with the same situation again, he would stand up for his bullied friend every time.
"My message is, go out and help somebody," said Tumax. "If you see it, don't hesitate, don't be scared. We're all human, we all need help, and we all have demons that we're fighting with."
According to reports, the suspension will not go on the student’s permanent record.
Ellenville First Aid and Rescue Squad volunteer Stephen Sawyer admits he broke the rules when he transported a 4-year-old who was having seizures to the hospital. That's not the problem — the rules are the problem.
When EMT and squad leader Sawyer received a call on Dec. 11 around 11 a.m. at the Webster Street headquarters about a 4-year-old having seizures, a paramedic was dispatched and a call for an ambulance placed, reports Times Herald-Record.
Finding an available ambulance proved difficult. After 15 minutes, Sawyer decided he could not wait any longer.
Squad rules state that an ambulance driver must be over the age of 21. Sawyer is 20, with experience driving ambulances for Mobile Life. He ignored the squad rule and drove nearly 5 miles, picked up the child and his mother, and the paramedic and got them to Ellenville Regional Hospital without any problems occurring.
That is, until he was awakened later that night by his squad captain asking about the incident.
"I wouldn't have been able to sleep at night or go to school knowing there's a 4-year-old suffering," Sawyer said to Times Herald-Record.
Sawyer was called to appear before Ellenville squad's seven-member board of directors. The board's decision was 4-3 against Sawyer resulting in a 60-day suspension, revoking of his title on the communications committee and his title as advisor from the Youth Squad.
Shocked by the decision, Sawyer grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and immediately tendered his resignation.
Comments are pouring in about the incident on social media channels and they show support for Sawyer while criticizing the board's actions, according to Newsday.
For what it's worth, the decision was reportedly not only dictated by this one incident. It was a "culmination of different incidents" in which he violated policies and bylaws as well as other aspects of the call on Dec. 11, said John Gavaris, a captain and board member for Ellenville First Aid and Rescue Squad. Gavaris would not elaborate further.
A high school student in Duluth, Georgia has been suspended from school for one year after he was caught on surveillance camera hugging a teacher.
17-year-old Sam McNair won’t be able to graduate on time and will be forced to forfeit a full athletic scholarship because of the incident that school officials say violated their sexual harassment policy.
The surveillance video shows McNair walking up behind his teacher, wrapping his arms around her, and hugging her with his head behind her neck. The teacher claims that McNair’s cheeks and lips gently touched the back of her neck and her cheek, but McNair says that’s not true.
"Something so innocent can be perceived as something totally opposite," said McNair.
The school found McNair guilty of violating their sexual harassment code, but McNair’s mother April says that they are a family of “huggers” and what he did was completely innocent. April says that she was never notified of the situation before the school suspended her son and that they shouldn’t have jumped to suspension right off the bat.
"He's a senior. He plays football and was getting ready for lacrosse and you're stripping him of even getting a full scholarship for athletics for college," said April McNair.
Sam McNair says he hugs most of his teachers and thinks being disciplined so harshly for showing someone else affection is wrong.
"You know what someone's going through,” said McNair. “A hug might help,"
The school would apparently not comment on the specific incident, but did say that a lot of factors are taken into consideration when determining how to discipline a student.
Remember the 6-year-old boy who was suspended from school for innocently kissing a female classmate on the hand? After Opposing Views reported on the incident just a couple of days ago, the story spread through the media like wildfire.
People all over appeared to be outraged that a boy as young as Hunter Yelton could have something like sexual harassment placed on his permanent school record for doing something that so many young children do.
Internet user David Conlin commented on a Metro article: “I truly thought this was one of those joke articles, then I realised [sic] the only joke is the school. For the first time in my life, I’m lost for words at such stupidity.”
It should come as no surprise that people even tried to blame it on President Obama. Wall Street Journal writer James Taranto published an article just yesterday calling 6-year-old Yelton the “littlest casualty in the way on men” and went on to describe how President Obama is to blame for all of this, saying that the “buffoons” in the school district are “following orders from Washington.”
With all of the anger that this story brought about, it was just a matter of time before the Colorado school that suspended Yelton for the alleged “sexual harassment” started damage control, and just two days after Opposing Views’ initial report, the school has apparently had a change of heart.
According to a CNN report, the Canon City Schools Superintendent Robin Goody met with Hunter Yelton’s parents last night, after an intense few days of harsh media scrutiny and negative publicity, to tell them that they would be changing the boy’s record to “misconduct” from “sexual harassment.”
This news should make many people around the world happy, but the mother of the young girl that was kissed by Yelton isn’t thrilled. She says that her daughter didn’t want the boy kissing her and that the multiple attempts to do so without her permission caused her daughter distress.
“I’ve had to coach her about what to do when you don’t want someone touching you, but they won't stop,” said Jade Masters-Ownbey, mother of the young girl kissed by Yelton.
Even though Yelton will not have to continue school with the words “sexual harassment” hanging over his head, the story has sparked a much larger debate regarding the standards of discipline in American schools.
A middle school student in Crosby, Texas posted a “kill list” online with the names of a dozen peers, and the parents of the children on the list are saying that the boy won’t face any charges because his father is a Harris County deputy.
“Does that have anything to do with it? If it was another child, would they have taken him in?” asked the mother of one of the targeted children.
“He listed names,” claimed another mother. “My son was one of them. [He said] that he wanted to hurt them and by hurt, he meant kill. I don’t want him to be back on campus with my kid or any other kid. He’s a danger to himself and other students.”
The Harris County District Attorney’s office chose not to press charges against the 13-year-old boy, saying that a thorough investigation was done to look into the matter and it was determined that the facts of the case led them to the decision. Harris County Precinct 3 maintains that the boy’s father had nothing to do with the decision.
The “kill list” was discovered after an online conversation between the boy and a female classmate on Facebook circulated.
The boy is currently suspended from school, and parents of the targeted children say they aren’t sure when or even if he will return.