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When Background Checks Fail.

Background-Fingerprint-ROHWe have talked about background checks as requirements for school volunteers before. While it seems like a great idea, the fact of the matter is that past behavior is not a prediction of the future.

Furthermore, while parents and volunteers pay to have background checks to participate in their own child’s classroom and activities, background checks do not catch teachers who have nefarious intent and actions on their mind.

For example, take the case of Symone Greene, a 22 year old certified teacher who performed a sex act on a 17 year old the first day of her working as a teacher at a Washington, DC charter school.

THE FIRST DAY!

A 22-year-old substitute teacher at a D.C. charter school for at-risk youth was arrested Tuesday and charged with having oral sex with a student football player behind the teacher’s classroom desk, according to police and court documents.

The 17-year-old 11th-grader at Options Public Charter School secretly recorded part of the encounter Friday afternoon, which police said happened at the end of an English class in Room 266 while other students and faculty members were at a pep rally to cheer on the Options Panthers before a game against Perry Street Prep. Police said the student showed the video to five of his football teammates and a childhood friend.

The student and teacher then texted each other throughout the weekend, and the teacher sent him a clothed picture of herself while urging the student to “chill” because she could get in trouble for the relationship, police said.

When the police began to question Greene, she quickly texted the alleged victim and then blamed him for not keeping his mouth shut. (The irony of her not keeping her mouth shut and her hands off the student’s zipper is not lost on us.)
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More Stupidity From Educators.

Mobile-Schools-Crayons-ROHEach time we read something ridiculous happening in a public school, we keep thinking “it can’t get any worse than this.”

Each time we have been wrong and find that yes, the idiocy in some schools knows no bounds.

For our latest adventure, we head up to E.R. Dickson Elementary School in the Mobile County, Alabama School District where a five year old was forced to sign a “Mobile County Public Safety Contract” after a little girl drew what appeared to be a gun in class and then pointed a crayon at a classmate and said “pew pew.”

5-year-old Elizabeth was sent home after school officials made her take a questionnaire to evaluating her for suicidal thoughts, then had her sign the safety contract promising to contact an adult if she was thinking of suicide or homicide. This all happened while her mom waited in the lobby to pick her up, the upset parent told WPMI.

According to her mom, Elizabeth didn’t know most of the words on the contract she signed. “Suicide,” in particular, was a new one for her.

“Mommy, daddy, what is suicide?” Elizabeth’s mother [Rebecca] says she asked.

It gets worse.

My child interrupted us and said, ‘What is suicide mommy? Daddy what is suicide?” said Rebecca. “As a parent that’s not right. I’m the one should be able to talk to my child and not have someone else mention words like this in front of her at all.”

Rebecca is pushing to have the incident removed from her child’s record. She said school officials have requested Elizabeth see a psychiatrist.

She believes that is unnecessary.

For their part, the school district said they would look into the incident and the policy.
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Trust And The School Tax.

Brevard-Public-Schools-Chalkboard-ROHOne of the more contentious and discussed items for the upcoming election is the vote by Brevard County voters on increasing the sales tax by 1/2 a percent. The additional money would go to schools and be applied to various projects.

Here is the text of the referendum:

SCHOOL BOARD REFERENDUM

One-Half Cent Sales Surtax for Critical School Facilities Renewal, School Security and Technology Upgrades.

Would you support the School Board levying a one-half cent surtax on sales in Brevard County beginning 1/1/15, for a period of six years, to be used exclusively for critical school facility renewal projects, school security and technology upgrades? A needs based prioritized list of projects has been published and expenditures will be monitored by an independent citizen oversight committee.

In a faery tale world where everything was perfect and people could be trusted, this would be a no brainer. Who doesn’t want the schools to be the best they can be? Who doesn’t want kids to be taught in schools that are well maintained? Who doesn’t want to believe that the money raised from this tax increase will be used to prevent and solve issues?

In that perfect world, everyone would stand, shout and agree “it’s for the kids.”

But this is not a perfect world and there are many questions to be raised about this sales tax increase.

THE HISTORY:
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Representative Advocates Ignoring State Constitution.

Rep-Joe-Salazar-Idiot-ROH There is no nice way of putting this: Colorado State Representative Joe Salazar is an idiot.

Sorry Joe, but you are.

Salazar’s previous claim to the Mount Rushmore of Stupidity was a comment that Salazar made during a debate on whether college campuses in Colorado should allow guns on campus in part to help women protect themselves when threatened with assault or rape.

Salazar was against the proposal and said:

It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at,” Salazar said during the debate. “And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you

around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.”

In Salazar’s mind, a woman does not know when they are about to be attacked or are being attacked.

It’s all an illusion to the woman so instead of relying on herself for her safety, she should rely on others.

(Why is it that liberals hate the idea or people being responsible for their own safety and not relying on others? (That’s a rhetorical question as we know that liberals want people to be dependent and not independent on the government.))

Salazar later apologized and claimed the quote was taken out of context but the sentiments were not.

Salazar has now entered back into the fray where he is about to propose a bill in the Colorado legislature that would de-fund public schools whose mascots have native American names or imagery unless approved by Native Americans.
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More Educational Stupidity.

Agusta-Chapstick-ROHAn elementary school student at Stuarts Draft Elementary School in the Augusta (VA) School District has a small medical problem – her lips chap to the point where they will bleed.

There is a solution to fifth grader’s Grace Karaffa problem: ChapStick.

Yep. That simple lip balm that millions of people carry around on a daily basis to help with their dry, chapped lips.

One would think that Grace would be able to carry ChapStick with her.

One would be wrong.

The Agusta School District has a policy that classifies ChapStick as an “over the counter medication.” The policy states that if Grace needs the Chap Stick, all she has to do is get a doctor’s permission slip for its use. After that….

“Our policy is not to be so restrictive. It is really a protection for the students,” he said. As with other medications, kids can get their doctors to permit nurses to apply Chapstick in the office, or parents can come in to administer it themselves,” [assistant superintendent for administration said George] Earhart said. (emphasis ours)

The school district’s press release on this says, in part, the following:
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Principal Redefines “Tolerance” And “Diversity.”

Chick-Fil-A-Diversity-ROH Imagine that you are part of an athletic booster club who is looking to raise money to support athletics at your local high school. You find a local business that is willing to donate 200 meals that you can sell in order to help raise money.

The amount of money raised? About $1600.

Great deal, eh?

Not according to Ventura High School Principal Val Wyatt.

Back in 2012, the CEO of Chick-Fil-A gave an interview to the Baptist Press and was asked about his stance on traditional marriage.

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

The backlash from his statement was swift and immediate. People called for the removal of Chick-Fil-A’s from college campuses. The mayor of Boston said he would block any Chick-Fil-A from opening in the city. Even the Muppets said they would no longer partner with Chick-Fil-A on anything such as toy give-aways.
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You Can’t Have That Here.

Confederate-Flag-Grunge-Wall-ROHA student at Glenelg High School in Harford County, Maryland has been disciplined for displaying a Confederate flag at a high school football game.

(Our information on this story is a little unclear, but we are going to assume that the student displayed the “Confederate battle flag” and not the “flag of the Confederate States of America.”)

Ah yes. The intolerance of intolerance raises its ugly head.

In Tinker v. Des Moines School District, the Supreme Court ruled that school administrations had the right to limit speech which may “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”

While we are not sure that a football game is a place for academics, we can understand the school not wanting the flag to be displayed.

In 2007, the Supreme Court decided a case where the school may have been given more justification for removing the flag. The case is Morse v. Frederick and concerned a student who was attending a school sponsored event and who held up a sign that read “Bong Hits for Jesus.” The student was told to lower the sign and he refused. The student was then disciplined for his actions. The school argued that the sign advocated illegal drug use and the Supreme Court agreed that the school had a legitimate interest in restricting speech and signs that advocated illegal activities.

The Tinker case and the Morse case join together to make a fairly powerful statement that a school administration can restrict speech that may reasonable be seen to cause a disruption at school events. We agree that the Confederate Battle flag may be a symbol or speech that would cause a disruption at a school event such as a football game.

We do not have an issue with the school demanding the student take the flag down and not display it.

We do have an issue with the student being disciplined for displaying the flag to begin with.

Howard County School Superintendent Renee Foose said the incident was a “teachable moment.”
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Of Candy Canes And Football Helmets.

Candy-Cane-Holly-ROHLast December, first grade student Isaiah Martinez took candy canes to give as gifts to his classmates at Merced Elementary in the West Covina Unified School District (CA).

Isaiah seems to have been fascinated by the “legend of the candy cane” and printed a card that he attached to each candy cane. The card read:

A candy maker wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the CHRISTmas Candy Cane to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White, to symbolize the Virgin Birth, the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The candy maker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our savior. It also represents the staff of the “Good Shepherd” with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

The candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used the three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Jesus on the Cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life, if only we put our faith and trust in Him.

Unfortunately, the candy became known as a Candy Cane — a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for those who “have eyes to see and ears to hear”.

I pray that this symbol will again be used to witness to the Wonder of Jesus and His Great Love that came down at Christmas and remains the ultimate and dominant force in the universe today.

When Isaiah turned in his candy canes for the Christmas party, his teacher noticed the card attached to the candy canes. The teacher took possession of the candy canes and proceeded to confer with the school principal.

Advocates for Faith & Freedom,” a group who represents Isaiah and his family, describes what happened next:

On approximately December 18, 2013 [Isaiah's teacher] Ms. Lu spoke to [school principal] Mr. Pfitzer who instructed Ms. Lu that Isaiah was not permitted to distribute his Christmas gift because it contained a religious message. Ms. Lu then spoke to Isaiah and told him that “Jesus is not allowed at school.” In fear that he was in some sort of trouble, Isaiah then watched as Ms. Lu proceeded to rip the candy cane legend off of each candy cane and then throw the Christian messages back in to the box. He then watched as the box and messages were thrown into the trash by Ms. Lu. She then told Isaiah that he could distribute the candy canes now that the Christian messages were eliminated. (emphasis ours)

Isaiah’s 21 year old sister talked with her brother and then got involved.
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