This is a case which is more of a “two-fer” – a activist teacher who is a bully and a school and school district that are completely, totally and utterly ignorant or stupid and most likely both.
The story begins with a student attending Riverview High School in Hillsborough County, FL, made an “egregious” error in a math class taught by one Lora Jane Riedas:
One of our student clients reports that she had just sat down in class, and placed her books on her desk, when Ms. Riedas approached her. Referencing the tiny cross necklace which was around the student’s neck, Ms. Riedas said, “I need you to take your necklace off.” Our client asked “Why?” and Ms. Riedas refused to explain, stating “That’s disrespectful; you have to take it off.”
The cross in question is shown above and measures less than an inch.
The student acquiesced to the Riedas’ ridiculous and unConstitional demand, but when she told her parents, they investigated and found other children who had been subjected Riedes’ bullying by being told to remove religious jewelry. The parents did the smart thing and reached out to the Liberty Counsel for legal representation.
Liberty Counsel took the case and sent a demand letter (seen below) to the Hillsborough School Superintendent, one Jeff Eakins. The letter states the reason the teacher has banned the wearing of religious jewelry:
Ms. Riedas has prohibited at least three children from wearing Christian cross necklaces in her classroom, claiming on occasion that they are “gang symbols.”
This is the type of thinking and reasoning that a teacher has in a high school?
Of course, the question would be “if they are ‘gang symbols,’ to what ‘gang’ the symbols belong?”
She was on a field trip outside the school building when she and other students got a Tweet from her Civics teacher. The Tweet was to spur thought about the low voter turnout in the City Election – saying only 10 percent of Revere ended up voting, and what the students thought about that. (Turnout was actually about 41 percent in the last City Election, rather than 10 percent).
Godino Tweeted back, “10 percent of Revere voted because the others are not legal.”
Godino said it wasn’t meant to hurt anyone. School officials have said they don’t believe she had any ill intentions, either.
However, the Tweet took off and people began to send messages back saying it wasn’t right. She immediately realized she had probably made a mistake, and deleted the Tweet.
The school was not happy with the tweet. Neither were some of the students who threatened Godino.
One person said they were going to wait for the bus to come back to the field trip; some soccer players said they were going to get their [slur deleted] crew and come for her; others said slurs about white people in Spanish and English.
“Reverse racism is not real,” read one Tweet.
“Is it possible to be racist to a white person?” read another.
The school initially said Godino’s speech was protected by the First Amendment, but the next day reversed course and told Godino she was suspended from all social activities at the school for the remainder of the year. That meant no more cheerleading, no dances, no prom, no Senior Night, no anything.
Alan Holmes attends Dexter McCarthy Middle School in Gresham, Oregon. Holmes also has a brother serving in the US military.
To show his support for his brother, the military and to recognize the ultimate sacrifice the men and women in this country make to insure our freedoms, Alan wore what many would say is a patriotic, thought provoking t-shirt which reads:
“He chose to come home and I’m proud of that,” Alan’s mother Connie said.
The school district provided the following statement in response to the incident:
I cannot comment on a specific situation due to student confidentiality requirements. We have a policy on student dress and grooming. Weapons on a shirt are not appropriate in a school setting.
However, as news station KOIN Channel 6 notes, there is no regulation in the student handbook saying a student cannot wear a t-shirt with a gun on it. (That is assuming that the image depicts a gun, rather than a temporary grave marker.) (more…)
Editor’s Note: This story contains anguage which some may find objectionable and NSFW. Omitting the language removes a key element of the article and so we have chosen to use the language.
The University of Mary Washington is a liberal arts college located in Fredericksburg, Virginia whose slogan is “where great minds go to work.” From what we can discern, those “great minds” are like a 1965 Mustang with a slipping clutch – you may say you’re great, but you aren’t going anywhere fast.
The story begins in November 2014 at an off campus house rented by two players on the University student / “club” rugby team (Mother’s Rugby Club) and a female student. By all accounts, a few dozen men and women were there including eight of the 46 members of the rugby team as the rest of the team was in Maryland playing. There is no indication that the party was an “official” rugby team party that was sanctioned by the team itself. The party was loud and raucous partly in celebration of a win by the team. People at the party began to chant a version of a 1920’s song “Walking Down Canal Street.” The lyrics at the party went like this:
Via Politico’s Pontifications and The Fire comes the story of George “Trey” Barnett, a student with 16 credit hours left before getting his degree at the University of Tulsa.
The University has kicked Barnett out of school for someone elses posts on Facebook.
TULSA, Okla., February 12, 2015—In a triple blow to free speech, due process, and freedom of the press, the University of Tulsa (TU) arbitrarily banned a student from campus until 2016 for Facebook posts that someone else admitted to writing and then attempted to intimidate student journalists who were trying to cover the story.
Even if Barnett returns to school in 2016, the school will not allow him to finish his degree in his chosen major and will not accept transfers of credits from other colleges.
The story starts when Barnett’s then fiance (now husband) Christopher Mangum posted several posts on Mangum’s Facebook page criticizing two professors at Tulsa as “unprofessional, immoral and unqualified.” In addition, the posts made a reference to a student who was “morbidly obese.” The posts appeared on Mangum’s page but because Barnett was “tagged” on the posts, they were visible on Barnett’s page as well. Magnum wrote an affidavit saying that he and he alone was responsible for the posts.
However, the University disagreed saying Barnett’s defense of “Chris did it” didn’t fly. Barnett was kicked out of school without a hearing.
In its decision, the university said that after Barnett was told to remove the posts from his Facebook page, he was then responsible for them. The first of the statements — posted in April — stayed on his page for five months, but all three were deleted by October.
“Mr. Barnett became responsible for taking reasonable steps to prevent further attacks against the University of Tulsa faculty and students on his Facebook page,” the decision reads, adding that the three people targeted by the posts “expressed great distress, intimidation and dread at the mere thought of working alongside” him.
Each 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. (more…)
An 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)
Last 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.
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. (more…)