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School under fire after PTSA offers students ‘front of lunch line’ passes for $100

Students and parents in Lakeland, Florida, were gearing up for another school year when they received a letter from Lawton Chiles Middle Academy saying that for $100, students would be able to skip the lunch line. Some parents were outraged at the letter and felt that it was promoting elitism.

>> Watch the news report here

The letter asked for donations from the families, but the school claims that it was a mistake and never meant to be sent out. Principal Brian Andrews told WBRC, “Nobody’s a second-class citizen here. ... This definitely hits home for me, and I am very upset about it.”

>> Read more trending news

The Parent Teacher Student Association took the blame for the letter, saying that it was a “clerical error” and that no such program will be implemented this school year. They claimed that the piece was accidentally put in the orientation packets and noted that Andrews never signed off on the documents. In a statement to WFTS, the PTSA wrote:

>> Read more Floridoh! stories 

"This Family and Business Sponsorship program was explored but we decided not to implement. Due to a clerical error, the form was inadvertently included in the Orientation packets. Our families have been notified this program is not being offered."

According to the its Facebook page, Lawton Chiles Middle Academy is a public school.

Not ready for kids? New at-home fertility test gives women better data on eggs, fertility timeline 

Afton Vechery, formerly of 23AndMe, and Carly Leahy, former executive at Uber, want to make women’s reproductive data accessible, affordable and simpler to comprehend.

» RELATED: Mid-life mothering: risky or rewarding? 

Their new venture Modern Fertility, which launched Wednesday, is the first comprehensive at-home fertility test focused on giving women the most accurate data about their reproductive timeline.

» RELATED: 72-year-old woman gives birth to her first child 

Its main target is young women who want a family someday, but not necessarily anytime soon, a trend that has increased among young women over the past few decades.

>> Read more trending news

In fact, according to the Census, in 1976, 68 percent of 29-year-old women had a child. In 2016, only 40 percent did.

And between 2006 and 2010, 7.4 million women (11.9 percent) said they received infertility services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Survey of Family Growth.

» RELATED: Woman, 59, who tried for decades to get pregnant gives birth 

“As we get older, fertility becomes a giant egg-shaped question mark. One second we’re preventing pregnancy and the next second, we’re panicking. It’s an abrupt shift and there’s virtually no information in between,” the Modern Fertility co-founders wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

» RELATED: US teen birth rates just hit an all-time low, CDC says

And the doctors they consulted in their research said women usually wait too long to freeze their eggs.

Both women view this lack of information and of accessibility as a public health issue, Vechery told Forbes.

“Every woman should have this information,” she said.

The new at-home kit features the same laboratory tests available at fertility clinics, but at a better price.

» RELATED: Mobile app designed to prevent pregnancy approved in Europe

According to TechCrunch, comparable kits are priced at more than double Modern Fertility’s pre-order price of $149. For example, Future Family’s kits are about $600 and Everlywell, $400.

After losing son, 'American Ninja Warrior' contestant and wife adopt sick baby from same hospital

A family is sharing their story of heartbreak and joy after losing one son and gaining another.

>> Watch the news report here

Katie and Josh Butler of Nashville, Tennessee, welcomed baby boy Dewey in May 2015. He was born with a rare genetic disorder and lived for only 100 days.

The couple told WLBT that it was a devastating time, but the experience of caring for Dewey perfectly prepared them to care for a baby they later adopted from the same hospital.

After Dewey’s death, a nurse told them about another baby at the hospital who had similar medical issues as Dewey, the “Today” show reports. The nurse said the baby’s family abandoned him.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Katie and Josh fostered and adopted the baby boy, Braxtel. He’s now 2 years old. He relies on a breathing tube to get enough oxygen and communicates with his parents through sign language.

“Caring for Brax has not in any way replaced our loss of Dewey,” Josh told “Today.” “Rather, Braxtel has given us a reason to keep fighting and to keep loving. It would be so easy to lose hope and to be depressed. Even though we tend toward selfishness, Braxtel helps us to remember that our lives are not about us first but putting others first.”

>> Read more trending news

Josh competed on “American Ninja Warrior," where people fell in love with the family’s story.

“Through sharing our story on 'ANW,' we want others to know that there is a purpose to your life, that God has a purpose for you, in the good and especially the bad,” Josh said.

Parents of 4th graders: Here’s how to get free entry to any national park this month

Trekking through some of the country’s most beautiful terrain just got cheaper. 

>> Read more trending news 

Thanks to the Department of the Interior’s Every Kid in a Park program, fourth-grade students can enter any of more than 2,000 of the nation’s national parks and other federally managed lands and waters for free for one year. 

Fourth-grade students can sign up for the free pass, valid until Aug. 31, at everykidinapark.gov.  

The first three members in a group with a visiting fourth-grader will be granted free entry as well at sites that charge per person. For those that grant payment and entry by car, any accompanying passengers in a private, non-commercial vehicle with a fourth-grader will be allowed to enter at no charge. 

>> Related: Most moms work equivalent of 2 full-time jobs, study says

Educators can also obtain free passes. 

>> Related: Seniors: Get your $10 lifetime pass for National Parks now before price hike

The Every Kid in a Park program encourages children to be active and explore nature at a time when more than 80 percent of American families live in urban areas and young people are more tethered to electronic devices than ever.

According to the program, the goal of the promotion is to “inspire fourth graders nationwide to visit our federal lands and waters, whether it is a backyard city park or a national forest, seashore, or marine sanctuary. By targeting fourth graders year after year, the program works to ensure every child in the U.S. has the opportunity to visit and enjoy their federal lands and waters by the time he or she is 11 years old.”

Learn more and get a pass at everykidinapark.gov

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story reported that the pass was valid from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, 2018. It is valid Sept. 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2017.

Most moms work equivalent of 2 full-time jobs, study says

The joys of parenting are immeasurable, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tiring. 

>> Read more trending news 

A new report confirms what many already know to be true: parenting is a full-time job. 

And for many women, juggling a family and a professional occupation is almost the equivalent of working two full-time jobs. According to Working Mother, the average working mother works 98 hours a week.

Working Mother, citing a report by Welch’s, reported that the average working mother clocks about 14 hours per day -- starting her day at 6:23 a.m. and finishing work or family duties around 8:31 p.m.

The report was compiled using information collected from 2,000 American women with children between the ages of ages 5 and 12.

Working Mother reported that four in 10 mothers surveyed said they feel like their lives are a never-ending series of tasks all week.

According to Yahoo News, the average mother surveyed said she gets one hour and seven minutes of alone time each day. 

“The results of the survey highlight just how demanding the role of mom can be and the non-stop barrage of tasks it consists of,” Casey Lewis, MS, RD and Health & Nutrition Lead at Welch’s, told Yahoo News. “Anything that can be done to make mom’s life a little bit easier can make all the difference.”

According to Working Mother, mothers who participated in the survey cited baby wipes/wet wipes, children’s television shows, tablets, drive-thru meals and Netflix as top lifesaving must-haves. Helpful grandparents, a reliable babysitter and wine also made the top 20 list. 

Read more at Working Mother and Yahoo News.

Military dad surprises daughter with unexpected homecoming at zoo

A military dad’s surprise homecoming at a dolphin show is melting hearts across the country.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“Everything else disappeared when I saw her,” U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Joshua Flury told WLS.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Military mom hides pregnancy, surprises dad when he gets home 

Flury told his wife he’d be coming home within the week, and together they came up with a plan to surprise their 12-year-old daughter, Kristi.

>> Watch the clip here

His wife, April Flury, worked with the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois to coordinate the big surprise.

>> Read more trending news

Kristi thought it was just going to be her and her mom at the zoo earlier this month, but as she and her mom waited for the dolphin show to begin, she was shocked to hear an announcer welcome her dad home.

Kristi leaped into his arms as he emerged from his hiding place backstage.

Read more here.

Must-see: Mom's hilarious 'first day of school' photo goes viral

School's back in session, and nobody is happier than this Alabama mom.

>> Watch the news report here

According to WTVM, Jena Willingham's children – Wrangler, Emmy and Sykes – headed back to Beulah Elementary School in Valley on Monday. Willingham celebrated the occasion by sharing a photo of herself lounging in the pool, drink in hand, as her kids, clad in school attire, look on.

>> See the photo here

"Happy First Day of School everyone!" reads the now-viral post, which has been shared more than 9,000 times on Facebook.

>> Read more trending news

WTVM reported that Willingham said "her children have been arguing all summer, and she told them she was counting down the days until school starts so that she could have a pool day."

Read more here.

Boy saves baby sister during massive house fire, becomes honorary firefighter

An 8-year-old boy is being called a hero after saving his baby sister during a fire.

>> Watch the news report here

Harrison Holt was awarded the title of honorary firefighter by the Milan-Dummer Fire Department in New Hampshire for his quick thinking as his home went up in flames last month.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Dad John Holt had just finished mowing the lawn when he noticed smoke coming from the home’s attached shed, according to WMUR.

>> On HotTopics.TV: North Carolina girl honored by police after pulling unconscious cousin out of pool

Holt grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran to the shed.

“By the time I got down there, it was fairly out of control already,” said Holt.

Harrison quickly dialed 911 and got his sister out of the house.

“Harry has her in one arm and the phone in the other, just chatting to 911,” Holt said.

>> Read more trending news

The fire destroyed the home, WMUR reported.

The family had recently practiced a fire safety drill.

“Exit drills in the home, use smoke detectors, practice it, make sure the children are familiar with it,” said Fire Chief Bud Chapman.

Kind stranger helps mother flying alone with crying kids when no one else would

One stranger's act of kindness is showing others around the world what a little compassion can mean to someone.

While aboard a plane, Kesha Bernard of Savannah, Georgia, offered to help a fellow mother when two of her three children started crying and screaming before takeoff. The Alaska Airlines flight was delayed due to weight issues.

While Bernard waited for others who were closer to help, she noticed that instead many were "huffing and puffing."

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“Toddlers cry,” Bernard said. “You could be the most disciplined mother on the planet, and this could happen to you.”

After waiting for about 15 minutes, Bernard got up out of her seat and went a few rows back to ask the mother if she needed help.

Bernard told WSB-TV’s Kimberly Richardson the woman looked at her with complete longing and was beyond appreciative.

The mother said yes, and handed her one of her three children.

>> Read more trending news

As Bernard walked back to her seat, she says the baby immediately stopped crying, and eventually fell asleep in her arms.

The moral of the story? “Be nice and considerate,” Bernard said. “If someone needs help, for God's sake help them.”

The message, which has over 221,000 likes and almost 100,000 shares, concluded with: “How can we ignore a human in distress? Please be kind. Please be considerate. Help one another. It makes everything easier. I promise you won’t die.”

>> See the post here

Procter & Gamble’s new ad ‘The Talk’ tackles racial bias

Procter & Gamble has, in the past, worked to used commercials to not only advertise its brands, but to bring greater awareness to bias that exists in many forms.

>> Read more trending news

The Cincinnati-based company’s latest effort, “The Talk,” is no exception.

2-minute version of the commercial depicts “the inevitable conversations many black parents have with their children about racial bias to prepare, protect and encourage them,” according to the company.

“Listen,” a mother says assuringly to her son on the front porch of their rural home. “It’s an ugly, nasty word and you are gonna hear it. Nothing I can do about that, but you are not going to let that word hurt you.”

Another mother sending her daughter off to camp gently reminds her, “Remember. You can do anything that they can. Difference is you’ve got to work twice as hard and be twice as smart.”

A teen son is warned by his mother to bring his ID just “in case they stop you.” And a woman advises her adult daughter about what to do when she gets pulled over.

“This is not about you getting a ticket,” the mother says. “This is about you coming home.”

In a scene toward the end that ties back to the video’s start, a mother tells her young daughter that being told by a woman at a store that she was “pretty for a black girl” was not a compliment and reminds her “You are beautiful, period. OK? Don’t ever forget that.”

The commercial wraps up with the words “Let’s talk about ‘The Talk’ so we can end the need to have it,” followed by the P&G logo and its “My Black is Beautiful” trademark.

“These depictions of ‘The Talk’ illustrate that while times have changed, racial bias still exists,” the company said in a post to its website.

P&G is doing its best “to ensure others see the world we too want for our daughters and sons,” according to the company.

“As a corporate citizen we have a unique opportunity, and a responsibility, to use our voice and our resources for good,” reads the post. “Through our brands, we can bring greater awareness to bias that exists in many forms, sparking conversations that motivate change, creating new expectations for people to live up to, and ultimately helping to create more equal opportunities for all.

“A more equal world is good for us, our consumers and our community.”

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