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Trump administration withdraws Obama guidance on transgender students' rights

On Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump's administration officially withdrew guidance on transgender students' rights rolled out by former President Barack Obama's administration. The move came after days of speculation.

>> Read more trending news

Under the Obama administration’s Department of Education and Department of Justice, public schools across the country were ordered to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room that aligned with their gender identity rather than their sex at birth, citing Title IX.

The “dear colleague” letter from the Trump administration does not set forth any new guidance but rather rolls back the previous instructions, insisting that they did not “contain extensive legal analysis or explain how the position is consistent with the express language of Title IX, nor did they undergo any formal public process.”

>> See the letters here

Here are the Trump administration letters formally revoking federal protections for transgender students pic.twitter.com/yS28eEhLtx— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 23, 2017

The Trump administration argued that the federal government has a responsibility to enforce the law and that the Obama administration’s protections lacked sufficient legal basis. The Department of Justice and Department of Education wrote that there must be “due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy” and that this is an issue that would be better solved at the state and local levels so communities and families can determine what best meets their needs.

While the memo offers no specific instructions on how schools should deal with the issue, it did add that “schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

Teachers on leave after mocking students skipping for 'Day Without Immigrants'

When students decided to skip school to join the nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” protest against President Donald Trump's immigration policies, six Southern California teachers apparently joked on social media about how pleasant their days were without the missing pupils.

Those teachers, who work at Rubidoux High School in California’s Inland Empire School District, are on paid leave.

>> Read more trending news

It all started with a Facebook post by teacher Geoffrey Greer, who reportedly wrote:

"As for the school system, having my class size reduced by 50% all day long only served to SUPPORT Trump’s initiatives and prove how much better things might be without all this overcrowding.

"That’s what you get when you jump on some sort of bandwagon cause as an excuse to be lazy and/or get drunk. Best school day ever."

Greer quickly was blasted for his comments, and he deleted the post. However, a student was able to preserve it with a screenshot.

>> See the post here

It may be gone now but ladies and gentlemen l I present  to you our beloved teachers from Rubidoux high school     .My...Posted by Guadalupe Lopez on Thursday, February 16, 2017

Other teachers at the school replied to Greer’s post, according to the Riverside Press Enterprise. The teachers agreed on what a nice day it was.

Eighty percent of the school district’s students are Latino or Hispanic.

One teacher, Robin Riggle, noted that she had 50 absences. Greer offered this reply: “Yup. And I bet your class went a whole lot more smoothly as well.”

Riggle answered back: “Yes, it was a very pleasant day.”

>> See the post here

Posted by Guadalupe Lopez on Thursday, February 16, 2017

The school district’s superintendent, Robert Garcia, said he was disappointed by the teachers’ remarks, according to the Washington Post.

“I am aware of and deeply understand the fears and concerns of our students,” Garcia said in a statement. “I am calling on members of our community to come together to assure that our schools remain safe and our student’s voices are heard.”

Rubidoux High School’s principal, Jose Luis Araux, posted a video to YouTube addressing the situation, in which he made clear that the views of the suspended teachers did not reflect those of the rest of the staff. He promised an investigation into the incident and said he had faith in the intelligence and capabilities of the students.

>> Click here to watch the video

Some students skipped another day of school to protest the teachers' comments.

>> Check it out here

Students march at Mission & Camino Real in Jurupa Valley as it starts to rain pic.twitter.com/KpP3cl78wP— Alicia Robinson (@arobinson_pe) February 17, 2017

The story even got the attention of Univision:

Rubidoux High School being spoken about on @UniNoticias. Gracias @Galoecuador para compartir estes noticias. pic.twitter.com/hOAvICQbpy— Marina (@oxminaox) February 17, 2017

According to the Press Enterprise, Greer issued an apology on Facebook: “While I stand by my assertion that skipping school is no way to demonstrate one’s value to society, I do apologize for the harsh tone and hurtful structure of the previous message. I hadn’t meant for it to come across as quite so scathing.”

Police department helps girl solve math problem during homework emergency

A girl got the homework help she needed when facing a math emergency thanks to her local police department.

A series of photos shared by the Marion, Ohio, Police Department Facebook page shows a message a fifth-grade student sent the department, asking for help solving a math problem. The girl’s mother, Molly Draper, originally shared the images online.

>> See the post here

My daughter. Cause...  She's my daughter.Posted by Molly Draper on Friday, February 17, 2017

Here’s a transcript of the conversation:

Student: I’m having trouble with my homework. Could you help me?

Police department: What’s up?

Student: Well I don’t understand (8+29) x 15

Police department: Do the numbers in the parentheses first so in essence it would be 37 x 15

Student: OK, now if I had this (90+27) + (29+15) x 2

Police department: Take the answer from the first parentheses plus the answer from the second parentheses and multiply that answer times two. Work left to right doing the work inside the parentheses first.

While the police department wasn’t entirely right on the second question (remember the order of operations!), people on social media were touched by officers' willingness to help.

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

“That y’all took the time to help is wonderful. I love positive stories about police. Thank you!!” wrote Facebook user Lili Michaela Schaumburg.

“Love, love, love this a thousand times over. So proud that our MPD is doing amazing things for our community. This is what it’s all about! Thank you Marion Police Department!” wrote Sarah Mae.

>> Read more trending news

Draper said she was touched by the department’s act of service toward her daughter.

“Thank you, Marion, Ohio, Police Department, for truly building relationships with the community,” Draper wrote.

Police department halts high five program with students after parent concerns

Students in Northampton, Massachusetts, used to begin Friday mornings with high fives and fist bumps from local police officers, but because of concerns from parents that program has been halted.

>> Read more trending stories  

The “High Five Friday” program aimed to bring uniformed police officers to the city’s elementary schools on Fridays to welcome students to school. The idea for the program began after a law enforcement conference in San Diego, in which High Five Fridays were promoted as a way for officers to engage with young people, the Northampton Police Department wrote in a Facebook post.  

Today we started "High-5 Friday". Leeds School hosted week 1. Officers and kids had a great time! #northamptonma #high-5 pic.twitter.com/u3P7MfeZwM— Northampton Police (@NorthamptonPD) December 2, 2016

Northampton police said they received a lot of support for the program from the public, but there were also concerns.

During a school committee meeting, concerns were raised that not all children would feel comfortable with a police presence at the beginning of the school day.

"Others questioned the long-term impacts of the program and wondered if it was truly valuable," the department wrote in a post.

After the meeting, police were asked to pause the program, and they did.

Police attended a follow-up meeting with members of the public to discuss High Five Friday again. Concerns were shared that some students "might respond negatively to a group of uniformed officers at their school."

"People were specifically concerned about kids of color, undocumented children or any children who may have had negative experiences with the police," the post said.

Northampton police made the decision to end the program after that meeting.

In the Facebook post, Northampton police said it will continue to explore ways to connect more with young people and will still accept high fives and fist bumps from anyone who asks an officer on the street.

We are aware that there is an article circulating through social media related to NPD’s High Five Friday program.  There...Posted by Northampton Police Department on Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mother outraged after teacher gives son 'crystal meth assignment'

A drama teacher's controversial class assignment has stirred up anger among parents in Canada.Delight Greenidge told the CBC that she was shocked when she saw the drama class assignment given to her 13-year-old son. In order to portray a drug addict, Erin Mills Middle School students were given a handout on how to make and inject crystal meth. 

>> Read more trending stories 

The teacher instructed students to "act scared" when pretending to make the drug, but "act happy" when pretending to inject the drug, according to Greenidge's son.After Greenidge reported the incident to school officials, the teacher was suspended with pay. An investigation is ongoing. 

Florida teacher's license suspended after allegedly pulling chairs from under students

A Florida teacher won’t be in the classroom any time soon after the state suspended her license.

>> Read more trending stories  

The Florida Education Commission suspended the teaching license of Robin Welch Kennedy for one year.

Immediately after the suspension, she was terminated by Duval County Public Schools.

Kennedy is accused of pulling the chairs out from underneath her third-grade students when she taught at Neptune Beach Elementary School in 2013.

A final report from the state says that another teacher saw Kennedy tip a student out of his chair.

The teacher asked her if the student had fallen, and Kennedy replied: “With a little help.”

The report also says the teacher saw it happen again to another student on the same day.

Students were transferred to other third-grade classes because of what happened, the report said.

In 2014, WJAX reported that Kennedy was suspended by Duval County Public Schools for 15 days without pay but then returned to the classroom.

Even then, parents were upset because of her conduct inside and outside the classroom. Kennedy had been arrested for DUI and battery.

The district told WJAX that she had been an employee since 2006.

Kennedy was not working at Neptune Beach Elementary School when she was suspended, but at another school.

“I’m displeased that it took that long for her to actually get her license suspended,” said parent Roger Hurley.

During the state’s final hearing, the report says Kennedy denied ever doing anything intentionally that could injure a student.

Mother says substitute teacher shamed daughter battling cancer

The mother of a 5-year-old girl said her daughter was shamed by a substitute teacher at a Canonsburg-McMillian School District elementary school.

MaKayla Welsh was diagnosed with leukemia nearly two years ago and is in remission now, though her hair has started falling out from chemotherapy.

“It did bother her that she was losing her hair again. It bothered her to the point she didn't want to go to school when it was all gone,” MaKayla’s mother, Nicole Welsh, said.

>> Read more trending news  

Welsh said her daughter was sitting in class at Wylandville Elementary School Friday when substitute teacher shamed her in front of everyone.

“The teacher thought she was pulling her hair out… The teacher told her if she was bald, she wouldn't be pretty,” Welsh said.

She called the school’s principal and superintendent, who told her that was unacceptable.

“They just told me it'd be handled and promised she'd never go through anything like that again,” Welsh said.

MaKayla’s mother said the district handled the situation quickly. A video was shown to other students to help them understand what MaKayla was going through.

“When the video was done, the whole class rallied around and hugged her. She was excited and couldn't wait to go to school,” said Welsh.

Nicole Welsh had a message for the substitute teacher and others working with children.

“Be careful on how you word things to children… Words can hurt a lot more than anything else. They can stick with you forever,” she said. 

Parents upset about pro-Trump chants from student section during basketball game

Some parents attending a basketball game at a Pennsylvania high school were upset about words chanted by the student section.

Uniontown High School parents told WPXI the chanting happened during Wednesday night's game with Connellsville High School. Parents said the Connellsville students shouted pro-Trump remarks as they held up a Donald Trump sign while the Uniontown players were at the foul line during the first half of the game.

"They are chanting it over and over again, and I don't understand. What does Trump and 'build the wall' and 'send them back' have to do with a basketball game? That's horrible," parent Tasha Walton said.

>> Read more trending stories  

One parent said the chanting only happened during the first half of the game.

"If you know something is that divisive, why would you do something like that? What other thing are we supposed to think other than you were trying to be racially intimidating? It doesn't matter what your intent was, it's how they took it. So just say, ‘I'm sorry,'" Tiffany Blaho of Uniontown said.

WPXI’s Melanie Gillespie reached out to both school districts and was told in a statement that the Connellsville athletic director stopped the chanting within seconds of it starting.

"…and addressed the student section... regarding how the chant could be offensive and is not appropriate.  The students involved then met with the high school principal and athletic director to reinforce that this type of behavior is not representative of the Connellsville School District." 

Connellsville’s administrators also apologized to those offended.

Uniontown’s superintendent released the following statement:

"These types of actions have no place anywhere in our schools. It's a sad reflection of what is occurring throughout the country and reactions such as this along with violent protests nationwide reflect a deep division in our society."

 

 

Officials: Student with nosebleed leaves bloody bathroom wall message

School officials in Iowa are trying to ease parents’ concerns after a student was sent home Thursday after leaving a cryptic message on a bathroom wall.

Urbandale High School officials told KCCI that a student with a bloody nose used the blood to write a message on the bathroom wall.

>> Read more trending stories 

The message read: “He comes 2:11 2/17/17.”

School officials determined that the message was not threatening, according to KCCI.

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