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Florida principal under fire for allegedly telling staff to put white students in same class

A Florida principal earned a swift reprimand after allegedly instructing her staff to put white students in the same class.

Christine Hoffman is principal of Campbell Park Elementary in St. Petersburg. Her school is majority African-American, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

Earlier this year, Hoffman reportedly sent an email to school staff with instructions on assembling classrooms for the 2017-2018 school year. The Times reported that Hoffman asked teachers to assemble classrooms with “a mix of reading levels,” an “equal number of boys and girls" and “no more than two students who frequently misbehave per class.” She also reportedly said the few white students per grade should be placed in the same class.

This appears to be a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which forbids schools from segregating on the basis of race or national origin verbatim.

Hoffman did not detail why she sought to segregate classes in the original email and has not done so since the incident. It’s worth nothing that she only sought to separate white students from the rest of the student body; Hispanic, Asian and multiracial students were not mentioned in any context.

>> Read more trending news

Maria Scruggs, president of the St. Petersburg branch of the NAACP, said she is “at a loss for words,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“I thought it was a joke,” she said when interviewed last week.

Hoffman has apologized for the email and will “leave campus," according to the Times. She is currently undergoing an “administrative review” by Pinellas County school officials. They will determine her fitness to return to a role with the district, where she’s taught since 1991.

Although parents have called for Hoffman’s resignation, she’s apparently not going quietly. Hoffman joined two officials for a Monday morning meeting with parents and supposedly told those present that she was the “best thing that has happened to Campbell Park.”

Mom writes school, says daughter is ‘done with homework’

We know what you’re thinking: Where was this mom when we had stacks of homework to do as kids?

>> Read more trending news 

Bunmi Laditan, a mother, author and blogger, sent an email to her 10-year-old daughter’s school, WJW reported, telling officials that “my kid is done with homework.”

Laditan told teachers she is allowing her daughter Maya to cut down on her work because she is “very stressed” and has begun experiencing chest pain, WJW reported.

Laditan, a contributor to the Huffington Post whose next book, “Confessions of a Domestic Failure,” will be released May 2, said children need to wind down after school, just like adults do after work. 

Maya “is in school from 8:15 a.m.- 4 p.m. daily,” Latidan writes in her Facebook post, “so someone please explain to me why she should have two-three hours of homework to do every night?

“How does homework until 6:30, then dinner, then an hour to relax (or finish the homework) before bed make any sense at all?”

Laditan’s Facebook post, containing a portion of her email, has received more than 68,000 reactions and more than 18,000 shares.

Family sues after school janitor charged with raping teen

A family in Tennessee is suing a school district and the employer of a female janitor who is accused of raping a 16-year-old boy at school.

Jessica E. Galyon, 29, was arrested Feb. 23 and charged with aggravated statutory rape and related charges, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel

The lawsuit claims that Galyon began to harass the boy, a student at Midway High School, last August, making unwanted sexual advances. The actions escalated to the point where the boy confronted Galyon at school, and Galyon took the boy into a room and raped him, according to authorities.

>> Read more trending news

Galyon's obsession with the boy was well-known to other students and faculty members, who bullied the boy, according to the lawsuit. The boy dropped out of school after the assault and is now being home-schooled and attending counseling sessions.

The boy's family is suing Roane County Schools and Galyon's employer, Compass One Services, for $4.5 million in damages.

Parents concerned about sex ed being taught to second-graders

Parents are expressing concern over the sex education curriculum being taught to their second-graders at a St. Louis preparatory school.The parents feel that Lafayette Preparatory Academy's sexual education curriculum, "Our Whole Lives," is not age-appropriate, and uses graphic terminology, according to KSDK. "Our Whole Lives" is a sexual education program created by the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

>> Read more trending stories

It is unclear what section is being taught to second-graders at Lafayette. According to the Our Whole Lives website, there is not a specific curriculum designed for second-graders. Different parts of the curriculum are taught at all grade levels. According to the Our Whole Lives website, the K-1 curriculum discusses the human body, families and childbirth. Parents of Lafayette second-grade students told KSDK that sexual acts and sexual terminology were discussed.Lafayette Preparatory Academy told KSDK that it will make it easier for parents to opt out of the sex ed program, but stood by the curriculum, saying in a statement that Our Whole Lives provides "accurate, developmentally appropriate information."

Teachers can earn up to $80K annually in remote Utah county

A remote region in Utah hopes to attract high-quality teachers by offering a generous salary.Mid-career teachers could earn up to $80,000 annually through a special program offered by the San Juan School District, according to Deseret News. Through the Quality Teaching Incentive Program (QTIP), the district is hiring lead teachers who will mentor small groups of teachers and help develop strategies to improve students' grades.

>> Read more trending news In addition to rugged geography that includes lengthy commute times, the San Juan School District offers other challenges. Many students live on the Navajo reservation,and have extensive chores after school that often take precedence over homework. Tribal members often take time to develop trust in teachers who are recruited from outside the region, according to teachers who are participating in QTIP.The district is already seeing success in the program, which launched three years ago. School scores are up and teacher turnover is down.

Teacher allegedly had sex with 4 students, including 2 at same time

A Texas educator is unlikely to see a classroom any time soon after she reportedly admitted to having sex with four students.

>> Teacher accused of improper relationship with student smiles in mugshot

According to KTRE, Heather Lee Robertson, 38, was arrested Saturday and charged with four counts of “improper relationship between educator and student.” An affidavit shows that the investigation began on April 20 and that a high school student began “chatting and sexting with Robertson through Snapchat," the station reported. When she asked him to come to her apartment, the student asked to bring a friend. Robertson reportedly had sex with the students simultaneously.

>> Watch the news report here

During the investigation, two more students came forward to reveal sexual histories with Robertson, the affidavit said. Both students said they would sneak out, and Robertson would pick them up and take them back to her apartment, the affidavit said.

When confronted, Robertson admitted to the charges and stated that she “had recently become a heavy drinker and would sometimes not remember the details of the encounters," according to the affidavit. According to the Lufkin News, Robertson was arrested when a police officer pulled her over in traffic.

>> Read more trending news

Superintendent Mary Ann Whiteker of the Hudson Independent School District, where Robertson was employed, told the Lufkin News that the district became aware of the allegations Thursday morning and Robertson had resigned by that afternoon. Whiteker also said the investigation has been finalized.

Student finds earworm in school lunch

A Pennsylvania student made a disturbing discovery while eating his school lunch. He found an earworm in his popcorn chicken.

The student at Hughesville High School in Lycoming County snapped a picture and posted it on social media. The student who made the discovery did not want to be identified.

School officials stopped serving the lunch when they found out about the bug, WNEP reported.

>> Read more trending news

They believe that the worm got into the food through U.S. Department of Agriculture ingredients.

"It is our belief that the bug was actually a corn earworm that came in the USDA federal subsidized corn commodity,” Superintendent Michael Pawlik said in a statement. “We have since filed a complaint form with the USDA.”

A corn earworm is a moth that feeds on corn and other plants.

10-year-old boy with autism arrested at school

Luanne Haygood, the mother of a 10-year-old boy with autism, is angry that her son was arrested earlier this month at his Florida school for allegedly punching and kicking his teacher six months ago. Okeechobee County school resource officers put the child in handcuffs at Okeechobee Achievement Academy, but Haygood said the school district isn’t properly equipped to deal with autistic children.

“He has autism. He doesn’t know what’s going on,” she can be heard saying in the video that she recorded of her son’s arrest. “He’s scared to death. He’s 10 years old.”

>> Watch Haygood's video here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised)

Haygood watched as her son was removed from his classroom for allegedly leaving a paraprofessional with scratches and other marks back in October. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant on allegations of felony battery on a school board authority.

“I was extremely angry. That I felt like this was a power play. I felt like this was a this is what you get. You can’t do anything about it. We’re going to arrest your son if he can’t abide by the rules,” Haygood told WFOR, adding that her son's disability is the reason behind his behavior. “To go and have him arrested on school grounds in front of other students, in front of personnel, during school hours – they could’ve come to my house at any time to tell me what was going on.”

>> Read more trending news

The boy reportedly spent one night in juvenile detention, according to the Washington Post. The child was then released on house arrest and is expected to appear in court next month.

Haygood said the incident would never have happened if the school had the proper services to address his disability.

“I want something done," she told WFOR. "I want other kids to not have to go through this.”

According to CNN, the school district released the following statement:

"It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest.

"The district routinely assists students by providing services from our board certified behavioral analyst, licensed mental health counselors, school social workers, and psychologists. As a team, these individuals develop interventions, conduct assessments, and offer support both at school and in the home in order to assist students and families.

"The district is unable to provide specific information as to both current and past incidents regarding this or any other student due to educational laws and rules. It is our hope that we can continue to work with all families to help their students improve both behaviorally and academically."

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

2 top students at this school were homeless and they just got scholarships

Some high school seniors are being honored for their hard work with financial help for college, but there’s a unique twist to this story:

Two top students at Maynard Jackson High School in Atlanta were all homeless at one point, according to the principal.

>> Read more trending news 

Valedictorian Rebecca Schmitt and honorable mention Jakobi Horn have been just two of nearly 1,800 homeless students in metro Atlanta.

“With all the support that we have from our environment, our community, despite the financial hardship, you’re able to thrive if you really put your mind to it,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt said she was accepted into some of the top universities in the country.

“Spelman College, Georgia Tech, Washington University in St. Louis, Northwestern University and Duke University,” she said.

The school system and a local grocery store, Kroger, presented the students with scholarships and gift cards at the STAR students and Teachers Awards Ceremony at the Georgia Power Auditorium. 

These students were selected at the end of the first semester of their senior year.

The Student Teacher Achievement Recognition (STAR) program honors Georgia’s outstanding high school seniors and the teachers who have been most instrumental in their academic development.

Schmitt, as valedictorian, received a $1,000 scholarship and a $250 Kroger gift card. Horn received a $500 scholarship and a $100 Kroger gift card. 

Son, mother to attend college together

A Texas teen will be the first in his family to attend college this fall, but he didn't want the streak to end with him.Damon Lewis encouraged his mother to attend college with him.Connie Lewis, 47, told WFAA that not attending college was one of her life's regrets. She served 20 years in the Army and since her discharge, has been working odd jobs to make ends meet.

>> Read more trending news

When Damon first suggested that his mother apply to college with him, she resisted, but she eventually relented. Both Connie and Damon were accepted to Bethany College in Kansas.Damon said he's proud of his mother for pursuing her dreams.

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