November 23, 2014 at 7:55 pm

High school football gold ball weekend! – WCSH

Posted by in School

Gold Ball Saturday Wrap Up

at 7:55 pm

New York Chancellor Is Criticized for Remarks on Charter Schools

Posted by in School

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at 7:55 pm

Kids ‘thank’ Michelle Obama for ‘mystery mush’ school lunches

Posted by in School

WASHINGTON — School kids are giving thanks to first lady Michelle Obama just in time for the holiday – with a sarcastic Twitter hashtag about unappealing school lunches.

Along with photos of unsavory-looking school meals, the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama was among the top trends on Twitter within the United States for a time on Friday.

The first lady has become the symbol of healthier school meals as she has pushed standards implemented in 2012 that require more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the lunch line in an effort to combat childhood obesity. There are also limits on sodium, sugar and fat.

While many schools have put the standards in place successfully, others have said some of the new foods end up in the trash can.

Many of the photos have a Thanksgiving theme – think sad-looking stuffing – while others are everyday meals. The hashtag appears to have started around two years ago, but didn’t really catch on until Friday after several websites picked it up.

“Had a very #healthylunch today,” Hunter Whitney of Wisconsin tweeted. “The apple definitely made up for the `mystery mush’ #ThanksMichelleObama.”

His photo of a soupy Spanish rice gone wrong and an apple on a school lunch tray was retweeted more than 170 times.

Hunter, 17, is a senior at Richland Center High School in Richland Center, Wisconsin. He said in an interview with The Associated Press that his school lunches have gone downhill over his four years in high school. Of the Spanish rice, he said “you couldn’t feel the individual grains of rice. It was just a solid mush.”

Halana Turner, a junior at Fraser High School in Fraser, Michigan, posted a photo of a mushy breakfast sandwich Friday morning. She says she used to like the meals at her school.

“I don’t blame my school for this because I know that they’re just following the rules,” she said.

To combat the critics, a handful of kids posted photos of more appetizing lunches. Some people joked that the students are far from the first generation to complain about their school lunches.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a Washington advocacy group that has lobbied for the healthier lunches, got in on the game as well, tweeting pictures of colorful salad bars and happy kids under the hashtag.

“Even if the lunches were super unhealthy, there would be kids who would complain,” said CSPI’s Margo Wootan.

The White House didn’t have an immediate response, but an Agriculture Department spokesman said most meals aren’t as bad as the photos depict. USDA oversees the school meals program.

“Students are always provided full servings of both fruits and vegetables as well as protein options, so clearly many of the photos posted do not fully reflect the full range of choices students are provided,” said USDA’s Cullen Schwarz.

House Republicans are pushing a one-year waiver that would allow some schools to opt out of healthier meal standards if they lost money on meal programs over a six-month period. The schools pushing for changes say limits on sodium and requirements for more whole grains are particularly challenging, while some school officials say kids are throwing away fruits and vegetables they are required to take.

The proposal drew a White House veto threat, and the first lady aggressively lobbied against it.

“I’m going to fight until the bitter end to make sure that every kid in this country continues to have the best nutrition that they can have in our schools, because these kids, all of these kids, are worth it,” she said this summer.

The waiver proposal could come up again in a year-end spending bill.

at 1:56 pm

A united front against bullying

Scotland Neck

Scotland Neck

Shemar Johnson leads an anti-bullying march in Scotland Neck Saturday morning, as others behind him chant, sing and carry signs.

Posted: Sunday, November 23, 2014 6:00 am

A united front against bullying

By Khai Hoang

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


SCOTLAND NECK — After one of their own nearly killed himself due to being bullied, dozens of Scotland Neck residents marched together Saturday morning in an effort to stop bullying in the community.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014 6:00 am.

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at 1:55 pm

Bullying in Coweta County: A victim’s story – Newnan Times

by Celia Shortt

Twelve-year-old Jennifer Jarvis knows first-hand the effects of bullying. Jarvis claims she has been bullied since the first days of elementary school, and she wants to use her experiences to encourage others.

“They’re not alone,” Jarvis said of other bullying victims. “There are others being bullied.”

Jarvis recalls being singled out and harassed as a student at Brooks Elementary School. She says the unfair treatment continued into sixth grade at Madras Middle School.

Jarvis does not know or understand the exact reason for the bullying in elementary school. Her parents worried, eventually speaking to school officials and insisting that Jarvis be transferred to Northside, where she had been a student before going to Brooks.

Later, when beginning middle school, Jarvis said she was “nervous about going to a new school” because the kids who had bullied her at Brooks Elementary School would also be attending Madras Middle.

Jarvis said she attempted to make friends at the middle school, but many only pretended to be friends then later joined in to make fun of her.

Jarvis said the harassment included such things as being asked if she had head lice, and criticizing her family’s religion. “They said being Catholic is bad, and they shouldn’t be friends with me because I was a bad person,” she said.

“When I did the school talent show, they told me they would come watch me fail,” she added in a paper she wrote about the experience. “Of course, I proved them wrong, but they told me I didn’t deserve to win.”

Jarvis’ parents sought help from school officials once again. Jarvis said she believed many of the girls questioned regarding the incidents were not honest. Later, the same girls teased her about their having to meet with the principal.

Jarvis’ parents were told that there was not a bullying support group for students, and that they would have to pay for counseling if they felt their daughter needed support.

“At that point, I had been bullied for about three years,” Jarvis said. “I just wanted to be happy for once.”

Jarvis’ father, Jim, said he simply wanted his daughter to be able to learn in school without being bullied.

“What was hard for us as parents was waiting for her to come home [after school] with stories of hardness and sadness about what happened,” Jim said.

“Your child’s happiness is important,” added Jarvis’ mother, Linda. “You want them to feel safe at school.”

Jarvis heard about an option to attend school online through Georgia Connections Academy. She considered this option carefully, and decided to write a paper to her parents stating the reasons she wanted to attend school online.

“The main reason was the bullying and how I couldn’t focus on learning,” Jarvis said.

“[The paper] had rationale and justification,” Jim said. “She put so much effort into it, we felt obligated to take it seriously.”

Jarvis began participating in online classes this year. She is able to socialize through dance classes four days each week, and she continues to spend time with some students she considered friends at Madras Middle School.

Jarvis maintains that attending school online was the best decision for her.

Jarvis’ parents hope that Jarvis will attend a traditional high school when the time comes, however.

“Most people think this experience has made me more vulnerable, but on the inside I have gotten stronger,” she wrote in a recent paper about her experiences with bullying. “As a result, I have learned to never judge someone you don’t know because you don’t know what they have gone through.”

Jarvis’ mother said she does not blame the Coweta County School System for what happened, but both she and Jim would like to see more support for students who are bullied.

The Jarvis family believes raising awareness of bullying in schools and encouraging students to speak out is the first step to ending bullying.

at 1:55 pm

Workplace Bullying a Taboo Problem

Workplace Bullying a Taboo Problem

Approximately 35 percent of employees in the United States report being the target of a bully at work, and they tend to keep it to themselves, according to new research at Iowa State University.

“Many of the participants felt no one would believe them, or they were afraid of being labeled as a big cry baby or a whiner, so they didn’t tell a manager or someone else in the organization,” says Stacy Tye-Williams, assistant professor of communications studies and English at the university.

“When you experience serious trauma in the workplace, it’s difficult to explain to people what is happening to you.”

The study, published in the journal Management Communications Quarterly, includes reports from 48 victims of bullying in the workplace. More than half reported being bullied by their boss, while the rest were harassed by a co-worker. Participants worked in a variety of fields including professional and technical, education, health care, banking and finance, and the military.

Many of the victims had difficulty finding the right words or putting events in logical order to explain how the bullying started and escalated. In fact, several months can pass before the victim realizes there is a problem, because bullying often starts with subtle behaviors that make it hard to identify initially.

“When the story is all over the place and feels disjointed or disconnected, people don’t understand or they can’t make sense of what happened. Then what often happens is the victim is not taken seriously or not believed, which is really sad because these victims tend to be the ones suffering most,” Tye-Williams says.

Victims often feel alone because co-workers who witness or are aware of the bullying are hesitant to get involved. Previous studies have shown that victims have lower levels of depression and higher levels of job satisfaction when they have a co-worker to talk to and provide support.

“If victims are not believed and don’t have someone to talk to about their story, then they have a hard time formulating a narrative,” Tye-Williams says. “Even if you’re not comfortable as a co-worker reporting the behavior, letting the victim tell you their story, go with you to have a drink and vent, or just feel believed can help.

“For a lot of victims, that process of being believed and having someone listen to their story is crucial in helping them better communicate about their experience.”

If a victim does report the bullying, it is important for managers to reserve judgment. Even when the story is hard to follow, managers need to listen and ask questions, Tye-Williams says.

Although schools focus a lot of attention on bullying, it is not as openly discussed in the workplace. Some research shows that children who are bullies in school continue that behavior into adulthood. Greater awareness will help, but even small, simple changes can make a difference.

“Sometimes people are already aware of bullying, but others want to know how it’s different from harassment or discrimination, so awareness of the issue is important,” Tye-Williams says.

“It’s also important that we learn how to treat each other better and reach out when people are being harmed. We can all make strides in that direction.”

Source: Iowa State University


Woman being bullied at work photo by shutterstock.




Abuse, Aggression and Violence, Featured, General, Mental Health and Wellness, Professional, Research, Social Psychology, Stress, Work and Career


at 7:56 am

Ceremony Against Bullying Held in Metropolis

Story Created:
Nov 22, 2014 at 9:00 PM CST

Story Updated:
Nov 22, 2014 at 11:23 PM CST

at 7:56 am

What you’re saying about Deptford student suing district, claiming teachers …

A former student at Deptford Township High School, who claims she had to leave the district after being harassed by teachers, is suing the administration for failing to intervene. 

The lawsuit, which only identifies the student by her initials, details a series of alleged confrontations between a number of teachers and the student. She claims she was harassed by the teachers because of her father’s position as a school board member at the time — a time when the board made substantial cuts to the budget, eliminating teacher positions and extracurricular activities. 

The story has readers on talking about bullying issues, teacher tenure, and anti-harassment policies. Here’s what some of them had to say:






Have you ever been bullied or harassed by a teacher? Tell us about it in the comments portion below.

Jessica Beym may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @jessbeym. Find the South Jersey Times on Facebook.

at 7:55 am

‘Just Mayo’ marketing campaign leads to lawsuit

As Thanksgiving approaches this week, I’m reminded of how thankful I am for my family. I have an awesome wife, two terrific kids, great parents, wonderful in-laws, my amazing sister and her family, and my super sister-in-law and her family.

For example, every year my mom will make our favorite meal for our birthday. I get her homemade spaghetti and banana cream pie. My sister gets chicken and rice and chocolate cream pie. My dad gets BLTs and strawberry shortcake.

I almost feel like it’s my birthday, too, though, because I also love her BLTs. My mom makes the perfect BLT: the bread is toasted just right, the bacon is crispy, the lettuce is crunchy and the tomatoes are juicy.

When I tried to make myself a BLT like my mom, I failed. It was close, but not quite right. She asked what kind of spread I used, and I said whatever mayonnaise we had in the fridge. My mom quickly admonished me and proclaimed that I can’t use mayonnaise and instead use Kraft’s Miracle Whip. I laughed and said that Miracle Whip is just one brand of mayonnaise. She quickly corrected me and said that Miracle Whip is not mayonnaise.

Foolishly I doubted her and looked it up. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to be called mayonnaise, a product must contain one or more “egg yolk-containing ingredients” and be at least 65 percent vegetable oil. Because Miracle Whip does not meet these standards, it’s technically classified as salad dressing.

And it’s because of these standards that Unilever, the company that manufactures Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise, recently sued Hampton Creek, the maker of Just Mayo.

Unilever is accusing the startup company, funded by the likes of Bill Gates, of false advertising because Just Mayo contains no egg, so it’s not mayonnaise. Just Mayo is a vegan product that’s made from yellow peas. According to Just Mayo’s website, the spread is “outrageously delicious, better for your body, for your wallet, and for the planet.”

According to the suit, filed in federal court in New Jersey, the marketing of the “Just Mayo false name” has “caused consumer deception and serious, irreparable harm to Unilever.” Unilever further claims that calling the eggless spread Just Mayo is “part of a larger campaign and pattern of unfair competition by Hampton Creek to falsely promote Just Mayo spread as tasting better than, and being superior to, Best Foods and Hellmann’s mayonnaise.”

The lawsuit alleges that the marketing campaign has caused Hellmann’s and other mayonnaise manufacturers harm that is “impossible to quantify because of the difficulty of measuring lost goodwill and sales.” Accordingly, Unilever is seeking unspecified compensatory damages and is demanding that Just Mayo change its label, which features an egg.

Hampton Creek counters that it never actually called its product “mayonnaise” – just “mayo.” CEO Josh Tetrick believes Unilever is feeling threatened because Just Mayo is “competing directly with a company that hasn’t had real competition in decades.” Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern started an online petition to ask Unilever to drop the lawsuit and “Stop Bullying Sustainable Food Companies.” The petition currently has over 15,000 signatures.

Personally, I’m more concerned about how something tastes rather than what it’s called. Although I’ll admit, “Just Yellow Peas” doesn’t sound too appetizing. Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

at 7:55 am

Peterson bullying lawsuit against Dougherty School System heating up

Tommy Coleman

Tommy Coleman

ALBANY — The father and attorney representing a former Westover High School basketball player have made further allegations in their multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the Dougherty County School Board and Westover head basketball coach Dallis Smith.

Early last month, Manswell Peterson and attorney Samia Giddings, who is also Peterson’s sister-in-law, filed a civil suit in Dougherty Superior Court seeking $6 million from the Board of Education and $2 million from Smith in regard to an alleged bullying incident in June involving Peterson’s son. The incident involved six Westover basketball players and occurred while the basketball team was at a camp in Tallahassee, Fla.


Manswell Peterson

Peterson said he had filed numerous Open Records requests attempting to obtain DCSS Police Chief Investigator J.C. Phillips’ final report of the incident before the system finally provided him with a copy of the report.

“After a little over two weeks, much back and forth, being told it mattered not what the state attorney general’s office said when the office ruled in my favor, and six requests (two coming after the attorney general’s ruling), I finally got a copy of the report,” Peterson said. “After having had my character called into question, having my name smeared and even being labeled a liar who is blowing a situation out of proportion, I find that what I indicated regarding the presence and possession of alcohol was accurate and even substantiated by the school system’s police department that alcohol was involved during the trip to basketball camp at FSU, as evidenced by the school bus video.”

DCSS Attorney Tommy Coleman fired back.

“It is increasingly obvious that he (Peterson) wants to try this case in the media,” Coleman said. “We want to try it in court where appropriate discovery can take place.”

Peterson, however, was not mollified.

“At this point, it appears that no one and nothing involving the Dougherty County School System and School Board, especially when it comes to Westover, can be trusted,” Peterson said. “Actions and behavior of this type shatter and completely destroy the public trust, not to mention the trust of parents entrusting their children’s welfare, well-being, safety and security, to those charged with educating them.”

Once the bullying allegations were made public by Peterson, they sparked an internal investigation led by Phillips. His report, given to DCSS Administrative Assistant Jack Willis, stated: “The investigation revealed that the student was indeed physically and verbally abused and bullied.”

When asked for comment on Peterson’s latest accusations, Willis said, “Anyone who knows me knows that I would love to comment on this case, but because we are involved in active litigation, I cannot.”

Within a week after Phillips finished his investigation, Westover Principal William Chunn announced disciplinary action that included kicking one player off the basketball team and five days of at-home and in-school suspensions for two players, along with five-game suspensions and 25 hours of community service for the remaining four players.

Chunn later reduced punishment for two of the players, removing the five days of at-home and in-school suspensions.

Superior Court Judge Willie Lockett was originally scheduled to hear the case but recused himself, as did Judge Denise Marshall. Judge Stephen Goss will now conduct the trial. No date has been set to hear the case.

at 1:55 am

How much does cyberbullying really contribute to teen suicide?

Posted by in Cyber Bullying

The founder of the National Centre for Youth Mental Health in Ireland has said he does not believe cyberbullying has significantly contributed to teen suicides in the last number of years.

government’s policy focus on cyberbullying this year, which was a direct response to a number of hight profile teenage suicides. In these cases, the teens’ deaths were linked to abuse they had received on social media websites like but Bates said suicide is not as black and white as this.

“I don’t think it contributes an awful lot – I mean I’m sure of course it does in some way,” he told this week. “I got close to one very high profile suicide family in the aftermath of a very young suicide which was blamed entirely on cyberbullying and I can tell you it was very little do do with it. The story was so horrific and so painful – the girl was just 13.”

Bates also spoke at a church in Leitrim to the community that had been impacted by the death of 15-year-old Ciara Pugsley. He was asked if he believed her death had been caused by cyberbullying and when he said he did not, the teen’s mother, who was in the audience stood up to address him.

I thought I was in for it because I didn’t want to say anything to upset her, you know, and she said: Thank you for saying that, I don’t think it was cyberbullying” and everyone agreed.

Nasty comments

Abuse on social media does, of course, have a negative impact on teens, however as Bates explained that what they are ultimately looking for is a secure place in the world where they feel like they fit in.

“So when I go on the net because I can’t make that happen with my family or in the world and I find that people are nasty to me, that’s reinforcing a sense of alienation.”

A survey of 15,000 children found that just 12 to 14% said they had been bullied online. A study in the US came out with similar numbers but Bates said that when teens were asked if they had ever come across nasty comments about them online, they said “all the time”.

You look at almost everything and there’s nasty comments, they get nasty comments sent to them all the time – it’s the internet – and they don’t even realise it’s bloody bullying. That’s what they found out. People say “you’re an ugly bitch”. Well, if that’s coming at you a lot of the time, that’s bullying.

Something that is paramount for teenagers going through a difficult time is having even one adult in the world they can depend on who will listen to them.

End the pain

Bates told the story of his own son, who was bullied in school at 14:

He came in at four in the morning and he asked if he could get in beside me – he was a big guy then, bigger than me. He said: “I couldn’t sleep I had bad dreams”. I thought ‘what’s going on here?’ Your entire career of therapy training foes out the window – you just can’t bring that to your own children. Then he described being very badly bullied, terrified – he was really upset. We acted on that and the school were great but he was very shook by it all and there was a counsellor he went to. They said he was a bit down but it wasn’t so much about the bullying, he was just really lonely and felt like he wasn’t connecting to the other students.

Bates said children who are suicidal think they want to die but what they really want to do is “say FU to life and end the pain”.

“If there’s even one good adult who knows you personally who believes in you, they bestow on you a kind of strength that is unfathomable,” Bates explained.

The clinical psychologist, who worked in St James’ Hospital with mentally ill patients for more than two decades, decided to set up Headstrong when he realised just how much the adolescent years had impacted on the adult patients he was treating. Many told him that if they had received help when they were younger, they knew they would not have ended up in the same situation.

“I worked for a long time with very sick people, very troubled people with severe mental illness and honestly I never met a mad person,” he said. “They were just very human, very insightful. I always found inside these people there was a core of sanity and the sadness they felt for the life they lived – the grief – because they had lost their life.”


  • Samaritans 116 123 or email

  • Console 1800 247 247 – (suicide prevention, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Aware 1890 303 302 (depression anxiety)

  • Pieta House 01 601 0000 or email - (suicide, self-harm, bereavement)

  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)

  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Here’s What Happened Today: Saturday

Water protests, death threats, and Bono: The week in numbers

November 22, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Parents appeal Scranton School District bullying decision – Scranton Times

SCRANTON — Parents who say their son was bullied by students and a teacher in the Scranton School District have appealed a judge’s decision to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Earlier this month, Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo dismissed the lawsuit brought by Sharelle and Anthony Bridges against the school district.

The parents alleged their son’s civil rights were violated when he was repeatedly bullied and harassed because he is black.

The boy is now enrolled in a cyber charter school.


at 1:55 pm

School district takes action on bullying complaints



Posted: Saturday, November 22, 2014 2:14 am

School district takes action on bullying complaints

Staff Writer

Valley Morning Star

RAYMONDVILLE — The Raymondville school district has conducted an investigation into a claim by a middle school student and his mother that he was a victim of bullying.

But an opposing group of parents claim it was actually their children who were bullied.

Superintendent Johnny Pineda on Friday did not respond to requests for comment.

However, Gustavo Acevedo, the school district’s lawyer, issued a written statement Friday to assure parents that district officials have investigated the bullying accusations.

“Every incident was investigated and the appropriate action for each incident was taken,” Acevedo’s statement says. “When the district became aware of this situation, the district investigated the incident immediately and administered the appropriate consequences.”

Acevedo said federal law prohibited him from disclosing any disciplinary action taken against a student or students.

“I can’t discuss the specifics of any particular case,” he said.

The school district does not tolerate “discrimination, threats, bullying and harassment,” the district’s statement said. “Bullying in any form, including but not limited to cyber bullying, will not be tolerated.”

The middle school student’s claim that he became a victim of bullying has drawn national attention from Facebook viewers, along with a group of parents’ claims that their children were the victims.

A more complete version of this story is available on


Saturday, November 22, 2014 2:14 am.

at 7:55 am

Bullied Highland Springs student assigned to anger management – Richmond Times

A freshman at Highland Springs High School, who suffered head trauma during a classroom altercation in September, was asked by a Henrico County judge Friday to participate in an anger-management program, according to the boy’s attorney.

Eric Martin, 15, had been charged with two counts of misdemeanor assault after he fought back when he was called homosexual slurs Sept. 4 in an art class at the high school, according to his attorney, Charlotte Hodges.

In an hourslong court case that was closed to the media because it involved minors, one of the charges against Martin was dismissed Friday, while the other charge is being taken under advisement by the court, Hodges said.

“In six months, he’ll come back and he will come before the judge, and if he does some things that the judge has asked him to do … then (the judge) has indicated that she likely will dismiss the case,” Hodges said outside Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, where the case was heard.

Those conditions include anger-management counseling, completion of school assignments and good behavior, Hodges said.

Mary Martin said her son, who was 14 at the time of the incident, is a victim of bullying who was defending himself that day in the art classroom. She said the injuries to his head and body were so severe that he hasn’t been able to return to school.

She also said her son, who is particularly thin, has been bullied for much of his life and is being punished for defending himself.

Classmate Tami Gardner, who said she was supposed to testify Friday about what she witnessed but missed her chance because she was in the bathroom when she was called to the stand, said Eric Martin had been called gay.

Gardner said Martin threw an eraser in retaliation and slapped a boy who was laughing , at which point that boy pinned him down on a table and dropped him to the ground.

At some point after being knocked to the ground, Martin threw a chair across the room, which hit a student in the head, prompting that student to punch Martin in the face, which incapacitated Martin, according to Gardner, a senior at Highland Springs.

After his court case, Martin said he was advised by Hodges not to discuss his case. But he encouraged bullying victims to stand up for themselves, calling bullying “a horrible thing.”

“Eric probably did make some bad decisions on that day,” Hodges said. However, she said she still believes that he was acting in self-defense, fearing that he was going to be hurt.

Officials have also declined to discuss the case, because minors are involved.

Last week, anti-bullying advocate Tammy Motola presented the Henrico County School Board a petition that has received more than 100,000 signatures. Motola contended that the school system’s anti-bullying policy has failed.

Schools spokesman Andy Jenks defended the school division’s anti-bullying practices last week and said that any insinuation that bullying isn’t being strongly addressed by the school division would be incorrect.

at 7:55 am

Jennings closes schools next week in expectation of grand jury decision

Posted by in School

UPDATED to include school still planned for Ferguson-Florissant, Riverview Gardens and Hazelwood schools, and information on the fliers adults were handing out to students. 

The Jennings School District will not hold school Monday and Tuesday in expectation that a grand jury will announce its decision this weekend on whether to indict officer Darren Wilson.

Parents in the Jennings district, which includes the eastern edge of Ferguson, will receive automated calls this afternoon notifying them that schools will be closed, Superintendent Tiffany Anderson said.

“With the heightened anxiety and activity, we thought it would be better for students and staff to extend the holiday at this point,” she said.

The decision to close schools was not based on any notification from law enforcement that an announcement is imminent, Anderson went on to say. Once the decision becomes public, many are bracing for the possibility of volatile protests, which have been largely peaceful since Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown three months ago.

School officials aren’t concerned about student safety inside the buildings, but on streets near some of them. Anderson wanted to give parents as much time as possible to figure out child-care arrangements for next week.

School district representatives from several north St. Louis County districts said closing school for two days was among the options discussed at a recent meeting with law enforcement officials. Closure would keep buses and excess traffic off streets in the event of unrest.

Children in Jennings don’t have bus service. Most of them walk, making Anderson even more concerned for their safety.

On Thursday, Anderson said a group of adults wearing masks and claiming to be from Chicago were passing out fliers to students as they walked home along Cozens Avenue. The street has an elementary school, the junior high and high school.

The fliers were “encouraging students to be disruptive and encouraging them to think of police as pigs,” Anderson said. “That was disturbing.”

Anderson notified other school districts in north St. Louis County about the fliers. A scanned copy urges people “to pour into the streets immediately” after the announcement comes. It also says “Students should walk out of school when they hear another murdering pig has gone free.”

Jennings is the first of what could be several school districts to cancel school, giving students and staff a week-long Thanksgiving break. Children who live in Ferguson and attend public school go to one of four districts — Jennings, Hazelwood, Riverview Gardens, or Ferguson-Florissant. 

“At the present time, we have not made a similar decision,” said Jana Shortt, spokeswoman for Ferguson-Florissant schools. “The problem right now is, we don’t even know an announcement is coming.”

Riverview Gardens and Hazelwood schools still plan to be in session on Monday, district representatives said. 

The uncertainty of when the announcement will finally be announced has increased anxieties among children throughout the region, but particularly in schools those nearest the unrest. 

“For adults, there’s as great — if not greater — anxiety,” Anderson said. “They’re thinking a lot about how to support kids, how to make sure everything is in place” for the grand jury decision.

Even with no school, meals will be provided to children in need on Monday and Tuesday from 8 to 9 a.m., and lunch from noon to 1 p.m. at Jennings High School and Fairview Elementary School.

at 7:54 am

$139M Deal Reached in School Sex Abuse Case

Posted by in School

John Manly, Luis Carrillo

Associated Press

The Los Angeles Unified School District will pay more than $139 million to end remaining litigation involving an elementary school teacher convicted of committing numerous lewd acts on his students, according to the settlement announced Friday.

The deal involving 81 students puts a legal end to the saga that began when Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt was arrested in 2012 and accused of blindfolding students and feeding them his semen on spoons and cookies. The settlement is believed to be the largest ever for a school sex abuse case, according to victims’ lawyers, and increases the district’s price for the scandal to $170 million when combined with 65 cases settled earlier for $30 million.

Plaintiff’s lawyers had planned to present evidence at trial next month that the school district was aware of sexual misconduct by Berndt over three decades but failed to act until a photo processor at a pharmacy contacted police about pictures of blindfolded children being fed some substance.

The 19-year-old woman had only been on the job a month at CVS when she discovered the troubling photos and learned Berndt had been processing similar pictures there since 2005, said John Manly, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit.

“She was told not to call the police by her supervisors and she did it anyway,” Manly said. “If she hadn’t made that call, we wouldn’t be here today and he’d still be teaching.”

The case led to an overhaul of how the nation’s second-largest school district handles allegations of sexual abuse. After Berndt’s arrest, the district removed all 130 staff members from the school and placed them at an unopened empty school during the lengthy investigation.

“Our goal from the outset of these appalling revelations has been to spare the Miramonte community the anguish of a protracted trial, while at the same time being mindful of the financial consequences stemming from settlements,” district Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines said in a statement. “We believe we struck a balance between those objectives.”

The investigation caused a huge upheaval at the school, where most of the students are from poor Hispanic homes. Parents had been hesitant to complain about Berndt because of a deep respect for teachers, and they were reluctant to cooperate with police because many feared deportation.

Berndt was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading no contest to 23 counts of lewd conduct. He was able to avoid being fired after his arrest and retired from teaching with his pension.

Lawyers in the current case said they rejected earlier settlement offers because they wanted to find out what had happened at the school.

They said they managed to uncover a dozen incidents involving Berndt between 1983 and 2009, even though the school district had purged thousands of child abuse reports and logs that had been maintained for decades.

The district said it only destroyed copies of law enforcement documents that it didn’t think it should keep.

Among the findings:

? Two teachers reported Berndt was exposing himself to students in the mid-1990s.

? Several girls had complained in the early 1990s that Berndt was masturbating in class, but the allegations were dismissed and the girls were accused of lying.

? The Sheriff’s Department investigated Berndt in 1994 but prosecutors declined to bring charges for lack of evidence.

at 7:54 am

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at 1:54 am

Grandmother angry with LCSD because of bullying incidents

 CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A fifth grader at a local elementary school said she’s being bullied, and her grandma believes the Lee County School District isn’t doing enough to stop it.

“My child shouldn’t have to go to school and wonder and worry, ‘Is somebody going to bother me today? Am I going to be OK at school today?” Nadja Cruz said.

She said her granddaughter is made fun of, called names, and blocked in the school hallways.

But Nadja said her attempts to fix the problems with the school district aren’t getting anywhere.

Ten-year-old Amia Alonzo told Four in Your Corner’s Lisa Greenberg she loves school, and she loves Caloosa Elementary, until recently.

“i would rather lie and pretend I’m sick than going to school. I don’t even want to go to school anymore if she’s in my classroom,” Amia said.

Now, she’s afraid to go.

“She’ll just try to find a way to be mean to me somehow,” Amia said.

She said she’s being bullied.

“Each and every time something happens, I bring it to the school’s attention,” Nadja said.

But Nadja said it’s not enough.

So she filed a complaint with the Lee County School District.  

In the report, Nadja said the bully intentionally pushes Amia to the ground, makes comments, and stares at her intimidatingly.

“When I’m laughing, she’ll call me weird, annoying,” Amia said.

The district investigated and determined “An act of bullying/harassment, as defined by the state’s statute and the district policy, did not occur.”

But what Nadja’s even more upset about is that the report said the alleged bully was not interviewed.

“How do you close a bullying case if you never confront the bully?” Nadja asked.

So I took her concerns to the Lee County School District. 

A statement from their spokeswoman reads “the facts surrounding this incident do not meet the criteria of bullying.”

She also said all parties were spoken to, but statements of other children are confidential.

But the main issue here is lack of proof, an outcome neither Nadja or Amia can accept.

“The school system needs to step up. Caloosa needs to step up,” Nadja said.

“I just wish it would stop,” Amia said.

Nadja wants the bully removed from Amia’s class, but with the way the investigation went, she doesn’t see that happening.

She also said Amia will not be returning to Caloosa next year.

In fact, she says she’s sending her to a private school because she doesn’t want her in the Lee County School District.

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