Category Archives: Education

5th-grader suspended for pointing imaginary gun

Daily News Staff Photo

Daily News Staff Photo

WCVB: Milford (MA) parent is questioning the two-day suspension of his 10-year-old son from Stacy Middle School, our news partners at the Milford Daily News reported.

Nickolas Taylor, a fifth-grader, was suspended after pointing an imaginary ray gun – his finger – and mouthing laser sounds in the school’s cafeteria last Friday, said Brian Taylor, Nickolas’ father.

“I think this is very slanderous toward Nickolas and his character,” said Taylor. “It was non-threatening. He’s just a typical boy with an imagination.”

A conduct slip, written by Assistant Principal Noah Collins, lists the offense as a threat. Collins could not be reached for comment despite numerous phone calls and emails seeking comment – nor could Stacy Principal Nancy Angelini. Superintendent Robert Tremblay also did not return phone calls and emails.

In the school’s 88-page handbook, threats are listed as an offense punishable by detention, suspension, or even expulsion based on the severity. The level of severity is often at the discretion of the administrator tasked to reprimand the student, said School Committee Chairperson Scott Harrison.

Policies against threats and guns have been implemented in the district for decades, he said. The School Committee has made no recent revisions to the policy. Though the handbook explicitly lists toy weapons as items banned from school grounds, there is no clause that specifically addresses imaginary weapons.

In the report provided by Brian Taylor, Collins writes two girls came to him saying that Nickolas cut the lunch line and, when confronted, pointed the imaginary gun at them while mouthing the shooting sounds.

In an interview with the Daily News, Nickolas said he was standing behind the girls and was shooting his imaginary gun in no particular direction. Nickolas has no history of discipline outside detentions for incomplete school work, said Brian Taylor.

Nickolas has been diagnosed with ADHD and sometimes is disciplined because he is hyperactive and fails to focus, Brian Taylor said. “He’s confused as to why he got suspended,” said Brian Taylor. “He doesn’t realize he did something wrong.”

On Monday, Taylor said he had a half-hour conversation with Collins but the assistant principal did not lift the suspension. “There’s a complete disconnect between policy and reality,” said Taylor.

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Florida school board moves to change policy to keep Satanist coloring book out of schools


WPTV: Worried about facing national ridicule if a Satanic group is allowed to give out coloring books to children, the Orange County School Board moved Thursday toward preventing any outside group from distributing religious materials on campus.

The current policy has allowed groups to distribute Bibles and even atheist materials at district high schools in recent years.

The board discussed the issue during a workshop Thursday. The earliest it could vote to change the policy would be late January or early February, officials said.

“This really has, frankly, gotten out of hand,” said chairman Bill Sublette. “I think we’ve seen a group or groups take advantage of the open forum we’ve had.”

satanic2But a spokesman for The Satanic Temple, the group the group that wants to give out coloring books featuring cartoon children performing Satanic rituals and drawing pentagrams in school, said it is the School Board that is acting in bad faith.

“It strongly implies they never intended to have a plurality of voices,” said Doug Mesner, co-founder and spokesman for The Satanic Temple, who also goes by the pseudonym Lucien Greaves.

An evangelical group called World Changers of Florida has given out Bibles in Orange schools three times. “We’re looking forward to doing it again,” said World Changers Vice President Greg Harper. The group has purchased materials and is gathering volunteers to give out the New International Version in 18 district high schools on Jan. 16, he said.

However, district counsel Woody Rodriguez said the Satanists are the only group to have submitted a request.

Harper said he considers the possible policy change an attack on Christians. “They seem to be moving against the interests of a large part of the community,” he said, likening it to the district’s August decision to ban football chaplains at schools. “The Bible will open somebody’s heart, somebody’s mind, and cause them to pursue answers.”

Board member Christine Moore also seemed to struggle with the effect of a policy change on Christian groups. “Everyone’s upset about the Satanists and the atheists coming,” she said.

But another group involved in the debate sees an upside. “It’s a bit of a relief,” said David Williamson of the Central Florida Freethought Community. His group distributed atheist materials in 2013 as a protest against Bible distributions.

Rodriguez said the district was bound by the terms of a federal consent decree that required Collier County schools to allow the same group to give out Bibles.

“Given that there’s a potential change in the policy, we won’t be allowing distribution,” he said. “We’re going to wait.”


Michigan school replaces Heroes mural of Einstein and Mother Teresa with Oprah and Obama

The dictionary defines a “hero” or “heroine” as “A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”

South Arbor Charter Academy is a free public charter school serving kindergarten through 8th grade in Ypsilanti, Michigan.


Todd Starnes reports for Fox News, Nov. 13, 2014, that for years, boys and girls at South Arbor Charter Academy have been inspired by Heroes Hall – a corridor featuring murals that honored a diverse group of national and global heroes – including Albert Einstein, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and the astronauts who were killed when the Space Shuttle Columbia exploded over Texas.

But many parents are furious after the principal had the murals replaced with paintings of Barack Obama, Oprah, Maya Angelou, Walt Disney, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. (

hero mural


Parent Craig Bergman said, “This is no longer a hall of heroes. Now we have a hall of celebrities.” Bergman said the school’s new mural really transforms the concept of what makes a person a hero: “The mere fact that you have talent doesn’t mean you are a hero. I want someone who made a life investment – perhaps they even sacrificed their life – so that our society and so our world could be a better place.”

Parent Todd Holliday said the new mural sends the wrong message to children in the K-8 school: “My biggest concern is my kid seeing these murals for the next four years – thinking they represent what a hero is. They might be successful business people but they aren’t really heroes.”

School spokesperson Jennifer Hoff said it was part of an intentional shift from “historical heroes” to “modern-day heroes” – “Heroes Hall has been a part of the school’s fabric for years. In fact, the old mural had been on the wall for at least 11 years. As with all things over time, it was showing its age from the activities of being an active school and needed some repair.”

Hoff said the new Heroes Hall is a “tangible way for students to see that despite circumstances in life, you can achieve great things through hard work, dedication, and the moral focus virtues” – virtues that emphasize “wisdom, respect, gratitude, self-control, perseverance, courage, encouragement, compassion and integrity.”

And the new heroes, she insists, embody those virtues: Rowling shows the children wisdom, Steve Jobs shows the children integrity, Oprah represents compassion, Disney represents courage, and Maya Angelou shows the children perseverance. As for Obama – well he shows the children encouragement because “Our goal all along is to encourage our students to believe in themselves, work hard and be brave enough to dream.”

Bergman said the principal appointed a blue-ribbon panel of four staffers to select who the new heroes should be: “There was no parental involvement. The principal of the school hand-picked and self-appointed (the group). Once they gave her their final decisions, she solely approved the list. Previously, it was very well-balanced and respected a lot of different thoughts. Instead, it’s become more of a political issue. There’s definitely a certain genre of pictures here.” Bergman says the celebrities who replaced the old heroes “may be some of the most influential people in American history, but they are not heroes.”

Kim Bondy, principal

Kim Bondy, principal

The principal of South Arbor Charter Academy is Kim Bondy.

  • Address: 8200 Carpenter Rd, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
  • Phone: 734-528-2821
  • Fax: 734-528-2829


Student argues that women should grow out body hair to ‘rival’ Movember


Campus Reform: Women at George Washington University (GW) should stop shaving during the month of November in the name of gender equality one student said last week.

In a column in The Hatchet, Jonah Lewis urged GW women to start a new movement that would parallel Movember by ceasing to shave in order to raise money for women’s health issues. The student argued that the women’s campaign could “one day rival what men raise during Movember.”

hair“If women at GW decided not to shave for the entirety of this month to raise money for women’s health issues and promote body positivity, the initiative could grow into a movement matching Movember,” Lewis wrote. “It would open up conversations about how our culture expects women to treat their bodies and their body hair.”

“For women, growing out hair is an unexpected and daring risk. That makes not shaving an exercise in body positivity and self love for most women,” Lewis continued.

The Lewis argued that a number of women’s health issues including menopause, reproductive health, cervical cancer, and breast cancer are not given enough attention and would benefit from this source of fundraising.

Amanda Robbins, a junior at GW and president of the school’s chapter of the Network of Enlightened Women said that there are other ways for people to raise awareness and money for women.

“This idea is completely unfeasible and is a reflection of radical feminism run amuck on campus. It is doubtful that GW women would agree to go without shaving for a month much less a week,” Robbins told Campus Reform in an email.

A spokesman for the American Cancer Society recently confirmed that a number of women were indeed participating in Movember by “letting it grow.”

hair2For decades many feminists have argued that the pressure for women to remove body hair is a consequence of patriarchal dominance.

“Body hair, weight, Barbie, domestic violence, violence against women, male gaze, street harassment, to me it all feels connected,” a New York feminist said in February, according to Salon.

To me, hair removal is a kind of violence against women. Just one that we’re tricked into doing and paying for ourselves,” she continued.

Women’s health issues are not given enough attention? They need to mark these events on their calendars:

And lest the feminists forget, you can stand for women’s reproductive rights, contribute to raising funds, and celebrate Mother’s Day with Planned Parenthood!

mothers day


Black basketball player on college promotions deemed racist


Campus Reform: A Pennsylvania college’s new ad campaign which features a black man in a suit holding a basketball was deemed racist over the weekend.

Nyasha Junior, an Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament at the Howard University School of Divinity, took to Twitter to express her distaste over Harcum College’s new ads which are plastered on 23 buses in Philadelphia. The ads, which ask “Headed in the Right Direction?”, also feature a woman in scrubs and a stethoscope.


Others weighed in on Twitter that the ad is a “lazy and insensitive form of advertising insinuating Black [sic] men excel in athletics above all other fields.”

In a statement on Saturday, Harcum defended the ads, saying it was “proud” of its “diverse student body.” Forty-two percent of the Harcum student body is African-American.

“Our advertising regularly portrays a variety of male and female students in different majors and with different ethnic backgrounds,” a Harcum administrator told Campus Reform in an email. “The one image of a student with a basketball is a tribute to and a promotion of our sports management major and our basketball team that went to the NJCAA [National Junior College Athletic Association] Final Four championships last year.”

Gale Martin, Director of Communications for Harcum, told Campus Reform on Monday that the contested ad is part of a suite of ads promoting the college on SEPTA, Pennsylvania’s public transportation system.

Martin shared with Campus Reform other advertisements running in the 2014 Main Line Chamber of Commerce Directory and in Metro, which is Philadelphia’s largest paper in terms of circulation. The ads feature both men and women of different racial backgrounds, sans sporting equipment.


On Twitter, Harcum requested a phone call with Junior to discuss the ads, but she declined, demanding a public statement instead. “I think that Harcum College should be more careful given the negative stereotypes of African-American men as excelling in athletics but not in academics,” Junior told Campus Reform.

Martin said that student leaders at Harcum are meeting to discuss the ads and their implications.

Harcum is a two-year independent school located in Bryn Mawr, Pa., outside of Philadelphia. Around 1,700 students attend Harcum from seven states and eight countries, according to its website.


Maryland public schools delete Christmas from calendar


Christmas no longer exists in the Montgomery County school district in Maryland.

Kyle Olsen reports for EAGnews, Nov. 12, 2014, that the school district is stripping Christmas from its official calendar after Muslim parents complained. So the school board voted 7-1 to stop recognizing Christian and Jewish religious holidays. Although the schools will still have holidays in December, they will now be called “winter break” and “student holidays,” instead of Christmas and Yom Kippur.

But that isn’t enough to satisfy Muslims who demand recognition of and “parity” for the Muslim holiday of Eid.

WTOP reports that Saqib Ali, co-chair of Equality for Eid, says, “Equality is really what we’re looking for. Simply saying we’re not going to call this Christmas, and we’re not going to call this Yom Kippur, and still closing the schools, that’s not equality.” CAIR isn’t happy either. Its representative Zainab Chaudry complains that “What’s really concerning to us is that similar conditions weren’t placed on any other faith community.”

According to NBC 4, school employee Samira Hussein has campaigned for 20 years to have the Muslim holiday added to the school calendar, saying “The Eid is just the same exact as Christmas day or Easter day or Yom Kippur.”

Michael Durso

Michael Durso

School board member Michael Durso says unless the Muslims’ complaints are addressed, the district “comes off as insensitive, and I just think we cannot afford to be in that light.” Blah, blah, blah.

Durso is a former principal of four successive public schools. His phone no. is 301-924-3169; email address is

Here’s contact info for Montgomery County public schools’ Board of Education:

President: Philip Kaufmann
850 Hungerford Drive, Room 123
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Tel: 301-279-3617
Fax: 301-279-3860

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Have You Heard Of “Amazon Echo”? This Is Amazing. I Think….

OK, now either this is the coolest thing ever, or really creepy.    :)   I really don’t know how to describe it. It’s like having a personal assistant in the house kinda. Here is a short description from the  The best is to watch the little U-Tube video. After the first vid is a second video which is a Parody of the real one. It’s called  “Amazon Echo (Early Beta Version) Let me know if you think this is cool or creepy.  


BTW it costs $ 199, and I just went to site and you have to request an invitation to purchase one.   ~Steve~


      Sunday 9 November 2014

Amazon’s Echo defies easy description. Actually, that’s not quite true: the easy way to describe it is “creepy as hell”. What’s trickier is explaining what it is.

"Can you hear me now"?

“Can you hear me now”?

The Echo (below) is a 20cm-tall black cylinder, that sits in your home and listens to everything you do. You will want it to do this, if Amazon’s marketing is to be believed, because it will be able to answer questions like, “who is Abraham Lincoln?” and perform simple tasks such as adding ice cream to your shopping or playing a Taylor Swift track. (You have to say the “wake word”, “Alexa”, before it will act on what it hears).

The device is like a hyped-up Siri or Google Now for your whole house. And it does have some impressive technology behind it, packing two speakers and seven microphones into its small case. But still, anyone who is comfortable with the idea of an always-on, Wifi-enabled obelisk listening to everything they say will probably be the first to die in the inevitable cyberwar of the 22nd century.

And that’s before we get to the fact that one of Amazon’s selling points for the device is that it’s “always getting smarter”. (Isn’t this how Terminator starts?)

But don’t think that just because you keep Echo out of your home that you’re safe. The same always-listening technology is already in a number of high-end mobile phones, from Apple’s iPhones to the latest Android phones from Google and Motorola (although it needs to be explicitly turned on before it will work). Even devices which you don’t purchase with the explicit aim of letting a major technology company track everything you say are still keeping an eye on you.

More Here

This is Echo For Real

Amazon Echo (Early Beta Version)

This is a spoof. Really funny.   :)

~Steve~                                                 H/T   My Kid