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Teacher berates boy after not standing for Pledge of Allegiance

A 12-year-old student in Florida claims he was scolded by his teacher when he did not stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance. 

“I don’t believe in standing up for it, because there’s more than one religion,” sixth grader Mark Dawson said to WFLA. “I believe in more than one religion and more than one nation."

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Dawson attends Liberty Middle School in Hillsborough County, where the school district's policy states that students do not have to take part in the pledge, "as long as they don't get in the way of other students who want to say it," WFLA reports. 

Dawson said  that after his teacher yelled at him, she then told him to leave the classroom. A school spokesperson said to WFLA that the teacher "was in the wrong" and allegedly did not know about the school policy. 

Dawson's family members told WFLA that they might sue the school district for infringing on the boy's rights, according to WFLA. 

Read more at WFLA.com 

Student may lose leg after alleged incident with school employee

A 13-year-old boy may have a leg amputated at an Atlanta hospital as a result of an injury he sustained from a school contract employee, the boy’s attorney said Tuesday.

The injury happened in September when the student was “thrown to the floor” multiple times at a Columbus school, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reported.

The amputation is scheduled for Tuesday night at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, attorney Renee Tucker, who represents the boy and his mother, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Egleston officials confirmed that the boy is at the hospital, but they declined to discuss his condition, citing privacy regulations.

The boy was enrolled in the district’s AIM program when the incident allegedly happened at Edgewood Student Services Center. The program is for students who have been temporarily removed from their regular school because of violations of behavior rules, the Ledger-Enquirer reported.

A Muscogee County School District spokeswoman issued a statement on the incident.

“We extend our thoughts and prayers to our student who is undergoing medical treatment and to his family,” spokeswoman Valerie Fuller said. “We are committed to conducting a thorough review of the alleged incident at the AIM/Edgewood Student Services Center to determine all of the facts.

“The person involved in the alleged incident at AIM/Edgewood Student Services Center is not an employee of the Muscogee County School District. Bryant Mosley was provided by Mentoring and Behavioral Services, a contract service provider, to the Muscogee County School District. Mr. Mosley is not presently providing services to the Muscogee County School District.”

The boy was trying to leave the classroom for the main office so he could call his mother to pick him up when the alleged incident happened, Tucker said. The contract employee stopped the boy and slammed him to the floor to prevent him from leaving, Tucker said. The student said he was thrown to the floor a second time when he tried to leave again.

The district’s statement said, “It is our understanding that there were issues concerning the safety of the child and others in the room, which called for the use of restraint per state guidance. Physical restraint is allowed in Georgia public schools and educational programs in those situations in which the student is an immediate danger to himself or others and the student is not responsive to less intensive behavioral interventions including verbal directives or other de-escalation techniques.”

No Homecoming King or Queen at this high school and people are crying ‘shame’ at the students

Officials at Rumson-Fair Haven High School in Monmouth County, New Jersey, cancelled the annual tradition of electing a king and queen of the school to be presented at the school’s homecoming football game.

In the days leading up to Friday night’s game, RFH teachers and administrators discovered that the students had rigged the vote in order to embarrass two students who may not have otherwise been elected together.

The prank would be complete when the unlikely duo appeared together at Friday’s homecoming game.

Several parents spoke to WABC about the decision to cancel the traditional fall activity.

“It’s disappointing that they would be mean-spirited to other students,” Jennifer Sullivan said.

Another parent commented that the whole ordeal was sad.

That same parent’s son said that cancelling the event was overall a loss for the school.

“It’s tradition, there’s no point in cancelling it,”Joseph Sestito III said.

Superintendent Pete Righi didn’t show much sympathy for the cancelled tradition and explained to Red Bank Green that there would be no tolerance for “mass bullying.”

“They’ve rigged the voting,” Righi said of the students. “I’m frankly embarrassed that it happens.”

According to Righi, it seemed unlikely that the school would explore future homecoming games, and that he believed the tradition had “outlived its usefulness.”

WATCH: High school athlete sings national anthem after recording fails

A high school volleyball player blew her team away when she stepped up to sing the national anthem after the audio system failed.

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Marina Garcia is a senior at Holmes High School in San Antonio. As she and her teammates prepared for the national anthem before a volleyball game, they noticed the CD wasn’t working.

So Garcia stepped up to the microphone and sang the anthem instead, wowing everyone in the gymnasium with her voice. A video of the moment was posted to social media, where it quickly went viral, getting hundreds of likes.

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Garcia says she was proud to be able to do it, especially during a time when there has been so much controversy surrounding the national anthem.

“I have family members that were in the military that fought for freedom, and just to see other people that don’t understand that is kind of offending to me, but I understand it’s their opinion,” Garcia told KSAT.

>> Click here to watch the patriotic moment

The heartwarming reason a police chief follows a school bus for special-needs children every day

Before sunrise every morning, Ralls, Texas, Police Chief Steven Longoria follows a school bus as it picks up seven special-needs students.

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“It started probably mid to last school year,” Longoria told KLBK.

Longoria said he got several complaints from concerned parents that people were not stopping for the bus as kids were boarding in the dark, early hours of the morning.

“Safety is a top priority, especially for special-needs kids,” Longoria said. “It’s just something we have to do. It’s hard enough to keep a lot of them on the bus. You don’t want one getting off and getting hit by a car that doesn’t want to stop.”

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Longoria lives in a small town and knows all the kids on the school bus. His kids often play with them at his house.

He said he’s happy to go the extra mile in the morning to make sure everyone gets to school safely.

“We have pretty good citizen support here,” Chief Longoria said. “But to know the kids appreciate it as well as the adults – it makes us feel like we are doing the right thing here.”

Student finds security guard's loaded gun unattended in men's restroom

A letter was sent home to parents Thursday after a student found a security guard’s loaded gun unattended in the men’s restroom at Ringgold High School in Washington County, district officials said.

Superintendent Karen Polkabla said the student immediately reported the discovery of the loaded gun to a teacher. The teacher contacted Executive Officer Colleen Spahr, who put the weapon in the security office safe.  

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Polkabla said it was determined that the weapon belonged to another security officer within the district. She said measures are being taken to ensure no similar incidents happen, and commended the student.  

"I must praise the student. The student deserves praise. He immediately went out and got a teacher,” she said.  

Polkabla released the following formal statement:

"Student safety is very important to the Ringgold School District. Policies and procedures have been developed and implemented by the Ringgold School District police to protect the students in each of our buildings. Today, one of those procedures was not followed, as a result a service weapon was left unsecured. Since this is a personnel matter, I cannot comment any further. "Highest praises go to the students and school personnel who followed established procedures which insured our students were safe at all times. We will continue to work diligently to protect our students."

Ringgold High School Principal Jason Minniti also addressed the incident in the following letter to parents, which was posted on the district’s website:

“Dear Parents,   “Recognizing parents' rights and needs for timely and accurate information about student safety, I want to share with you an incident that occurred today at Ringgold High School.   “An incident regarding a weapon occurred at the high school today.  I want you to have accurate information first.   “This afternoon, a student reported to a teacher that he discovered a weapon in the men's restroom near the front of the building.  The teacher immediately contacted Executive Officer Colleen Spahr who secured the weapon in the security office safe.  Upon investigation, it has been determined that this weapon belongs to another security officer within the district.  Proper measures are being made to ensure nothing like this happens again.   “As with all matters of student safety, we have taken this very seriously and have acted accordingly.  This is one area where I need your help.  Please encourage your child to let a teacher, administrator, or any school staff member know if a situation exists which could ever place them or others in danger.   “Only by working as a school community in partnership with parents can we create and maintain the level of safety and security that we want for our children and that they certainly deserve.   “Sincerely, Jason Minniti, Ringgold High School Principal”

Teacher arrested for allowing students to fight

A teacher in Oklahoma was arrested last month after she reportedly let two of her students fight.

Police said Julie Boshers, 52, enabled child abuse by injury.

Boshers has taught with the school for 10 years.

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Police said the teacher knew that two students were going to fight, but instead of stopping the fight, she and several students went outside to watch.

Another student reportedly stopped the fight.

Boshers was booked into the Sequoyah County Jail.


Tennessee mom opposes textbook that includes Islam

A Tennessee mother is objecting to a social studies textbook used in her local school district, alleging that it promotes Islam.

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Speaking at a Sullivan County School Board meeting on Monday night, Michelle Edmisten demanded that the district remove the textbook. Edmisten claimed that her seventh-grade daughter’s “personal religious beliefs were violated” with lessons about Islam, the Kingsport Times News reported.

Edmisten said that her daughter, who attends Bluff City Middle School in Blountville, took zeros on the section on Islamic history after a teacher didn’t allow her to opt out of the curriculum and standards and do alternative studies.

Those are zeros that we proudly took and we will not compromise,” Edmisten said.  

Edmisten was the only parent to speak about the issue. 

Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski and Board of Education Chairman Michael Hughes said the system is exploring a religious accommodation option since there is no “opt out” allowed in Tennessee.

The school board said any replacement textbook would have to meet current state standards. According to the state board of education’s website, those standards include educating students about Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism in the sixth grade, and Islam in the seventh grade.

The National Council for the Social Studies called the study of religions an “essential” part of the curriculum.

Top job openings will require certifications, college degrees

A new study shows that in the next five years, Washington State will grow its jobs by nearly three times the national average, but that students do not have the credentials to fill those positions.

Between 2016 and 2021, a study commissioned by Washington Roundtable predicts 740,000 job openings. Most will be filled by people with postsecondary education or training.

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The study, conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, then found that only 31 percent of Washington students in the high school class of 2006 actually earned a postsecondary credential.

“We live here, we work here, our kids go to school here, and we want as many of our Washington kids to be able to qualify for the Washington jobs,” said Neil Strege, vice president of Washington Roundtable.

Of the 740,000 job openings:

-20 percent will be entry-level positions.

-45 percent will be median-salary pathway jobs, which can lead to higher-paying careers.

-35 percent will be career jobs, with higher starting salaries.

In each of those categories, here are the top 10 most in-demand jobs in the next five years:

Entry-level Jobs:

1. food prep and serving

2. waiter and waitress

3. farmworker and laborer crop/nursery/greenhouse

4. janitors and cleaners

5. maids and housekeeping

6. landscaping

7. childcare worker

8. personal care aide

9. counter attendants, café/concession/coffee shop

10. food preparation workers

Pathway Jobs:

1. retail salesperson

2. cashier

3. customer service rep

4. laborer, freight, stock and material mover

5. general office clerk

6. carpenter

7. construction laborer

8. teacher assistant

9. stock clerks

10. secretaries and admin assistants

Career Jobs:

1. software app developer

2. registered nurse

3. accountant and auditor

4. sales rep, wholesale and manufacturing

5. general and ops manager

6. elementary school teacher

7. computer programmer

8. management analyst

9. computer systems analyst

10. electrician

“Those blue collar jobs now require higher skills than they have in the past. So if you want to become a welder, you have to get a credential to become a welder,” said Strege.

Washington Roundtable’s goal is to more than double the number of students obtaining postsecondary certification or degrees by 2030.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound are starting to make that change in their own way.

Louis Garcia, the CEO and president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, said this school year, they launched a program to mentor 35 freshmen at West Seattle High School.

He said some students, especially from low-income backgrounds, have significant barriers in getting to college, which sets them behind for earning high-paying jobs later.

“They may have pressures from home to come back, to help support the family, to help feed some siblings, and so there’s a pull to get away from college,” Garcia said.

The program promises to have one-on-one mentors for these 35 students through high school and two years after high school. They have weekly workshops and hold face-to-face meetings with mentors once a month.

They also take the students into corporate office settings, which can sometimes be the student’s first experience in that type of environment.

“What does it feel like? What are the sounds, the conversations?” Garcia said.

Soccer team takes over when national anthem doesn't play

A Pennsylvania high school soccer team wasn't going to let staffing problems silence the national anthem.

When the person who normally plays a recording of the "Star Spangled Banner" wasn't at the stadium at Greater Johnstown High School, the players stepped in and brought their voices together for the pre-game song, WJAC reported.

"Our person that normally plays the national anthem wasn't there. We didn't have anyone to play it, so we started to sing it instead," Michael Marino said.

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Teammates said it was Justin Wiesheier's idea.

"Well, the national anthem, they said, is not going to be able to be played tonight. I said you know every sport has to have the national anthem, so I started singing the national anthem, and before you knew it the whole team was singing, and everybody rose and looked at the flag," Wiesheier said.

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He said it was just instinct, and the video of the team singing was posted to social media, going viral.

The national anthem wouldn't play, Greater Johnstown High School Boys Soccer team took over #trojanpridePosted by Miranda Bracken Wiesheier on Monday, October 3, 2016

Parents said it was a proud moment as they watched the boys honor America, WJAC reported.

"You should feel proud to live in America. Even if it's not going to play, you should still sing the national anthem before a sporting event or anything really. We start the day with the Pledge of Allegiance, why wouldn't we start football games or soccer games with the national anthem," Lukas Enos said.

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