Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Officials at the high school in Lunenburg, Massachusetts have cancelled the remainder of its football season in the wake of an incident in which racially charged graffiti was sprayed onto the home of the team’s only black player. More from NBC News:
Lunenburg, Mass., School Superintendent Loxi Jo Calmes announced Monday that the “remaining football games of the season have been forfeited” — including the traditional Thanksgiving Day game — because of “racial harassment investigations.”
Racial slurs, including the N-word, were found Friday spray-painted on the foundation of the home of freshman and junior varsity athlete Isaac Phillips, 13 — the only black player on the Lunenburg Blue Knights football team, according to NBC affiliate WHDH. Isaac’s father is black and his mother is white, according to the Associated Press.
Anthony J. Phillips, Isaac’s father, told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette he is angry at Lunenburg officials who allegedly concealed racist remarks made by numerous Lunenburg football players during games.
“This is a few bad kids and the coaches are letting them do anything they want to do,” the father told the newspaper.
At a news conference Monday, Calmes thanked locals for gathering at a vigil Sunday night and standing behind Phillips and his family, who she said were victims of an “act of hate.”
Image: Football, via Shutterstock
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Friday, November 8th, 2013
Some parents who are unhappy with a Tennessee high school’s lunchtime program that separates students who are under-performing academically so they can receive additional instruction while they eat, calling the program “segregation” that is unfairly punishing kids who struggle academically. School officials, however, insist that the program has nothing to do with civil rights, and everything to do with education. More from The Huffington Post:
According to local outlet WSMV-TV, La Vergne High School in Rutherford County has been requiring some of its students to attend academic intervention classes during lunchtime, in an effort to raise the grades of struggling students. The outlet reported that some parents are not pleased with the school for forcing certain students eat in a separate location.
“I call it a civil rights violation and segregation, no doubt,” local parent Paul Morecraft told WSMV.
However, Rutherford County School District spokesperson James Evans told The Huffington Post over the phone that La Vergne administrators decided to hold academic interventions during lunch so that the program would not cut into class time. He also disputes WSMV-TV’s assertion that the program forces some La Vergne students to eat separately from others in the cafeteria.
According to Evans, every student in the school is given 25 minutes for lunch. After that time, students who need extra help take another 25 minutes to study in a “learning lab.” Students who are in good academic standing have the option of staying in the cafeteria or participating in other enrichment activities for the extra 25 minutes.
“One misconception is that students are losing their lunchtime or being made to eat in some separate location,” Evans told HuffPost. “They’re still eating in the cafeteria for 25 minutes.”
Students who are scoring below an 80 percent in any subject are required to attend academic intervention.
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Image: School double doors, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
Kevin Breel, at age 19, has given a TED talk in which he’s painfully honest about living with depression as a teenager, and feeling that stigmas that surround mental health were stopping him from asking for help. More from Today.com:
Like many of the 121 million people worldwide who suffer from depression, Breel said he was leading a double life. In high school, while everyone else saw a happy popular kid and star on the basketball court, deep inside there was a boy tortured by intense pain that kept ratcheting up.
“I’d look at the school,” Breel told Geist. “And I would know in my head that, ‘I’m about to walk in there and smile, laugh, high-five people, and put on a total front.’”
If you haven’t been depressed, there’s no way to understand it.
“Real depression isn’t being sad when something in your life goes wrong,” Breel says. “Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right.”
“I felt like I couldn’t be happy,” Breel added.
He believes his depression was triggered by the tragic loss of a best friend coupled with the divorce of his parents, and he turned his feelings of loss and anger inward.
“I started to, in a way, hate myself,” he said. “I felt so unhappy and I couldn’t explain why or justify why to anyone. So I didn’t feel like I could talk about it.”
As a teenager he used sports as a way to escape his pain. But his successes, instead of making him feel good, only underscored how bad he felt.
“We had just won a high school basketball championship, and I was leading scorer of the tournament,” Breel said. “I was first team all-star, and our team won the championship. I had everything that I had thought of for four years. And I realized that that wasn’t going to take away my pain.”
See Breel’s whole TED talk here:
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Friday, September 6th, 2013
Battery-powered e-cigarettes, which deliver nicotine through a vaporized mist rather than a lit cigarette, are gaining popularity among middle school and high school students, according to a new national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey showed that one in 10 high school students said they had tried the devices within the last year, which was double the number who said they had tried them in 2011. The New York Times has more:
In total, 1.8 million middle and high school students said they had tried e-cigarettes in 2012.
“This is really taking off among kids,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the C.D.C.
E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that deliver nicotine that is vaporized to form an aerosol mist. Producers promote them as a healthy alternative to smoking, but researchers say their health effects are not yet clear, though most acknowledge that they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. The Food and Drug Administration does not yet regulate them, though analysts expect that the agency will start soon.
Thomas Briant, executive director of the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, which represents 28,000 stores, said the study “raises too many unanswered questions,” for the data to be used for policy making. It was unclear, for example, whether students who tried e-cigarettes were using them regularly or only once. He pointed out that selling them to minors is now illegal in many states.
One of the biggest concerns among health officials is the potential for e-cigarettes to become a path to smoking among young people who otherwise would not have experimented. The survey found that most students who had tried e-cigarettes had also smoked cigarettes.
But one in five middle school students who said they had tried e-cigarettes reported never having smoked a conventional cigarette, raising fears that e-cigarettes, at least for some, could become a gateway. Among high school students, 7 percent who had tried an e-cigarette said they had never smoked a traditional cigarette.
Dr. Frieden said that the adolescent brain is more susceptible to nicotine, and that the trend of rising use could hook young people who might then move into more harmful products like conventional cigarettes.
Image: E-cigarette, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, June 6th, 2013
Dylan Meehan and Bradley Taylor, seniors at Carmel High School in New York state, are receiving widespread media attention after they won “Cutest Couple” in the school’s yearbook. Though the school did not publicize–or think there was anything unusual about–the same-sex couple receiving the award, the news went viral when it was posted to the Internet. More from CNN:
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And until the news went viral, the decision, says Carmel Principal Kevin Carroll, “hasn’t really been a big deal in the school.”
“I thought at this stage as we are now, it shouldn’t be a news event. All the reactions are coming from outside. The yearbooks were distributed Wednesday, and we didn’t get any calls until someone posted it online,” Carroll, whose school is about 65 miles north of New York City, told CNN Tuesday.
Taylor, 17, said he sees the honor as a great achievement and a turning point for their school.
“At first we weren’t able to run because for the title, they were only allowed to pick a boy and a girl,” he told CNN. “But a bunch of our friends made an uproar, and they changed it. So now you vote ‘student one’ and ‘student two.’ And I guess a lot of people voted for us and we won. So many people came up to us saying, ‘You guys are going to win.’”
A mutual friend introduced the two last year during a Brown University visit. Later on, they started dating.
“I came out to my family a week or two after I started dating Brad,” said Meehan, 18. “He was the one encouraging me to come out to them.”
“I feel like both of our families always knew but I told my parents a month before we started dating,” said Taylor.