Contrary to popular opinion, duct tape does not fix children

The Athens (Georgia) Banner-Herald reports:

A Whitehead Road Elementary School paraprofessional is no longer on the job after taping a student’s mouth shut in the school.

The aide is on administrative leave pending the outcome of a Clarke County School District investigation into the incident, said Anisa Sullivan Jimenez, a spokeswoman for the school district.

The aide was sent home after the school’s principal learned of the incident on Thursday.

The principal also notified the child’s parents of what had happened, Jimenez said.

Jimenez would not release the names of the aide or the student, citing federal privacy laws.

The paraprofessional taped the student’s mouth with duct tape to keep the child quiet, she said.

But using tape to keep a child quiet is against school policy, she said.


Another PTA embezzler sentenced to jail

Don’t try this at home.

From the Roanoke (Virginia) Times:

Despite repaying the almost $25,000 she stole and reading a tearful apology to Cave Spring Elementary School in court, Melissa Brown Neal earned a sentence of six months in jail for embezzling and forging checks from the school’s PTA.

Neal, 38, was sentenced Monday in Roanoke County Circuit Court to four years for two felony convictions of forgery and eight years for two felony convictions of embezzlement. Judge Jim Swanson suspended all but 180 days in jail and four years probation from that 12-year sentence. Neal will learn next week whether she will be eligible to serve the 180 days on house arrest, which would allow her to continue to work.

Neal’s attorney, Tony Anderson, had asked the judge not to send her to jail because she had repaid the group in full and given back to the community.

“Once all this came to light, you did everything right,” Swanson told Neal before stating her sentence. “It doesn’t erase that what you did occurred, what you did was wrong, what you did was recurrent.”

Swanson added that he sentenced her to jail because of the message it would send back to the teachers, students and families who know about the situation and had supported the PTA.

Neal, a mother and accountant, was the group’s volunteer treasurer since 2006. During the 2009-2010 school year she wrote checks to herself and signed the name of the PTA president, according to court documents.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Because the truth hurts, Alabama prison bans Pulitzer-winnning book

I ran across this story on Douglas Blackmon’s facebook page, and it deserves repeating:

Prison officials in Alabama will not allow an inmate to read the Pulitzer-prize winning book that Blackmon wrote about the South’s infamous convict-lease system. They claim Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II  is “too incendiary.”

The inmate, a white man serving a life sentence, has sued over the state’s refusal to let him read the book. From the New York Times:

(Attorney Bryan) Stevenson, who is also the director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, said he considered the lawsuit to be less about the rights of people in prison but primarily about the country’s refusal to own up to its racial history

Stanley Washington, a former inmate who is now a caseworker for the equal justice group, said that at the Alabama prison where he was serving a sentence in 2001, inmates were forbidden to watch the mini-series “Roots.”

“They didn’t give a reason,” Mr. Washington said. “We figured they thought it would rile up the blacks against the whites.”

To read the entire article, click here.

I’ve read Blackmon’s book, and participated in a panel discussion about it with Blackmon that was sponsored by the Atlanta Journal-Constiution.  It is a painful read, but essential for those who want to understand the South. (By the way, in the movie version of Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara uses convict labor to rebuild her fortunes–but the prisoners are white! Which is exactly NOT the way the system worked.)

For those of you that don’t know about the convict-lease, it was a method of forcing black men after the civil war to work on plantations, railroads, and in coal mines. Brutal, inhumane conditions were the norm. How bad was it? Here’s the opening passage on the subject from The Way It Was in the South: The Black Experience in Georgia, by Donald L. Grant:

Being a peon was not the worst thing that could happen to a black in Georgia.  After the Civil War and until it was abolished in 1908, the convict-lease system became, next to lynching, the most brutal manifestation of black oppression in the South.  The forced labor of its mostly black victims mainly benefited a small ruling elite. Leased convicts were prisoners who were given, rented, or leased by a governmental unit to individuals and companies that forced them to work, usually under atrocious conditions. Lessees wanted to maximize profits and were not held accountable for the prisoners’ condition.  As a result, the brutalization of prisoners was unparalleled. Driven to work by the lash– often when sick, underfed, and provided with miserable quarters — many died while serving their sentences.  Southern historian Fletcher M. Green called it “a system that left a trail of dishonor and death that could find a parallel only in the persecutions of the Middle Ages or in the prison camps of Nazi Germany.”

Fergit, Hell.


E=MC (Hammered)?

This could shake the foundations of our understanding of physics. Zee implications for time travel are obvious! But go to work, anyway.

From the Associated Press:

GENEVA (AP) — A startling find at one of the world’s foremost laboratories that a subatomic particle seemed to move faster than the  speed of light has scientists around the world rethinking Albert Einstein and one of the foundations of physics.

Now they are planning to put the finding to further high-speed tests to see if a revolutionary shift in explaining the workings of the universe is needed – or if the European scientists made a mistake.

To read more, click here.

Obama will waive parts of NCLB, beginning the end of Bush’s brainchild

Georgia is one of the few states poised to immediately request a waiver, and they’re  working on it.

From the New York Times:

President Obama on Friday will offer to waive central provisions of the No Child Left Behindlaw for states that embrace his educational agenda, essentially ending his predecessor’s signature accountability measure, which has defined public school life nationwide for nearly a decade.

In a White House speech, Mr. Obama plans to invite states that agree to overhaul low-performing schools and adopt more rigorous teacher evaluation systems to apply for relief from the Bush-era law’s 2014 deadline for bringing all students to proficiency in reading and math, as well as other unpopular provisions, senior administration officials said Thursday.

“To help states, districts and schools that are ready to move forward with education reform, our administration will provide flexibility from the law in exchange for a real commitment to undertake change,” Mr. Obama said in a statement released on Thursday. Education Secretary Arne Duncan will provide details of the waiver process in a lengthy guidance document to be sent to state governments on Friday, officials said.

“This is the beginning of the end of the No Child era,” said Jack Jennings, president of the Center on Education Policy, a nonpartisan research group.

To read the entire article, click here.

One INTENDED consequence of Obamacare

Say what you will about healthcare reform, but say this: “Number of Insured Young Adults on the Rise.”

And during a recession, no less. College students, young adults, and their parents are some of the biggest beneficiaries of healthcare reform.

The issue of extending healthcare for children under parents’ policies until they’re age 26 received little mention during the contentious healthcare debates—and afterward, for that matter. It’s one that  opponents of “Obamacare” aren’t too fond of talking about.  But if you want to repeal Obamacare, you want to repeal this, as well. Or do you?

From Inside Higher Ed:

About 1 million additional 19- to 25-year-olds obtained health insurance in the first three months of 2011, at least in part thanks to a provision in President Obama’s health care overhaul legislation, which raised by six years the age at which young adults are no longer eligible for coverage under their parents’ plans. The total of young adults with health insurance rose from 66.1 percent of the relevant age group in 2010 to 69.6 percent in 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday; however, it is unclear how many of these newly covered 19- to 26-year-olds are college students. The news was celebrated by Young Invincibles, the health care advocacy group that has backed Obama’s legislation, which would also subject student health plans provided through colleges and universities to additional provisions beginning in the 2012 academic year.