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Education

    Preschool officials in Canada deemed a 3-year-old girl's sundress to be inappropriate, leaving parents disappointed and bewildered. >> Read more trending news  Sadie Stonehouse told CTV News that while the sundress goes down to her daughter Lola's ankles, officials said the shoulder straps were not wide enough. School policy requires straps to be at least two inches wide, CTV News reported.  Stonehouse said that in order for Lola to be able to wear the sundress to preschool again, school officials told her she'd have to wear a shirt underneath it. Stonehouse chose the dress for her daughter because of a heat wave the Winnipeg area was experiencing, so she said adding a layer defeats the purpose of wearing the outfit. The mother was at a loss of how she would explain to her young daughter why she couldn't wear the dress to preschool anymore, CTV News reported. An official at Little Years Nursery School told CTV News that the preschool follows the dress code of the area's school division, but a Pembina Trails School Division spokesperson said there is no official dress code. 
  • After enduring the loss of a loved one, a mother and daughter from Michigan are marking a happy milestone together. >> Read more trending news  Linda and Becky Dancer graduated together this month from Cleary University, WXYZ reported. For mother Linda, the degree was completed 42 years after she began her higher education. She was prompted to join her daughter in college after her husband, Dan, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2014. Linda told WXYZ that she worked much harder to earn the degree now than she had when she first started four decades ago. Mother and daughter are proud of their individual and joint accomplishments. Linda hopes to increase her income and says a master’s degree may be in her future.
  • Looking to brighten their kids’ days, a group of parents at Mary Moore Elementary School in Arlington got together and painted uplifting messages in the school’s bathrooms, KENS5 reports.  >> Read more trending news  Colorful flowers and motivational sayings now decorate the bathroom stalls, saying things like “Your mistakes don’t define you” and “Every day is a chance to be better.”  >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  The school posted pictures of the parents’ work to Facebook.  The Facebook post has since been shared nearly 158,000 times and garnered nearly 6,000 comments. 
  • Law enforcement officials are scheduled to give an update of their investigation into a deadly school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead. The update is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday near the school in Parkland, Florida, an affluent town in northwest Broward County, about 15 miles from Boca Raton. >> LIVE UPDATES: Florida school shooting suspect charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder The suspected gunman, Nikolas Jacob Cruz, 19, had been a student there recently “but was expelled from the school the previous year,” the Broward County Sheriff’s Office said. Cruz was booked into the Broward County jail and is facing 17 counts of premeditated murder.  At 5-foot-7 and 131 pounds, he was expected to make his first appearance before a judge later Thursday morning in Broward County court. >> Florida school shooting: Football coach shot, killed while protecting students hailed as hero Police said Cruz concealed himself in the crowd and was among those running out of the school after the shooting. He was captured about 2 miles away near a swimming pool in the Wyndham Lakes community across the Sawgrass Expressway from the school. Individuals with information are encouraged to call the FBI tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit www.FBI.gov/ParklandShooting. >> PHOTOS: Shooting at high school in Parkland, Florida A day after 17 people lost their lives in a storm of bullets at a South Florida high school, police are still trying to piece together what happened.  The investigation of the high school massacre on Valentine’s Day stretches throughout the state, including one city in Palm Beach County.  The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office; the Broward County Sheriff’s Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and FBI are investigating a mobile home south of Lantana Road and off Congress Avenue.  >> Read more trending news  Irving Beck, who lives in Lantana Cascade Mobile Home Park, said he got home around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and law enforcement was already at the scene.  He said authorities told him it was some kind of explosive at one of the residences.
  • Students taking English classes in a Minnesota city will no longer have to read two American classics or write reports about them, the Duluth News Tribune reported. >> Read more trending news “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which contain racial slurs, will no longer be required reading for students in the Duluth Public School district’s English classes next fall. However, the books are not banned: They will be available in the school as optional reading for students, the News Tribune reported. The decision comes two months after a Virginia school temporarily banned the two novels after a parent complained that her high school-age son was negatively impacted by the books’ racial slurs. In October, the school board in Biloxi, Mississippi, removed “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which won a Pulitzer Prize for author Harper Lee, from the curriculum of an eighth-grade class, the Sun Herald reported. The school, however, reversed is decision in late October, but required students to get a permission slip from their parents in order to participate in the class, the Sun Herald reported. In Minnesota, school officials said the decision to remove the two novels was in response to concerns from students and parents. >> Virginia schools ban books for racial slurs “The feedback that we’ve received is that it makes many students feel uncomfortable,” Michael Cary, director of curriculum and instruction for the Duluth Public School district, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “Conversations about race are an important topic, and we want to make sure we address those conversations in a way that works well for all of our students.” Cary told the News Tribune that district leaders believed other literary options could impart the same lessons as the two novels. 'We felt that we could still teach the same standards and expectations through other novels that didn't require students to feel humiliated or marginalized by the use of racial slurs,' he said. Stephan Witherspoon, president of the Duluth chapter of the NAACP, called the move “long overdue, like 20 years overdue,” he told the News Tribune. The literature has “oppressive language for our kids” Witherspoon told the Star Tribune. “Our kids don’t need to read the ‘N’ word in school. They deal with that every day out in the community and in their life. Racism still exists in a very big way.” A racial slur appears 219 times in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” published in 1885 by Mark Twain; and 48 times in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” published in 1960. Witherspoon told the News Tribune that it was wrong to include the books in Duluth’s curriculum. “There are a lot more authors out there with better literature that can do the same thing that does not degrade our people,” Witherspoon said. Cary said Duluth’s teachers will play a key role in selecting new texts for students to read. “We’re doing this out of consideration of the impacts on our students and specifically different groups of students in our schools, and especially our communities of color,” Cary told the Star Tribune.
  • A Florida couple surveying damage after Hurricane Irma last September found a message in a bottle, sent more than three decades ago by a class of children in Scotland, FlKeysNews reported. >> Read more trending news On Sept. 29 last year, Ruth and Lee Huenniger were walking near their Key Largo home, inspecting street lamps. Ruth found a plastic bottle lying near a chain link fence and noticed there was a note inside. “We are learning all about pirates. We would like to see how far this message goes. Please write and tell us where you found this bottle,” the note said. The note was signed by Class 2/3, Chapelpark School, Forfar, Angus, Scotland, FlKeysNews reported. The Huennigers decided to write back to the school, whose class sent the bottle hurtling into the North Sea in the 1980s, WSVN reported. “I thought, ‘Let’s see if this gets all the way back to Scotland,'” Ruth Huenniger told WSVN. “I mean, I’d never heard of Forfar.” “Your message was found in Key Largo, Florida, USA, on Sept. 29, 2017,” the new note read. “Hope this was a fun experience for your class.” This time, the note was sent through the mail. On Oct. 23, the Huenningers received a letter from Fiona Cargill in Scotland. The retired teacher said her class had written the note sometime in the 1980s, FlKeysNews reported. “We forgot to put a date on the letter, but would you believe it, that bottle was sent on its journey more than 30 years ago,” Cargill wrote. “The pupils who took part in this will now be in their mid-thirties!” Chapelpark Primary School closed in 2008 and is now an apartment building. The postman who was given the Huennigers’ letter for his route knew this and delivered it to the town’s new school, Whitehills Primary, FlKeysNews reported. “The staff did an investigation and discovered it was my class,” Cargill wrote. “I retired from there just over a year ago and was so, so excited about this wonderful true life story.” Cargill said her class of children ages 6 to 8, had studied pirates and decided to send several bottles. “They covered them with sticky plastic to keep them from getting wet, put them in bottles and then got a fisherman to put them in the North Sea,” said Cargill, who added there are at least three more bottles that were thrown into the ocean.
  • A Georgia State University soccer player who was suspended from the team after she used a racial epithet on social media has withdrawn from the school, officials said. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Georgia State soccer player suspended over racial slur used on social media Some students had called for the expulsion of 18-year-old freshman defender Natalia Martinez after the epithet appeared on her Finsta page, a secret version of Instagram that is growing in popularity among teens. >> On AJC.com: What is a ‘Finsta'? Teens and their secret Instagram accounts “As a progressive, diverse university, we ... feel like this sort of behavior should not be tolerated,” said India Bridgeforth, who created a petition demanding the university take a tougher approach with Martinez. The petition had garnered more than 500 signatures by Monday afternoon when the university announced Martinez had “officially withdrawn.” Associate athletic director Mike Holmes told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that officials were made aware of Martinez’s post Friday morning — just days after the University of Alabama expelled a 19-year-old student who posted a video of a racist rant on her Finsta page. >> Read more trending news  That student, Harley Barber, uploaded a second video on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in response to people who were upset by the language and threatened those who wanted to report her fake Instagram account, The Washington Post reported.  In a statement, Georgia State University said the school does “not tolerate the language (Martinez) used in her post.”
  • Some Ohio lawmakers want elementary school students to be able to print letters by the third grade and write documents in “legible cursive handwriting” by the time they finish fifth grade. The Ohio House could vote Dec. 5 on a bill to require a return of teaching cursive writing >> Read more trending news In February, Ohio House Education Committee Chairman Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, introduced a bill to mandate that kindergarteners through fifth-graders be instructed in handwriting. RELATED: Cursive returns to Louisiana schools with new law Schools have dialed back handwriting instruction to make more time for core academic requirements, such as helping struggling readers in first through third grades. RELATED: What happened last time lawmakers tried to bring cursive back? Cursive instruction is included in the state’s “model curriculum” for grades 3 and 4 and the State Board of Education passed a resolution in early 2014 in support of teaching cursive. But it isn’t a hard-and-fast requirement. RELATED: Other states have mandated cursive for public schools The same bill was introduced in 2015 but failed to pass before the two-year legislative session ended. Advocates of mandating cursive instruction say it helps hone fine motor skills, is needed for signing important records , and comes in handy when reading historical handwritten documents.
  • Police are investigating reports that two substitute teachers at a Texas middle school caused children to injure their hands Thursday by forcing them to crawl on an asphalt track during a physical education class, said Florence Police Chief Adam Marsh. Charges have not been filed, Marsh told the Austin American-Statesman. >> Read more trending news Marsh said he has seen blistering and bruising on the hands of four children, who were in a sixth-grade class at Florence Middle School. He declined to release the names of the two teachers being investigated. READ: Georgetown preschool teacher accused of slapping 4-year-old Marsh said two sets of parents filed complaints with the police at 6 p.m. Thursday saying their children were forced to do bear crawls around the track. A bear crawl is done on the hands and feet without the knees touching the ground. The exercise is used for endurance and strength-building, Marsh said. Police are continuing to investigate the case, which involves many children, he said. They will submit their findings to the Williamson County District Attorney’s office to see if charges should be filed, Marsh said. He said Child Protective Services also is involved in the investigation. He declined to comment further on the case. Lisa Block, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, said the state agency is working with the police to investigate the incident. One of the parents who filed a complaint with police, Nancy Gonzalez, spoke through an interpreter during a phone interview with the Austin American-Statesman Thursday. Gonzalez said that when she picked up her 11-year-old daughter from school Thursday, her daughter had bruised hands. Gonzalez said her daughter told her that two substitute teachers forced her and her class to run and do bear crawls for half an hour around an asphalt track as punishment for what another student had done. Gonzalez said she was “horrified” to see her child’s injuries and went to the school office to talk to someone, but that an official there wouldn’t talk to her. Florence School District Superintendent Paul Michalewicz said Friday school officials are cooperating with police and also are conducting their own investigation. He declined further comment.
  • 4 p.m. CST Wednesday: Several students who walked out of Fulmore Middle School in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday told the Austin American-Statesman they were protesting because a teacher in a Social and Emotional Learning class told a student, who was speaking Spanish at the time, to “go back to Mexico.” The teacher made the statement about two weeks ago, according to students who were in her classroom at the time, and some Fulmore students felt that administrators did not adequately address what this teacher said. In a letter to the school’s community, Fulmore Principal Lisa Bush acknowledged that 'an adult staff member made an insensitive statement to a student. Comments such as that are not tolerated at any level and appropriate actions were taken.' >> Read more trending news Bush’s letter did not specify what was said nor what action was taken. Multiple students said the school building was damaged during the protest. Students mentioned a window was broken, part of a fence was knocked down and a ceiling tile in a hallway was punched. At least one school board member commented on the situation.  “I am confident the superintendent and his team are gathering the facts and responding appropriately,” said school board member Geronimo Rodriguez, who represents South Austin. “I expect a quick response. This is a teachable moment for our diverse community regarding our culture of treating people with dignity and respect.” ORIGINAL STORY: A group of students walked out of the Fulmore Middle School building as part of a protest Wednesday, according to school officials. School officials said students are now back in their classrooms.