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Ohio school district trains staff to shoot intruders

Intruders beware: Thirty-two teachers and staff in Ohio’s Mad River Local Schools are now armed and ready to kill.

>> Read more trending news 

When school gets back in session Monday, each school building will have a number of the trained staff members who are able to access hidden gun safes, the combinations of which are known exclusively to the individual staff member and the superintendent.

MORE: Mad River will give school staff access to guns

The district is the first in Montgomery County to assemble an “armed and trained response team,” said Superintendent Chad Wyen. But he said the district is part of an emerging trend.

“It’s way more prevalent than people realize,” Wyen said of the district’s decision to arm employees. “Sixty-three out of 88 counties in Ohio have a district with a response team.”

RELATED: New law to ban cellphone use while driving in Tenn. school zones

In southwest Ohio, Wyen has worked with Sidney City Schools, in Miami County, which has a similar plan. Wyen has also worked with Georgetown Exempted Village Schools, in Brown County, east of Cincinnati.

RELATED: Latest move in school safety? A panic button

Mad River Local Schools staff members interviewed to join the volunteer team, then attended one of two courses offering Ohio Peace Officer Training, which is the basic requirement for becoming a police officer. The team also trained at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office gun range.

So far, Wyen said, the response has been positive. He said only one parent has called him opposed to the plan.

Latest move in school safety? A panic button

Getting police and first responders to help students and staff is now more efficient than ever in one Georgia school district.

>> Read more trending news 

Schools in Gwinnett County, Georgia, are now equipped with panic buttons and safety protocol.

Parents told WSB-TV they are on board with the new system.

“Maybe quicker response and quicker timing would save lives,” parent Stece Condra said.

Condra is the parent of a student at Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia.

He is learning about the new emergency notification buttons that have been installed in each Gwinnett County public school.

Condra said he is glad school officials are being proactive.

“Hopefully they put it in and never have to use it. That's the best bet,” Condra said.

Officials started to put the program in place two years ago, beginning with panic buttons installed in elementary schools.

Now they're in every school in the district, just in time for the first week of school.

School resource officers like Joe Barnes at Peachtree Ridge High School will now have immediate backup if an intruder gets in.

“To know that help is on the way as soon as someone presses that button is a nice feeling,” Barnes said.

The system puts the school on immediate lockdown and sends alerts to school police dispatch and the county's 911 center.

It is all in real-time because dispatchers will be looking at live camera feeds.

“The school staff is being trained to push it when there is a life-threatening emergency, such as an active shooter,” Barnes said.

The security measure is a significant topic of discussion as school officials across the country consider the best ways to keep students safe. According to a Feb. 2016 ABC News report, each week, on average, one shooting took place on a school or college campus in 2015. The report showed a total of 270 shootings of any kind at a school between April 1999, when the infamous Columbine shooting occurred, and February 2016.

Must-see: Mom's hilarious 'first day of school' photo goes viral

School's back in session, and nobody is happier than this Alabama mom.

>> Watch the news report here

According to WTVM, Jena Willingham's children – Wrangler, Emmy and Sykes – headed back to Beulah Elementary School in Valley on Monday. Willingham celebrated the occasion by sharing a photo of herself lounging in the pool, drink in hand, as her kids, clad in school attire, look on.

>> See the photo here

"Happy First Day of School everyone!" reads the now-viral post, which has been shared more than 9,000 times on Facebook.

>> Read more trending news

WTVM reported that Willingham said "her children have been arguing all summer, and she told them she was counting down the days until school starts so that she could have a pool day."

Read more here.

Harvard admits majority nonwhite freshman class

Harvard’s incoming class of students, most of which will graduate in 2021, is majority nonwhite. 

>> Read more trending news  

Of the students admitted from minority groups, 22.2 percent are Asian, 14.6 percent are African-American, 11.6 percent are Latino and 2.5 percent are Native American or Pacific Islander, according to Harvard, putting the percentage of minority students at approximately 50.8 -- slightly more than half of all incoming freshmen.

Conflicting reports claim the class may or may not be the Ivy League university’s first majority nonwhite group in nearly 400 years.

But a 2016 report by the Harvard Gazette showed last year’s incoming class to be 51.4 percent nonwhite.

Admissions data on Harvard’s website show only 16.5 percent of students for the class of 2021 come from New England. More than 15 percent of the people admitted come from the Pacific U.S., 18.7 percent of incoming freshman come from the South and 21.3 percent come from the Middle Atlantic. Twelve percent of the class come from international locations.  

Nearly 40,000 people applied for admittance to Harvard for the 2017-2018 school year. Just over 2,000 were admitted.

>> Related: ‘Blackish’ actress Yara Shahidi announces she's attending Harvard University

According to the Los Angeles Times, at least two other Ivy League schools, Princeton and Cornell, also offered admission to majority nonwhite students.

>> Related: Malia Obama decides which Ivy League college she'll attend

Last week, the New York Times reported that the Trump administration plans to reexamine affirmative action admissions policies at American colleges and universities that may discriminate against white applicants.

Florida teacher accused of sexually abusing, grooming 8 students

A new lawsuit alleges that a Florida high school teacher had inappropriate relationships with at least eight students and that the school board was notified in 2008 but took no action.

>> Teacher pleads guilty to sexual abuse of female student

According to the Miami Herald and New York Daily News, Jason Meyers is accused of abusing and molesting multiple female students throughout his 14 years as an educator, grooming some of his creative writing students and encouraging them to write sexually explicit material. The lawsuit filed against the Miami-Dade School Board claims that he had sexual relationships with a minimum of eight students known as “Jason’s girls” and that school officials were aware of the allegations.

>> Florida man, 73, banned from beaches for 'seeking his sugarbaby,' officials say

Among the allegations, Meyers allegedly told one student to study Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” and to pay attention to passages about an older man seducing a young girl. He also reportedly gave another student promiscuous clothes to wear, told her to break up with her boyfriend and instructed her to give one of her poems an explicit title. The lawsuit also claims that he forcefully kissed and groped one student and had sex with another student in his classroom.

>> Catholic school teacher gets prison time for sexually assaulting 2 female students

The lawsuit also accuses the school district of being aware of Meyers’ behavior and transferring him from Dr. Michael M. Krop High School to Miami Palmetto Senior High School.

“As alleged, the School Board knew that Mr. Meyers posed a serious risk of sexual abuse against our community’s children. Yet it did virtually nothing to stop him,’’ said Miami attorney Mark Schweikert, who filed the suit along with partner Ronald Weil. “Instead, the School Board merely relocated the risk posed by his predatory behavior from one school to another.”

>> Read more trending news

Meyers was arrested in February 2016 on charges of sexual battery of a minor involving one student.

Read more here or here.

Teachers unveil 'beautiful' surprise for middle-school girls

Teachers at a middle school in Alabama have given the girls' bathroom an inspirational makeover, just in time for the start of the school year.

Girls attending Simmons Middle School in Hoover will be greeted by the message, "You are beautiful" when they wash their hands or look at their reflection in the mirror. The bathroom stalls also bear inspirational messages, including, "Beautiful girl, you can do amazing things," "Be the best version of you," "Dream it, believe it, achieve it," "Happy girls are the prettiest girls" and "Be your own kind of beautiful," AL.com reported.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Five seventh-grade teachers participated in the bathroom makeover, according to AL.com. "Middle school is tough. Girls need a little love and encouragement," teacher Laura Ann Missildine told AL.com.

The teachers plan on working on a similar project for the boys' bathroom, AL.com reported.

Detroit school apologizes for mistakenly banning US flag in dress code

A high school in Detroit was criticized on social media this week for releasing a dress code that included a ban on clothing bearing the American flag.

On Tuesday, a parent posted an image of Roseville High School’s dress code that was sent out in a back to school packet on her Facebook page. She questioned why the U.S. flag was listed under prohibited clothing items. 

>> Read more trending news

Roseville High School officials said in a Facebook post that the reference to the U.S. flag in the dress code was an error, and should have read, "Flags shall not be worn in demeaning manner."

School officials said that they "would never ban the appropriate display of the American flag," and that the school has a long history of working with patriotic groups like the VFW.

The dress code snafu led to an emotional debate on Facebook, WXYZ reported.

Teacher pleads guilty to sexual abuse of female student

A Pennsylvania teacher accused of having sexual contact multiple times with a 16-year-old female student accepted a plea deal Monday.

>> Watch the news report here

Nina Scott, 28, reportedly taught at a school called The Village – a court-ordered child-care facility for kids with emotional and behavioral problems in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania – from October 2015 until she was fired in December. She was arrested in January.

>> Catholic school teacher gets prison time for sexually assaulting 2 female students

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Scott faced numerous counts of institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors and other charges for alleged sexual encounters with the girl in 2016. The encounters took place at their school, in Scott’s vehicle and her home, police said.

Charging documents said the student initiated the relationship when she passed a note to Scott asking her, “How would you feel if I kissed you?” Scott reportedly returned the note with a message that she would not tell anyone. Officers said a search the girl’s room revealed a stash of love letters from Scott to the student.

>> Teacher convicted of sex with student sues him for damaging her reputation

Scott, who reportedly called her student “her girlfriend” and even referred to her 2-year-old as “their daughter,” pleaded guilty Monday to institutional sexual assault

The Main Line Times reported that Scott will serve at least three months on electronic home monitoring. Scott also was placed on five years of sex offender probation and prohibited from contacting the girl.

Scott apologized to the victim and her family, as well as her own family. 

“This will never happen again,” she told Delaware County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard Cappelli, according to the Times.

>> Read more trending news

WCAU reported that the school’s superintendent, William Colarulo, said at an earlier court hearing, saying, “The only way I can describe what this teacher did is downright disgusting. As a parent and as a police officer for 36 years, it never ceases to amaze me when you put children in the care of a position such as a teacher, and they violate that trust.”

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Georgia county has a new way for students to learn, parents say it's working

This year, 23 of Henry County's 50 schools will be taking part in the personalized learning initiative.

It's a new way for students to learn, and parents and teachers WSBTV talked to say it's working.

Parent Brandy Smith and a group of parents and students say they support the personalized learning initiative.

The curriculum is customized for each student, helping them to figure out the best way to learn.

>> Read more trending news

"One of the things that I really like is that it gives my kids an opportunity to work at their pace, so if my kids have completed the work that's required at the level where they are, they can move up,” Smith said.

Maggie Renken's daughter Zuri is a fourth-grader at Mount Carmel Elementary, and uses personalized learning. 

"We have a lot of different programs online we use a lot,” Renken said. 

Teachers say personalized learning keeps students more engaged, because students who master a skill can move on to a higher level, while students who need help in a specific area can receive more attention. 

"It's very engaging getting the kids to figure out what they're missing so we can fill the gaps so they can move on in a progressional path,” teacher Camille Bratton said.

The Henry County School District is hoping to have personalized learning in all 50 schools by 2020.

Meanwhile, WSBTV talked to one parent who says she was skeptical at first, but then changed her mind.

Victoria Whitten has decades of experience with Henry County Schools.

She grew up in Henry County and has one child who graduated, and two others still in school.

She admits she was skeptical when she first heard about personalized learning.

"Oh, I hated it!” Whitten said. “I did not like it at all, but I didn't know anything about it. I just knew it was different and I didn't like change. But the more I got to know about it the more informed I became, the more I began to understand and my mindset shifted." 

Now, Whitten says is one of the personalized learning initiative's biggest backers.

Teacher convicted of sex with student sues him for damaging her reputation

A California teacher who was jailed for having sex with a student is reportedly suing the pupil for damaging her reputation.

>> College student faces child sex charges for alleged 'relationship' with 14-year-old boy

Former Arroyo Grande High School teacher Tara Stumph, 36, is claiming that the 16-year-old boy she had a sexual relationship with for a year defamed her “to various classmates, family and other members of the community,” according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

>> Teacher's aide accused of sex with 14-year-old student, offering sex to another boy

Stumph, who is married to a firefighter and a mother of three, went to jail for 180 days, a sentence she started serving May 1. She initially faced five charges following an eight-month investigation, but four of the charges were dropped in a plea deal.

Police reportedly were tipped off to the relationship in December 2015, and Stumph was put on administrative leave.

>> Catholic school teacher gets prison time for sexually assaulting 2 female students

The boy’s parents sued her for pain, suffering and emotional distress, the Tribune reported. The lawsuit, also brought against the school district and her former principal, alleges she “cultivated” the pupil’s trust over several months and encouraged him to confide in her.

>> Teacher sentenced for sex with student claims victim lured her like 'used car salesman'

Stumph answered those claims with a lawsuit of her own, claiming the student’s statements damaged her reputation and career. She wants indemnity for any judgments made, according to the Tribune. Stumph’s teaching license was revoked after her conviction, but she will not be required to register as a sex offender upon her release from San Luis Obispo County Jail, the newspaper reported.

>> Teacher gets 90 days in jail for sex with student on his 16th birthday

The family’s lawsuit against the former cooking teacher stated that she molested him “during and after class” and sent nude selfies and sexually explicit videos of herself to him.

>> Read more trending news

It also said, “The sexual abuse and exploitation of (the victim), and the circumstances under which it occurred, caused (him) to develop various psychological coping mechanisms, which reasonably made him incapable of ascertaining that Stumph’s conduct was harmful to him.”

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