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School bans homework in favor of family time

Where do we sign up? A school in Montreal has a no homework policy that has not only students thrilled, but not everyone agrees with the move. 

 Elizabeth Ballantyne elementary school in Montreal has instituted the homework ban to give kids and their families more time together.

Michael Brown, the school’s principal, told CTV News that students should not spend all day at school working then be expected to have hours of after-school work.

“We want students to be at home being with their (families), being with their friends, playing and being children,” Brown told CTV News.

“The best kind of homework is eating healthy, getting a good night’s sleep and being ready for the next day of school,” Brown told CBC News.

The students will still have assignments, but they will be done in class instead of sent home every night, CBC News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Other schools have joined Ecole Elizabeth Ballantyne after some research found that homework has little to no benefit for children through sixth grade and it also causes a lot of stress, and even arguments between parents and children.

But not everyone agrees with the no-homework movement. Some say that homework is important for reviewing what kids have learned in class.

“Those study skills, those work habits they develop by doing their homework will help them succeed throughout their lives,” Steven Erdelyi, head of Solomon Schechter Academy told CTV News.

The no-homework initiative started in November. Teachers said they have seen calmer students within the school’s hallways, CBC News reported.

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Arizona passes law requiring more recess for elementary, charter schools 

There is going to be more play time in Arizona. Lawmakers passed legislation that requires all public elementary and charter schools to have two recess periods, Fox News reported.

>> Read more trending news

The law defines recess as a “period time during the regular school day, including time before or after a scheduled lunch period, during which a pupil is able to engage in physical activity or social interaction with other pupils.”

Republican State Sen. Sylvia Allen sponsored the bill, which passed the House by a 57-1 vote. The Senate approved the measure by a 27-3 margin, Fox News reported.

“There (was) about, maybe a third of our schools in Arizona that were not doing recess,” Allen said. “A recess coalition of very concerned citizens — Christine Davis and Scott Turner -- are two individuals that came to see me. They had been trying to work with school districts that were not providing recess and they weren’t getting anywhere. As I thought about it, I thought, 'Well goodness, these kids need a break.’”

The bill does not specify how long the recesses should be or when they should be scheduled during the school day, Fox News reported. Allen said she wanted the individual schools to make that decision.

“We’re very careful here not to try to mandate a lot of different things but this is a no-brainer,” Allen told Fox News. “After all, adults get breaks at work, right? It’s because they’ve learned that people need a break to get up, move around, to be able to come back and they do better. So, same with children.”

‘Tell my mom that I love her if I die,’ teen pleads as van seat fatally crushes him 

Two 911 calls show that a Cincinnati teenager pleaded for help as he was crushed to death by the seat in his van Tuesday afternoon in a parking lot near his school. 

Kyle Jacob Plush, 16, was found dead by his father about six hours after he made the first 911 call, according to WCPO in Cincinnati. A preliminary autopsy report indicated that he died of asphyxia due to compression of his chest. 

His death was ruled accidental.

“At this time, there is no indication of foul play or evidence of a drug overdose,” Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said in a written statement. “Our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Kyle.”

>> Read more trending news

Sammarco’s statement did not offer details of how Plush was crushed, but Honda in November recalled 800,000 Odyssey minivans because the vehicle’s second row seats can tip forward if not properly latched. The recall was for vans from 2011 to 2017.

Plush’s van was a Honda Odyssey, though the year was not immediately known. 

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters confirmed to WCPO in Cincinnati that Plush died of positional asphyxiation when he became trapped in a seat, but Deters said it was the van’s third-row bench seat. 

His office is investigating the incident to determine exactly how Plush’s death occurred.

“We are actively trying to identify experts to assist us in this investigation,” Deters told the news station

Officials with the city of Cincinnati and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office are also investigating why dispatchers, police officers and deputies were unable to find Plush in time to save his life.  

Audio of Plush’s 911 calls, which have not been released by the media due to their graphic nature, indicated that he became increasingly desperate as his condition deteriorated. In the first call, placed shortly after 3 p.m., the teen was gasping for air as he screamed repeatedly for help, saying he was stuck inside his van “at Seven Hills.”

Plush was a sophomore at Seven Hills School, a private academy for grades pre-K through 12. He died in a parking lot near the school’s Hillsdale campus. 

“I can’t hear you,” Plush told the dispatcher, according to WCPO. “I need help. I’m gonna die here.”

The dispatcher either could not hear him clearly or did not understand what he was trying to say. She asked, over and over, “Where are you? What is the address?”

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” the teen said.

A timeline established by the news station indicates that Plush got disconnected about six or seven minutes after he placed his first call. Officers who were dispatched when that call ended tried calling him back, but the call went to voicemail. 

When they did not get a response, the officers marked their assignment complete, the WCPO timeline said. 

In his second call, Plush again made it clear that he knew he was dying. 

“This is not a joke. I’m trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van in the parking lot of Seven Hills Hillsdale.”

“Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.” 

As the second call ended, Plush appeared to struggle to breathe. 

Throughout the second call, Plush could be asking, “Hey, Siri?” It appeared that he used the iPhone voice command to call 911. 

Investigators did not say where in the van they found the teen’s phone. 

It was also unclear when Plush’s second call, which lasted about three minutes, was placed. 

A Hamilton County sheriff’s deputy working a traffic detail at Seven Hills responded to the calls about 10 minutes after city officers marked their assignment complete and 32 minutes after Plush’s first call for help, WCPO reported

The deputy was also unable to find Plush’s van, and though he continued searching, he questioned whether the calls had been a prank. 

The dispatcher pointed out that she put in the 911 system that the caller could be in a thrift store parking lot across the street from the school, Fox19 in Cincinnati reported.  

“I was in there. I just looked in a van over there. I didn’t see anybody in it,” the deputy said, according to the news station

It was not clear if the van the deputy found was Plush’s minivan. 

Plush’s mother, identified by his elementary school as Jill Plush, also called 911 Tuesday evening after she and his father, Ron, determined he was missing.

“My son never came home from school,” Jill Plush said, according to Fox19. “We thought he was at a tennis match, and he never came home from school.”

The parent of one of Kyle Plush’s friends wrote in a Facebook post that the match was to be the teen’s first.

“He had been on the practice squad of the tennis team and was due to play in his first match yesterday,” Jackie Taggart-Boyd wrote. “He didn’t show up. Hours later, they discovered him.” 

Taggart-Boyd indicated that Plush had a physical disability, but did not specify what that disability was. She said it never stopped the teen from trying everything. 

She said her son, Spencer, described his friend as the “most positive person he ever met.”

“I can tell you that Spencer spoke of Kyle often,” the distraught parent wrote. “I only met him a couple of times, but every time Spencer told me a Kyle story, he ended it with, ‘I LOVE Kyle!’”

A Seven Hills School spokesperson said in a statement that Plush started attending the school in the sixth grade. 

“He was a young man of keen intelligence, good humor and great courage, and this whole community feels this loss very deeply,” the statement read. 

A classmate, Preston Luniewski, told WLWT-TV that Plush was a “spectacular” person. 

“He just lit up the classroom,” Luniewski said. “He would always be in class, paying attention, really productive in that environment.”

Counselors were called in to help students and staff cope with the loss.

The teen’s elementary school, Mercy Montessori, is hosting a community prayer gathering in his memory Thursday night. 

“Some of our older children have siblings who are currently in high school and have been contacting me throughout the day looking for a place to gather,” Patty Normile, principal of the school, wrote on the school website. “We will use the strength of prayer, compassion and empathy to help our Mercy students, alumni family and friends.”

Normile wrote that besides his parents, Plush also has a sister in the seventh grade. 

 

Teacher humiliates boy after embarrassing bathroom accident in class, parents say

The parents of an 11-year-old Massachusetts boy are furious after they claim their son's teacher completely mishandled their son's embarrassing bathroom accident in the classroom.

>> Watch the news report here

The boy's mother, who asked to remain anonymous to protect her son's identity, said her son, a fifth-grader at Indian Head Elementary School in Hanson, accidentally wet himself in class after dealing with a recent medical issue.

According to the mother, the boy immediately ran to the nurse's office, who she said was extremely helpful. She said, however, the boy's teacher wasn't helpful at all.

>> Read more trending news 

"Rather than caring about the child, she was more concerned with the carpet," said the mother. "Clearly, if he wasn't already humiliated, he would've gotten up and said, 'Well, I had an accident.'"

The unidentified mother said that the next day, things got even worse. She said the teacher dismissed her son's explanation about having a medical issue.

"Then she told him he had to apologize to the kids in his class so she made him get up and apologize to the children and tell them it would never happen again – that's what she told him to say," said the mother.

After hearing about this, the parents confronted the teacher, but the mother said, "She basically felt like she didn't do anything wrong."

The mother added that this teacher has been with the school for quite some time, so this was not someone new to the job.

The mother said the principal told her the school will provide more training in general to their staff, but would not elaborate on what they were going to do to the specific teacher in question to make sure this doesn't happen again.

In a statement, the school superintendent told WFXT in part: "The administration at the elementary school takes the parent’s concerns seriously, is investigating the parent’s concerns, and is working toward resolution."

The boy's mother, however, said she's concerned the resolution is taking so long.

"It's just been an awful experience for him. I don't think any kid should have to go through something like that," said the mother.

Racist video gets 4 students at Ohio's Miami University kicked out of sorority

A video showing four sorority members at Ohio's Miami University singing a racist term has led to their expulsion from their organization.

>> Read more trending news 

The video, which a story in The Miami Student describes as showing the four white female students singing a popular rap song and repeatedly using an African-American slur that starts with the letter “N,” was posted on social media.

Officials of the Delta Zeta Sorority said the four women were expelled Monday from the Miami chapter of the sorority.

>> On Journal-News.com: Bad fraternity behavior causing schools to take sweeping action 

Miami University spokeswoman Claire Wagner applauded the expulsion action of the sorority, but said there are no provisions under the school’s student discipline policies that apply to the incident due to constitutional free speech allowance.

“Bigoted speech is still protected free speech so I don’t see this as a case that will go through any (school) disciplinary process,” Wagner said.

But she added, “the sorority acted very responsibly because what the students did in this case violated their organization’s terms of being inclusive and non-discriminatory.”

>> On Journal-News.com: Black Miami student group demands changes to improve racial climate at school

Officials with the sorority released a statement saying, “We condemn the discriminatory and hateful language used in a video posted by former members of Delta Zeta, as these actions are inconsistent with our founding values that we strive to uphold every day.”

“We are a diverse and inclusive organization and are appalled about the actions of these former members, as we deeply respect all members of the Greek and the campus community. We took immediate action upon learning of the situation and these individuals are no longer members of Delta Zeta because we do not tolerate any form of discrimination,” officials said.

This is the latest high-profile racial incident involving students at Miami’s main Oxford campus.

Last week, members of a Miami student group called Black Action Movement 2.0 (BAM) presented a list of demands to top university officials — saying the actions they advocate will improve what they describe as toxic racial environment at the school.

BAM issued a statement on the Delta Zeta incident on social media, saying its student members “applaud Delta Zeta National’s response to this intolerant video.”

>> On Journal-News.com: Caught on video: Miami students vandalize campus anti-abortion display

“They acted quickly to remove the women whose used derogatory language and issued a statement condemning the actions within days of the event occurring. We expect similar responses from other fraternities, sororities, and organizations when these type of incidents occur,” BAM officials said.

BAM officials said more meetings with Miami officials and public demonstrations are coming to the Butler County school, which has a black student enrollment of about 4 percent.

On Tuesday, two students at Miami University Hamilton’s campus were caught on video vandalizing an anti-abortion display and will face unspecified punishment from the school.

Florida youth football coach punched 3 kids, police say

A Florida youth football coach has been arrested and faces child abuse charges for allegedly punching three kids during a fight on the field, New Smyrna Beach Police said.

>> Watch the news report here

Larry Shawn Cruce, 33, of Orange Park, was arrested Saturday.

Police were called to the New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex at 1800 Turnbull Bay.

>> Read more Florida stories

Witnesses told police that after the last play of the game several kids got into an argument that turned into a fight on the field. Team players with the Middleburg Broncos, near Jacksonville, ran onto the field and got involved in the fight, police said. Cruce began to hit and punch several of the kids who belonged to the Cudas football team, police said.

Cruce grabbed one of the Cudas player’s face masks, punched him in the face and then attacked two other students, witnesses said.

“He came out of nowhere, just lifted up my helmet, hit me in my neck, then my coach grabbed me away,” said victim Omahri Meeks.

The kids were not seriously hurt.

Other coaches broke up the brawl.

>> Read more trending news 

"There are consequences to actions and decisions that we make as adults. I definitely hope that it goes all the way. He needs some type of punishment for this, to teach him a lesson that this is not something you do,” said Meeks' mother, Charmaine Winter.

Cruce refused to comment to WFTV reporter Lauren Seabrook.

Florida teen goes braless to school, told to cover nipples with bandages

A Florida high school student said she was humiliated when she was asked by school officials to cover her nipples with bandages, The Bradenton Herald reported.

>> Read more trending news

Lizzy Martinez, 17, said she decided not to wear a bra under her gray, long-sleeved shirt when she went to Braden River High School on Monday. She said she was called into the office of Dean Violeta Velazquez, who told her there was a “distraction” that had to be addressed.

“She told me that I needed to put a shirt on under my long-sleeve shirt to try to tighten my breasts -- to constrict them," Martinez told the Herald on Thursday. "And then she asked me to move around.”

Velazquez apparently was not satisfied, because she sent Martinez to the nurse’s office. The nurse gave her four bandages and told her to use two to cover each nipple, the Herald reported, leaving the teen in tears.

School district officials said Thursday that while high school personnel could have handled the situation with more sensitivity, they were just trying to enforce the district’s dress code, the Herald reported.

“This matter was brought to the attention of the Superintendent’s Office for review," the district's general counsel, Mitchell Teitelbaum, said in a prepared statement. "It is undisputed that this matter should have been handled differently at the school level and corrective measures have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence in the way these matters will be addressed in the future."

Teitelbaum added that Martinez violated the dress code by dressing in a way that distracted other students and school officials were only trying to help her fix the violation.

The dress code does not specifically address or require bras, the Herald reported.

On Wednesday, Martinez’s mother, Kari Knop, met with Braden River officials and expressed her frustration.

"We should not treat a girl like this because of where her fat cells decided to distribute genetically," she told the Herald.

Martinez said she plans to stop wearing a bra in protest of what happened. On Monday, she tagged the school in a tweet that said, "Stop sexualizing my body @piratenationhs."

The school's Twitter account later blocked Martinez, according to a screenshot she provided to the Herald on Thursday.

“The students that were laughing or snickering or talking about me -- that should have been addressed, not me, because I wasn’t the issue there," Martinez told the newspaper.

Prosecutor: Ohio high school teacher allegedly had sex with student in parking lot 

An Ohio high school teacher facing a sexual battery charge is accused of having sex with a student in a Franklin Township parking lot, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

>> Read more trending news

Madalyn Arnett, 25, was arrested at her West Carrollton home last week and charged with the third-degree felony. Arnett, a first-year social studies teacher, was placed on leave March 27 after Franklin High School officials reported a sexual relationship between at 16-year-old male student and Arnett, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Arnett admitted to sexting with a student when confronted by school officials, according to court records. She was placed on leave with the district immediately and escorted off the school’s property.

Fornshell said students began talking about some of the activity at school and through cellphones there was evidence of inappropriate communication between the student and Arnett. Further investigation by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office led to the arrest.

“But this charge means there was a sexual encounter,” Fornshell said. He added that contact took place in a car in a parking lot the week before the arrest.

Arnett pleaded not guilty to the charge at arraignment in Franklin Municipal Court and is scheduled to be back in court today for a preliminary hearing.

According to state records, Arnett was issued a teaching license to instruct social studies for grades seven through 12 in May 2017. Prior to that, she was issued a short-term substitute teaching license for general education.

Broken chair photo highlights teacher’s fight for funding; strangers donate to outfit her classroom

The money just isn’t there, and teachers are marching in Oklahoma, tired of having to pay out of pocket for the basic supplies, like pencils, paper and even chairs, for their students.

It is a simple plastic chair that is so well worn that it is cracked in multiple places that has moved complete strangers to help teachers struggling to provide for their students.

>> Read more trending news 

Laurissa Kovacs is an art teacher at Puterbaugh Middle School in McAlester. She posted a photo to Facebook to show how her students have to learn. She brings in folding chairs from home because there are not enough chairs for her students, CNN reported

Her classroom is so small, and she has so many students, that she has to cut back on projects and activities.

In the post, which has been shared nearly 85,000 times, Kovacs explained that she makes only $27,730 take home pay after taxes and insurance. If she would go to another state, she could nearly double that. She says that most of the chairs in her classroom look like the broken blue seat and that when a student gets a good one, they take drastic measures to make sure the seat stays theirs by carrying it to the pencil sharpener instead of allowing it to be vacant for a few minutes.

But complete strangers are lining up to help Kovacs and other teachers in similar situations and have donated more than $44,000 in supplies, CNN reported.

Kovacs had set up a wish list through Amazon where anyone could buy supplies and have them sent to the school. Now, according to the wish list, Kovacs’ classroom has enough chairs for all students. And any extra supplies will be shared with other teachers in the school. 

Kovacs is among the thousands of Oklahoma teachers who are walking out of their classrooms and are marching on the state Capitol demanding more money for schools and higher pay for teachers, CNN reported.

Pennsylvania fourth-grader recounts bullying in Facebook video

A video posted by a Pennsylvania fourth-grader on social media detailing the bullying she has endured at school was taken down by Facebook and her account was suspended, but the girl’s mother has reposted it on her own page, saying, “I will be my daughter’s voice.”

>> Read more trending news

In the original Facebook video, Cassidy Warner is silent. She holds up sheets of white paper that describe the different kinds of bullying she has endured at John Adams Elementary School in Scranton -- including being spit upon, having her hair pulled and having milk spilled on her jacket, the Times-Tribune reported.

Cassidy lives with her father and two older sisters. When James Warner saw the video last week, he said his heart broke.

“A million things went through my head,” Warner told the Times-Tribune. “The first thing was, I was failing (in) my job as a parent.”

Cassidy’s Facebook page was suspended Wednesday, Warner said, most likely because it was reported because Facebook requires its users to be 13 to have an account. Cassidy’s mother, Jennifer Slater, set up the page years ago to help Cassidy keep in touch with family, Warner said.

Slater reposted Cassidy’s video on her own page the day her daughter’s account was suspended.

“Her story reached 22k views before the Scranton School District contacted Facebook and her Facebook got shut down because she’s not 13,” Slater wrote in her post.

“We had no idea (the video) would get that kind of response,” Warner said, adding later, “There were so many supportive comments.”

Warner said he met with Adams Principal Mario Emiliani on Monday, the Times-Tribune reported.

The school changed Cassidy’s lunch period and her recess, Warner said, and offered to put her in a different fourth-grade class. Cassidy decided to stay in the same class, Warner told the newspaper.

Superintendent Alexis Kirijan said she was aware of the situation at John Adams.

“The principal has taken this very seriously,” she told the Times-Tribune. “He’s conducted an investigation, looked into everything and talked to the parents.”

Kirijan said the district also had a policy in place to combat bullying.

Since the video has been reposted, it has been shared more than 1,700 times and viewed by more than 28,000 people.

“I will be my daughter’s voice,” Slater wrote on Facebook. “I will share her story, and I hope others will share, too.”

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