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Arkansas high school student suspended for wearing Confederate flag shirt

Students at an Arkansas high school was suspended for a shirt and face paint depicting the Confederate flag, KARK reported.

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Students at Fayetteville High School said they were showing off the stars and bars to support the #History Not Hate, but school administrators were not buying that explanation, the television station reported.

The students were given a choice to remove the flags or be sent home. One student was given an out-of-school suspension, KARK reported.

"We're not trying to trample on their first amendment rights we're just trying to have a safe and orderly school environment," Principal Jay Dosal told the television station

School district rules note that “attire that disrupts the educational process or otherwise interferes with the rights or opportunities of others to learn or teach is considered improper and unacceptable,” KARK reported.

"None of us are racist, none of us are doing it for hate it's Southern pride and we're not going to take it off for anyone, it's our flag, it's Arkansas,” one student told the television station. “This is the South.” 

Wisconsin woman accused of embezzling lunch money from school district

A Wisconsin woman is accused of embezzling more than $10,000 from school lunch accounts -- and possibly more -- over a five-year period, WISN reported.

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The Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday charged Jennifer Dettmann, 48, of Kewaskum, of taking money while employed with Taher Inc., a food service vendor. Dettmann served as the Brown Deer School District's food service director from April 2008 to January 2016, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

During a police interview, the criminal complaint states Dettmann admitted to taking money, WISN reported. Prosecutors said Dettmann was not sure of the exact amount but believed it to be approximately $50,000, the television station reported.

According to the criminal complaint, Dettmann would input e-funds, checks, and a portion of the cash received into the proper system, and then would take the second batch of cash for herself, WISN reported.

Dettmann is scheduled to appear in court Jan. 30, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Ohio high school teammates roll back-to-back 300 games

Bowling a perfect game is a tough feat, but to have two high school teammates do it during the same match -- back to back, on the same lanes -- is extraordinary.

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La Salle High School senior Jacob Toelke rolled the second 300 game in the program’s history Thursday night -- he scored the first one two years ago -- and seconds later sophomore teammate Nolan Blessing wrapped up perfect game No. 3, WKRC reported. The two teammates shared the same lanes at Western Bowl against Oak Hills High School.

Toelke preceded his perfect game with a 235 total, while Blessing rolled a 256, the television station reported.

The Lancers improved to 11-2 after winning the match. Toelke is averaging 224.4 this season, while Blessing sports a 217.7 average, WKRC reported.

2 Florida 5th graders accused of plotting to kill classmate

Two Florida fifth-graders are accused of plotting to kill an 11-year-old classmate and escape in a golf cart last month.

The plot unraveled Dec. 14 at Roberts Elementary School in Tallahassee, where the alleged victim and the accused students, ages 10 and 11, all attend school. A 32-page police report obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat details the plot, which resulted in both students’ suspension and civil citations for conspiracy to commit battery and bringing weapons on school grounds. 

The students are also being recommended for expulsion, the Democrat reported

“This obviously is a very serious matter,” Leon County Superintendent Rocky Hanna said in a statement. “There is zero tolerance in our school system for violence or threats of violence. The individuals who participate in these types of behavior will suffer severe consequences, as (will) these two young boys.”

The school’s principal, Kim McFarland, told investigators that the boys “planned and put into effect” a plot to kill their classmate, the Democrat reported

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According to the timeline laid out in the police report, one of the accused boys threatened the victim Dec. 10, telling him they would kill him. A few days later, a female classmate told the victim a secret and then went to the two suspected plotters and claimed the victim was spreading rumors about her. 

The plotters again threatened the boy, saying they would “take care of him and kill him,” the Democrat reported

Another student later told police investigators the boys drew a map of where on campus they would take the victim -- an area without security cameras, the newspaper reported. They ultimately changed their mind and planned to take the boy to the school’s garden instead, the police report said. 

The day of the planned attack, one of the boys brought a backpack to school with what investigators believe was a murder kit: a wrench, adjustable clamp pliers, a multitool with a 3-inch blade on it and baseball batting gloves. According to police, the student showed the tools to classmates and one of the pair told them “snitches get stitches.”

They also told at least one classmate they had the gloves so they would not leave fingerprints, the Democrat reported. They planned to use some of the tools to bust through a gate and flee on a golf cart. 

During an after-school program on campus, the boys approached the alleged victim and asked if he wanted to go to the “secret hideout in the garden,” the police report said. He told investigators he refused because other students had told him the boys wanted to hurt him. 

The alleged victim went to a teacher supervising the after-school program and told what the boys had planned, the newspaper reported. The boys were taken to the principal, who searched the backpack and found the tools, including the knife.

The boys denied wanting to kill the victim, but admitted they planned to beat him up, the Democrat reported. 

After the incident, McFarland sent parents an email, which was obtained by WCTV in Tallahassee.

“Last Friday there was an incident, with alleged intent to harm a fellow student, that occurred in the afterschool program with a group of 5th grade students who had been developing a plan over a series of days,” McFarland said. “Some of you have reached out with concerns and questions. At this time, I cannot share details, but I can assure that your children are safe and the situation is being handled.”

McFarland wrote that she met with the school’s fifth graders to discuss the importance of “see something, say something.”  

“Many fifth grade students knew of the potential incident but did not tell teachers or their parents,” the principal said. “We discussed the importance of alerting adults when there is any concern for safety for themselves or their fellow students. Please discuss this with your children. It is imperative they learn this valuable skill now.”

Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffrey surprises 2nd-graders who wrote him letters

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was devastated after a critical dropped pass was intercepted in the NFC divisional game last weekend, ending the defending Super Bowl champions’ playoff hopes.

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However, words of encouragement from second-graders in a suburban Philadelphia school prompted Jeffrey to visit the students, WPVI reported.

One of those students, 8-year-old Abigail Johnson, wrote a heartwarming letter that went viral after her father tweeted it. She told Jeffrey, "I am a huge Eagles fan. When I watched the play last night I was crying."

"I think you are an awesome player no matter what. It takes a lot of practice and courage to catch a ball," Abigail wrote.

Jeffrey visited Alli Morris’ class of second-graders at Sarah Starkweather Elementary School in West Chester to thank the students, WPVI reported. Morris had told her students that they would try to connect to Jeffrey through FaceTime, but instead surprised them as Jeffrey walked into the classroom, ESPN reported.

The students serenaded Jeffrey with a chorus of the Eagles’ fight song, WPVI reported.

"We talked about empathy and kindness and kind of talking about how Alshon might feel," Morris told the television station. "We wanted to boost him up after a tough loss."

Texas assistant basketball coach facing DWI, drug and weapons charges

An assistant high school basketball coach in Texas was placed on administrative leave after his arrest on DWI, drug and weapons charges last week, KSAT reported.

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Andre Lamont Jackson, 39, is charged with driving while intoxicated, possession of dangerous drugs, and unlawful carrying of a weapon, the San Antonio News-Express reported, citing Bexar County records. Jackson is an assistant for the Wagner High School boys basketball team.

Jackson was arrested Thursday and released from the Bexar County Jail on Sunday on bonds totaling $2,100, the newspaper reported. Judson Independent School District spokesman Steve Linscomb said Jackson was placed on administrative leave and is not allowed to coach or teach at any schools within the district, the News-Express reported..

Jackson will be arraigned Feb. 4, KSAT reported.

Massachusetts principal apologizes after assignment compares Trump to fascists

A Massachusetts high school principal apologized after a class assignment compared President Donald Trump to fascist leaders.

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Hours later, Haverhill High School students and their parents expressed support for the teacher who gave his class that assignment. 

"As a student, I can affirm that Mr. (Shaun) Ashworth teaches each and every one of his students to think for themselves and to think deeply," Angelina Parolisi said. 

The assignment, given last weekend by Ashworth, a world history teacher at the high school, asked students to cite whether characteristics of a fascist leader applied to the president. 

Several people took to social media to complain that the project encouraged students to label Trump as a fascist.

“I have an older child that had the same teacher a couple of years ago. He did not receive the assignment: Why or Why not is Barack Obama a fascist?” one parent said in a Facebook post. 

But other parents said they support the assignment. 

"I see an assignment that asks tough questions and encourages children to think for themselves," said parent Helen Zbitnoff.

In an email sent to parents, Principal Glen Burns apologized to anyone who viewed the assignment as biased against the president. He said those concerns are taken seriously. 

Burns wrote the assignment was "developed to assess scholars’ ability to apply correctly" the 14 characteristics of a fascist leader. At the time, "it was believed scholars would be highly interested and engaged in debating what, if any of these, characteristics Donald Trump exhibited," he wrote. 

"Upon reflecting with a team from the history department on the assignment, 'Some People Claim that Donald Trump is a Fascist: Time to check it Out!' it was evident to us that the prompt may have skewed the debate or provided the perception that we were looking for scholars to prove Donald Trump was a fascist," Burns wrote. "This was not the intention of the assignment and we apologize to those that felt that was the experience we were trying to create. Our team discussed at length how to provide a more balanced prompt that could enrich this topic and discussion." 

Spencer Zbitnoff, a ninth-grader who completed the assignment, said the controversy is being blown out of proportion. 

"The goal I think was to show students signs of fascism, why it can be dangerous and how you can see it in a person. And I think this was a great idea, definitely some things could have been done differently, but overall I think it was a fantastic, interesting way, interesting twist on research," he said. 

The assignment and community reaction were discussed during a school committee meeting on Thursday night. 

Bill in South Carolina would require personal finance class in high school

A bill filed by a South Carolina state senator would require high school students in the state to take a class in personal finance, WMBF reported.

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Sen. Luke Rankin, R-Conway, introduced the legislation, which, if passed, would mandate a half-credit course beginning with the 2020-2021 school year. A test would be held at the end of the term, WPDE reported. 

The new course would replace existing economics requirements, the television station reported.

“I really think it’s such a big opportunity to kind of lay some foundational principles for kids that are coming out in to the world," financial adviser Jory Taylor told WBMF. “We want to be able to provide that information earlier so students have some of the basics.That way they have the resources they need in order to be successful.”

West Virginia high school teacher arrested on drug charge, deputies say

A high school teacher in West Virginia is accused of soliciting drugs from a student, WVNS reported.

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Susan Surber, 53, of White Sulphur Springs, was arrested Monday and charged with illegal distribution of controlled substances, WVVA reported.

Greenbrier County Sheriff Bruce Sloan confirmed that Surber is a teacher at Greenbrier East High School. 

Deputies said Surber traded illegal prescription pills for marijuana and had "solicited the assistance of a student for the marijuana," WVSN reported. There is no indication that the swap took place on school grounds, the television station reported.

Surber was released on bond, WVSN reported. 

In a statement, Greenbrier County School Superintendent Jeff Bryant said the district is cooperating with authorities.

“All employees are expected to exhibit professional behavior,” Bryant said. “All employees are expected to maintain a safe and healthy environment. All employees are expected to demonstrate responsible citizenship by maintaining a high standard of conduct, self-control, and moral/ethical behavior.

“Anything less is not and will not be acceptable.” 

32-year-old accused of posing as 15-year-old homeless student to enroll in high school

School officials in New York state became suspicious when a 15-year-old girl who claimed to be homeless sought enrollment at Cairo-Durham High School.

Though she was allowed to enroll in accordance with federal law, the girl calling herself Riley Madison attended just one day of classes before district officials learned the truth -- the teen was actually a 32-year-old Cairo woman named Michaelann Goodrich.

“The Cairo-Durham School District, in which Ms. Goodrich sought to enroll, followed appropriate procedures and contacted local authorities to investigate,” according to a news release from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office. “(Investigators) conducted an investigation which was diligently concluded before the end of the local schools’ winter vacation.”

Goodrich was arrested Dec. 28 and charged with first-degree offering false instrument for filing and first-degree falsifying business records, both Class E felonies in New York. She was also charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing, Sheriff’s Office officials said

She was booked into the Green County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond. 

>> Read more trending news

WNYT in Albany reported that Goodrich attended classes Dec. 20, riding a school bus to and from the high school. She was absent the following day and classes were dismissed Dec. 22 for the winter break. 

Anthony Taibi, superintendent of the Cairo-Durham Central School District, said administrators felt early on that something was amiss.

“When the individual attempted to enroll in December, the district immediately contacted law enforcement to investigate after some red flags were raised,” Taibi said in a statement posted to the district’s website. “Based on the federal McKinney-Vento Act and the individual’s identification as a homeless student, she was entitled to immediate enrollment.

“The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal regulation that requires schools to provide homeless students with the right to enroll in public school immediately, even if lacking the documents normally required for enrollment (e.g., immunization records, residency, academic records). Under this act, a student can enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers the needed documents.”

It was during that process that doubts were raised, the statement read. 

“We want to stress that the individual was on campus for only one day and was continually under the supervision of district staff,” Taibi said. “Students who may have had contact with the individual have already been interviewed.”

The superintendent’s statement said district officials are reviewing enrollment procedures under McKinney-Vento and continue to cooperate with the Sheriff’s Office’s investigation. 

Joel Rowell, a senior investigator with the Sheriff’s Office, told WNYT investigators are still trying to determine why Goodrich enrolled herself in high school -- and whether or not she’s done it in other school districts. 

“She could’ve gone in numerous different ways to obtain a degree, and we actually found out through the investigation that she has a high school diploma,” Rowell told the news station. “So that just leads to our investigation to try to figure out what exactly her motive was for attending school.”

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