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Kentucky high school stages 'Adulting Day' to target real-life skills

A Kentucky high school staged an “Adulting Day” event Wednesday, an event that gave student tips in making the grade with real-life issues, WAVE reported.

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Seniors at Bullitt Central High School were schooled in practical matters such as managing credit cards, changing a tire, finances and dormitory room cooking, the television station reported.

Christy Hardin, director of the high school’s Family Resource & Youth Services Center, organized the event, bringing in community leaders to speak to the students.

“I think that the idea occurred to me originally, I saw a Facebook post that parents passed around saying they needed a class in high school on taxes, and cooking,” Hardin told WAVE. “Our kids can get that, but they have to choose it. And (Wednesday) was a day they could pick and choose pieces they didn’t feel like they had gotten so far."

‘It just dragged me:’ Pit bull bites third-graders after escaping from Seattle home

pit bull escaped a Seattle home and bit a third-grade girl inside nearby St. Therese Catholic Academy on Thursday. 

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St. Therese Catholic Academy is an elementary and middle school.

“(It) jumped on one of my friends and started attacking me,” said Doris Dickerson, the 8-year-old who was attacked and bitten on her head and hand. “It just dragged me.”

Dickerson is related to KIRO 7 reporter Michael Spears. Her mother took her to the hospital, where she spent much of the day. She was released Thursday night with stitches in her face and hand.

All three students are expected to be OK.

“Screaming and then my teacher was trying to get the dog away from me,” said Dickerson, who had been in a hallway on a bathroom break when the dog got inside the school.

Police said two dogs managed to get loose from a nearby residence and entered the school grounds as students were ending their recess period. Two other students also received several minor bites. 

Animal control investigators are conducting a follow-up investigation. Click here for more information on the incident from the Seattle Police Department.

Huggable moment: Kindergartners' daily greeting goes viral

Hugs can go a long way toward making someone’s day happy.

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That’s the idea behind a viral video shot at a kindergarten class in northwest Wisconsin, KARE reported. It was a huggable moment by students that has been viewed more than 10 million times on social media.

The reaction to the video on Facebook, shot at an elementary school in the tiny village of Birchwood, surprised Nicole Schlapper, the teacher who came up with the idea.

“It’s incredible,” Schlapper told KARE. “Within a few days it went crazy.”

The video shows Schlapper’s students choosing the way they wanted to be welcomed to class. The choices included a handshake, a fist bump, a wave, a high-five or a hug.

On the day Schlapper recorded her video, the assigned greeter was 5-year-old Colin Baker. In the video, most of his classmates chose to hug Colin.

“He’s so loving,” Schlapper told KARE. “He loves hugs.”

Schlapper told the television station she began using the greeting this school year, and said she liked the idea that her students had a choice.

“I think some mornings for them at home might not be easy,” Schlapper told KARE. “Maybe they don’t want a hug that day, maybe just a simple wave is all they need. We just want it to be a good, positive start to the day.”

Georgia teacher's assistant accused of pushing child to floor

Georgia police said they are investigating after a paraprofessional at McNair Discovery Learning Academy was arrested on simple battery charges.

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The incident happened Dec. 7.

Carlas Smith, 47, is accused of using her hands to push a 10-year-old student in the chest, causing the victim to fall to the floor, according to DeKalb County police. The woman initially approached the child in a provoking way, according to a warrant.

The warrant did not provide any other details on what led up to the incident.

Smith was arrested Thursday and later appeared before a judge.

Some parents said the woman was friendly and competent, especially on field trips. Her arrest is something they never expected.

"I think it's upsetting," one parent said.

DeKalb County Schools has not commented on the incident.

Bus driver's quick thinking likely stopped child abduction, police say

A quick-thinking bus driver helped prevent a potential child abduction in Georgia, according to Atlanta's WSB-TV.

Investigators in Jefferson said a brother and sister were about to get off their school bus Wednesday afternoon along Jett Roberts Road when an older, balding, white man in a gray, four-door car called out to the children to come get into his car. 

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The bus driver, not recognizing the car, spoke with the man through the bus window and asked the children if they knew the man, police said.

The driver kept the children on the bus and called their mother, authorities said. The children’s mother said she didn’t send anyone to pick them up or know anyone matching the description, according to police.

That’s when the car drove off.

Officers said they were not able to get a good view of the suspect’s vehicle from the bus cameras. Police said they are warning others to be on the lookout for the man. They will also be stepping up patrols in the area.

School where 13-year-old with autism died after being restrained violated state rules

As a grieving California couple shares photos of their 13-year-old son with autism, who died last month after being restrained by teachers, other parents have begun pulling their children from the inclusive private K-12 school where it took place. 

The parents of Max Benson, a student at Guiding Hands School in El Dorado Hills, shared photos of their son with Fox 40 in Sacramento to show his sweet demeanor, the news station said. The family, from Davis, is also fighting back at Guiding Hands, which a preliminary investigation by the state shows violated multiple rules in its handling of the boy. 

Max was allegedly placed in a prone restraint, face-down on the floor, Nov. 28 after school officials said he became violent. The El Dorado Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the incident, said in a news release that Max was 6 feet tall and weighed about 280 pounds. 

An attorney for Max’s family, Seth Goldstein, disputed the claims of the boy’s height and weight, saying that Max was 5 feet, 4 inches tall. At most, he weighed 230 pounds, Goldstein said.

“He was not an unmanageable child in any sense of that term, in terms of that size,” Goldstein told The Sacramento Bee

The Bee previously reported that sources said Max was held in the prone restraint position for about an hour before he became unresponsive. 

“A teacher began CPR until medical aid arrived,” a news release from the Sheriff’s Office said. “The student was transported to Mercy Folsom in critical condition and later to UC Davis (Medical Center).”

Max died two days later. 

“At this time, there appears to be no evidence of foul play or criminal intent,” investigators said in the release.

Cherilyn Caler, whose own 13-year-old son witnessed the restraint used on Max, said the teacher and an aide restrained the boy, who had been a student there for just a few months, because he kicked a wall, the Bee reported. A second parent who asked to remain anonymous backed Caler’s account. 

Caler told the newspaper her son, who is also on the autism spectrum, told her Max became unresponsive, at which point those restraining him told him to stop pretending to be asleep. After about 30 minutes, they realized he wasn’t pretending, she said.

Caler has since removed her son from the school, the Bee reported

>> Related story: Teen with autism dies after being restrained at school

A Dec. 5 letter from the California Department of Education states that staff members at Guiding Hills violated multiple state rules when trying to get Max under control. The Department of Education’s own preliminary investigation found that the staff used an emergency intervention to stop predictable, or non-emergency, behavior.

It also found that an emergency intervention was used as a substitute for Max’s behavioral intervention plan, or BIP, which is designed to change, replace, modify or eliminate a targeted behavior. The intervention was also used for longer than necessary and it was used with an amount of force that was “not reasonable and necessary under the circumstances.”

The school staff’s actions also failed to take into account Max’s individualized education program, or IEP, which required specific intervention strategies that were not used, the letter says. 

Guiding Hands School’s certification has been suspended until the end of 2019, according to the letter. The school can continue to serve current students but cannot accept new pupils. 

“The (California Department of Education) is continuing to conduct its investigation into the actions of (Guiding Hands),” the letter reads. It is likely required corrective actions will be issued by the CDE resulting from this investigation.”

All corrective actions would have to be completed for the school to regain its certification.

Caler is not the only parent who has pulled their child out of Guiding Hands, which had an enrollment of 137 this school year, according to state records

Melissa Lasater told Fox 40 that she was appalled at how the school handled Max’s death. 

“When they were bringing the chaplains from class to class, instead of just letting the chaplains say, ‘We’re here for you,’ the staff also shared their message: ‘Just so you know, we didn’t kill anyone,’” Lasater told the news station

Lasater said her own 13-year-old son, who knew Max, did not realize his classmate died until his death made the news about a week later. 

“He immediately started to, like, cry and started to process, like, ‘Who’s been missing the last few days, who could it be?’” Lasater said. “And then his face just dropped and he’s, like, ‘Mom, mom, it was Max. They killed Max.’ And then he was petrified.”

Lasater said the school had used restraints on her son in the past, sometimes leaving him with bruises. In the wake of Max’s death, she initially revoked her permission for the school to use any force on her son. 

Ultimately, she chose to pull him from the school.

“They’re all still there with the same staff, who are trained in the same techniques, who are going to use them the same way. They use them as punishment,” Lasater told Fox 40.

Other parents and students tell stories of physical restraint being used as punishment. 

Josh Greenfield, 23, was a student at Guiding Hands until 2013, the Bee reported. Greenfield told the newspaper he was restrained twice during his time there and found the experiences frightening. 

The restraints were excessive and were done for dubious reasons, according to the former student. He told the Bee he was once placed in a prone restraint because he ignored a teacher calling his name in a hallway. 

Melanie Stark, of Elk Grove, pulled her 9-year-old son from Guiding Hands Thursday, the Bee reported. She also has a pending complaint with the Department of Education regarding the use of restraints in the school. 

Stark said her son was restrained on his first day at the school in September. She said a teacher’s aide wrapped her arms and legs around the boy so he could not get up from his desk. 

The reasoning was to keep him seated and guide him through the activity he was working on, she said. 

“That was too aggressive and it was happening about four times a week,” Stark told the Bee

Rebecca St. Clair, of Folsom, told the newspaper her son was put in a prone restraint two years ago. In that incident, staff members rolled him inside a gym mat and put their weight on the mat to keep him still. 

Despite being upset by the incident, it was not until the week before Max’s death, when she personally witnessed a student being rolled inside a mat that she realized how “alarming and unsettling” the practice is, the Bee reported

“I tried to assure myself that this was based on trust. I really trusted the teachers,” St. Clair told the newspaper. “That trust has been broken. I thought they were so careful. I feel so wrong about that now.”

Lasater and others protested outside the California Department of Education Monday, demanding that Guiding Hands be shut down. One of those protesting was Katie Kaufman, a former student there. 

According to CBS Sacramento, Kaufman said she also was restrained multiple times at the school.

“They always use the one where you throw the person on the floor in a body slam,” Kaufman told the news station. “It was a matter of time. Someone dies, and they finally start listening.”

Quadriplegic student walks across stage for college diploma

A Florida International University student, a quadriplegic after a diving accident three years ago, walked across the stage Sunday to receive his diploma with the help of an exoskeleton, WLPG reported. 

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Aldo Amenta, 28, an international student from Venezuela, severed his spinal cord in a diving accident when he jumped into the shallow end of a pool in November 2015, WTVJ reported. He received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and plans to pursue a master’s degree, WPLG reported.

"It was an amazing experience," said Amenta, who normally uses a wheelchair. "For me it was a milestone to accomplish. Being able to cross the stage walking is something that's really meaningful."

Amenta said his walk across the stage took many hours of practice with the exoskeleton, and was the culmination of taking classes while undergoing three years of aggressive therapy, WTVJ reported.

"Even if you find yourself in a really dark place, there's always a little light that will shine your way through to succeed,” Amenta told CBS News. “So just follow that."

KKK costumes worn during high school play anger parents

A high school play in which three students wore Ku Klux Klan costumes has angered parents, KNXV reported.

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The play “The Foreigner” was performed Friday during an assembly at the Arizona State University Preparatory Academy’s Phoenix campus, the television station reported. Parents told KNXV that the school never notified them or students not in the drama department that the controversial costumes would be part of the production.

"Three students dressed as the KKK walked down the middle of the assembly as part of a play," one parent, who asked for anonymity at his daughter's request, told the television station. "They were in hooded robes."

“The Foreigner” is a comedy that includes the Klansmen in its script. However, the parent said the characters could have been portrayed without a full KKK outfit, KNXV reported.

The Klansmen are part of the scripted, comedy play, but this parent said there was a better way to portray it.

"We can talk about racial prejudice, we can talk about the insensitivity, but to have our children put on the robes and assume the characters, it's wrong,” he told the television station. “There is no justification for it."

A school spokesman said in a statement that the play “portrays an image of members of Klansmen in a brief scene toward the end in which they are made fun of and driven away.”

“We apologize if anyone was caught by surprise with the appearance of these characters,” the spokesman said. “We are confident that a fair reading of the text of the play, and a fair interpretation of the intentions of students who performed it, reveals no endorsement of bigotry.”

'Does Nikolas Cruz deserve to die?': Broward school pulls quiz about Parkland shooter 

A reading comprehension quiz that a Broward County high school teacher distributed to ninth-grade students Friday has drawn criticism because the subject matter references the mass shooting at a Florida school where 17 people died last February.

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The assignment, titled "Does Nikolas Cruz Deserve to Die?" included an article about capital punishment published Oct. 8 in The New York Times Upfront Magazine.

The current events magazine, which is published by Scholastic Inc. in partnership with The New York Times, is geared toward high school students.

Nikolas Cruz allegedly killed 17 people and injured 17 others on Valentine's Day at the nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

Coral Glades High School posted the following statement on its website:

"Coral Glades High School administration was unaware that an assignment, which included insensitive content concerning Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, had been distributed to students today. The material was from a subscription-based publication, used as a curriculum resource. The school’s leadership has pulled the assignment, is instituting an approved review process of all such materials and regrets that this incident occurred. Broward County Public Schools is working with the publisher to make them aware of our concerns." 

The Scholastic Corporation released the following statement:

"(The New York Times Upfront) is a current events magazine published by Scholastic for students in grades 9 through 12, created to provide balanced, age-appropriate information that can be used as teaching resources in the classroom. Each issue of the magazine is accompanied by a teacher's guide, and contains information designed to help inform classroom discussions and activities. The Oct. 8, 2018, issue of (The New York Times Upfront) contained an article about capital punishment with a headline that referenced the perpetrator of the tragic Parkland shootings. A quiz in the accompanying teacher's guide also mentioned the perpetrator by name. The article and the quiz were intended only to provide a platform for meaningful conversations around the history, civics and social impact of the death penalty. We deeply regret if the use of this real life example added in any way to the ongoing suffering of the students, families and educators of the Parkland community."

Teen with autism dies after being restrained at school 

A 13-year-old boy with autism who school officials allege became violent died last week after he was restrained by a teacher. 

The El Dorado Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Nov. 28 incident at Guiding Hands School, an inclusive private K-12 school in El Dorado Hills. A news release from the Sheriff’s Office said the boy, who was 6 feet tall and weighed about 280 pounds, was being restrained for the safety of staff members and other students when he became unresponsive. 

“A teacher began CPR until medical aid arrived,” the news release said. “The student was transported to Mercy Folsom in critical condition and later to UC Davis (Medical Center).”

He died two days later. 

“At this time, there appears to be no evidence of foul play or criminal intent,” investigators said in the release

Detectives are conducting a full investigation of what happened, officials said. 

>> Read more trending news

The Sacramento Bee reported that the California Department of Education has suspended the school’s certification while it conducts its own investigation. The El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office is also looking into what happened.

The Bee reported that a source familiar with the incident said a teacher placed the boy in what is called a “prone restraint,” a restraint move that immobilizes a person in a face-down position. The boy was held in that position for about an hour before he became unresponsive, the newspaper said. 

A lawyer with Disability Rights California told the Bee that the restraint position is legal in California, under some circumstances, but risky. 

“(Restraints) can cause trauma and death and, more importantly, there are better ways to respond to behavior, particularly disability behavior,” attorney Candis Bowles told the newspaper. “It’s not inconsistent that they used an approved restraint technique and this happened, but it might not have been implemented correctly and, obviously it wasn’t, because he died.”

2002 study on prone restraint by the advocacy group found that the prone restraint was potentially lethal because, even when done correctly, it puts a person at risk of asphyxiation. A 2007 report on restraint in California schools had similar findings.

El Dorado County Sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Principe told the Bee the agency’s investigation into the teacher’s actions is not considered a criminal matter. 

The suspension of the school’s certification means it cannot accept new students until the matter is resolved, a Department of Education spokesman said.

“In the meantime, the department is continuing its investigation to see if further action is necessary,” Bill Ainsworth told the Bee.

The school issued a written statement through public relations firm Runyon Saltzman.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share the very difficult news that a beloved member of our school community has passed away,” the statement read. “Out of respect for the family, and the ongoing investigation, we are unable to share full details at this time.”

According to state records, Guiding Hands has a total enrollment of 137 this school year. The school’s website said that classes are open to students ages 2 to 21. 

“Our small class size and 1:5 staff to student ratio mean our students will always be our primary focus,” the website reads

The Bee reported that the school was previously sued by the mother of another teenage student who was restrained multiple times during the 2002-2003 school year. In 2004, Deborah Lamerson sued the school, which at the time had a contract to handle services for special needs students in the Sacramento school district.

The lawsuit stated that in one incident, school staff members restrained Lamerson’s daughter, Tracee, after the girl, who has developmental delays caused by Williams syndrome, became agitated because she was not allowed to call her mother after a fall on the bus to school that morning. Tracee Lamerson’s arm was broken in the fall.

The girl, then about 13 years old, was placed in a four-point restraint move and, while being held down, vomited. The Bee reported that the lawsuit claims she was forced to clean up the mess. 

“I was so afraid to go back,” Tracee Lamerson, now 29, told the newspaper Thursday. “I don’t like that they are still open and that they can restrain anyone.”

It was not immediately clear if the Lamersons’ lawsuit has been resolved. The Bee reported that Guiding Hands is no longer affiliated with Sacramento’s schools. 

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