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Florida law requires 'In God We Trust' to be displayed in all schools

A bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March now means students will see “In God We Trust” displayed at all schools in the state.

WPTV reported that the law requires the state motto to be shown in a “conspicuous place.”

>> Read more trending news 

According to state statute 1003.44, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.”

According to the Florida Department of State, “In God We Trust” was adopted by the state legislature as part of the state seal in 1868. It was officially designated as Florida’s state motto in 2006.

21 Savage provides free school supplies to over 2,500 students

More than 2,500 people lined up in the Georgia heat last week to share in the generosity of 21 Savage.

>> Man shot at back-to-school event attended by rapper 21 Savage

The Atlanta rapper hosted his third annual “Issa Back 2 School Drive” on Aug. 5 to benefit students from DeKalb County Schools. The event, which last year attracted about 700 people, outfitted students in grades K-12 with backpacks, shoes, uniforms and school supplies.

Kids and their families snaked along the sidewalk of the 285 Flea Mart off Glenwood Road in a shopping center the lanky “Whole Lot” rapper, 25, said he used to hang around as a teen. Many of the beneficiaries also received free haircuts and food from tents stationed in the parking lot.

It was a scene that made 21 Savage quietly proud.

>> Read more trending news 

“I might rap about a lot of stuff, but that’s just a reflection of what I’ve been through,” he said while seated in his manager’s truck a few feet away from the throng of fans. “In real life, everything I do, I want to bring everybody together. I want to give back to the community, help the kids, get them uniforms, books, book bags, everything they need ... just do better. That’s where it starts, the kids.”

U.S. Rep. Henry "Hank" Johnson, D-Georgia, and his wife, DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson, also attended to check out the scene.

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

The event and supplies were funded by 21 Savage and his Leading By Example Foundation. Other sponsors included City National Bank, Spotify, Epic Records and 10:22 p.m. Records.

During a recent appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” 21 Savage launched a “Bank Account” campaign to help young adults learn financial responsibility and donated $1,000 to 21 kids in partnership with the nonprofit organization Get Schooled.

Read more here.

Police departments post humorous back-to-school photos 

Friday was the first day of school in many parts of the United States, and while the levels of excitement varied among students, it was also evident among police resource officers.

>> Read more trending news 

Several police departments, using the hashtag #SROchallenge, posted photographs on social media of their staff members who were going back to school.

Here are a few examples.

Atlanta school eliminates morning Pledge of Allegiance recitation

An Atlanta charter school will not recite the Pledge of Allegiance as part of its morning meeting agenda.

Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School on Grant Street made the announcement Tuesday in a news release by its elementary campus president Lara Zelski.

>> Read more trending news 

Students will be given the opportunity to say the pledge at another point during the school day, and the decision was made “in an effort to begin our day as a fully inclusive and connected community,” according to the release.

The release went on to say “Over the past couple of years it has become increasingly obvious that more and more of our community were choosing to not stand and/or recite the pledge.”

>>5 things you didn't know about the Pledge of Allegiance

Students will continue to be asked to stand to participate in the school’s Wolf Pack Chant each morning, and “teachers and the K-5 leadership team will be working with students to create a school pledge that we can say together at morning meeting,” the release said.

The statement said “This pledge will focus on students’ civic responsibility to their school family, community, country and our global society.”

Purdue disassociates itself from Papa John's founder

Purdue University stripped the name of the founder of the Papa John’s pizza chain from an economic research center and offered to return the $8 million he donated to the school in April after he allegedly made racial slurs last month, the Journal & Courier reported.

>> Read more trending news

John Schnatter’s name was removed from the Center of Economic Research and also from Purdue’s webpage, the Lafayette, Indiana, newspaper reported. 

Purdue’s board of trustees conducted a vote Friday morning to disassociate the school from Schnatter and offer to return the money he gave the school in April.

“The board believes this action is necessary to avoid distraction from the center’s work, counterproductive division on the campus, and any inference of any deviation from the university’s often-stated stance on tolerance and racial relations," the trustees said in a statement.

The announcement came hours after Ball State University, Schnatter’s alma mater, said it would not remove Schnatter’s name from a campus building, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Schnatter’s comments about race relations, including alleged racial slurs were made public in a report July 11 by, the Journal & Courier reported.

The center’s name will be changed back to the Purdue University Research Center in Economics, the Star reported.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said Purdue had received $1 million of the $8 million pledged by the Schnatter Family Foundation, the Journal & Courier reported. 

David Hummels, dean of the Krannert School of Management, said the center was prepared to adjust.

“Our intention was to use the gift money to support faculty hiring,” Hummels told the Journal & Courier. “We believe we can still be successful in attracting support for that purpose because the center has done, and will continue to do, excellent work. But it might be on a longer timescale than we originally planned.”

Tennessee teacher accused of kissing 16-year-old student at school

A Tennessee teacher has been indicted after she was accused of having inappropriate contact with a 16-year-old student.

>> Watch the news report here

Angela Martin, 33, taught at Northeast Prep Academy in Memphis. A grand jury indicted Martin on two misdemeanor counts of sexual contact by an authority figure.

Her bond was set at $2,000.

According to the district attorney, Martin gave the student a note during his second period call last school year. The note explained how much she liked him, authorities said.

>> Read more trending news 

In late October, investigators say Martin kissed the student underneath a stairwell near her classroom.

On another occasion, police said Martin took the student to a restroom inside her empty classroom and kissed him. 

The teacher has since resigned.

Florida transgender teen wins lawsuit against school board

A federal judge ruled in favor of a Florida high school student who sued the St. Johns County School Board over claims of discrimination.

>> Read more trending news

Drew Adams, 17, who is transgender, will head into his senior year at Nease High School knowing he can use the bathroom of his choice.

“I can go into my senior year focusing on college applications, IB testing instead of lawsuits,” Adams said. “Now I can finally be like any other kid at my school, like any other boy, and I’m really excited about that.”

A federal judge said he can now use the boys' bathroom,

“I’ve been all smiles,” Adams said. 

Last June, Adams and his mother sued the St. Johns County School Board after he was told he could only use the gender neutral or girls' restroom.

Adams used the boys' restroom when he started his freshman year at Nease without any incident. At some point, Adams said someone anonymously reported that he was using the boys’ restroom, and he was no longer able to use it. 

A federal judge disagreed. In his ruling the judge said, “the evidence is that Drew Adams poses no threat to the privacy or safety of his fellow students. When it comes to his use of the bathroom, the law requires that he be treated like any other boy.” 

Adams’ attorney, Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, said Thursday’s ruling sets the stage for other transgender cases. 

“I think it will show to other school districts across Florida and across the country that they better watch out, and they can’t discriminate (against) transgender students. Otherwise they will be subject to lawsuits because they will be violating the Constitution and federal civil rights law,” he said.

“Today is a reminder for me that we can always have hope, and we always need to have hope,” Adams said. 

The school district will have to pay $1,000 in damages and attorney fees to Adams. 

Teacher in awe as strangers on plane donate $530 to her low-income students

A Chicago charter school teacher's heartwarming story of how strangers on a plane donated hundreds of dollars to her low-income students is going viral.

>> Nonprofit helping pay off mortgage on slain police officer's family home

According to WMAQ, Kimber Bermudez, who teaches at Carlos Fuentes Elementary School, was on a Southwest Airlines flight to Florida last week when the passenger next to her sparked up a conversation about her job. After learning that Bermudez is a teacher, he asked her about the greatest challenge she faces at her school.

"I told him that working at a low-income school can be heartbreaking," Bermudez wrote in a Facebook post. "We talked about the world and how no child should ever do without. In 2018, kids should never be hungry or in need of anything."

He then asked for Bermudez's contact information, saying his company often donates to schools like hers.

But the acts of kindness didn't stop there.

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

"The man behind me tapped my shoulder," Bermudez wrote. "I turned around and he apologized for listening in to my conversation, and he handed me a wad of cash. He told me to 'do something amazing' and sat back down. I was in complete awe that I had touched a stranger. I realized that there was $100 on top, and started to cry. I thanked him and told him how I would buy my students books and give back to the community. I didn’t count the money from that man, but I would later find out that he gave me $500."

After the plane landed, another man who overheard the conversation gave her $20, while another handed her $10, Bermudez said.

>> Read more trending news 

"I started crying on the plane," she wrote. "I told all four men that I would do something amazing for the kids. I was not telling my story to solicit money, and never intended to walk out of that flight with anything other than my carry on. I do however hope that posting this continues the chain reaction of people helping those in need, and especially the children in need."

Bermudez said her "heart is in complete shock and awe."

"This experience made me want to do more for the kids, and use my gift of speaking to help others in need," she wrote. "I want to pass this story around, and thank those strangers and their amazing hearts!"

Read more here or here.

>> See Bermudez's Facebook post here

Does a checklist add too much pressure for first day of kindergarten?

They have picked out the perfect backpacks and matching lunchboxes. The lists of school supplies have been purchased, labeled and stacked, and they’re ready to head to class.

But is your new kindergartner really ready to head to school?

In 2016, a Reddit user, identified as Lucas Hatcher by "Today," posted a photo of a kindergarten checklist on the website. He titled the thread, "I have failed to prepare my son for Kindergarden (sic)."

>> Read more trending stories  

It didn’t have simple kindergarten expectations like using the restroom by oneself and sitting still for a short period of time.

Instead, it contained tasks like writing one's name, knowing 30-plus letters -- meaning upper and lower case -- counting to 10 or more and cutting correctly with scissors.

Hatcher titled the photo, "I have failed to prepare my son for Kindergarden (sic)."

Hatcher said he focused on the 30-plus letter requirement, since the alphabet has only 26 letters. But according to "Today," many people reacted to what they thought was the extreme nature of the requirements.

"Today" reported that, according to another Redditor, the school their son attends expected him to read fluently by the end of the year. 

"Today" contacted Tom Arnold, the principal of Ooltewah Elementary School, the school that sent out the list posted by Hatcher. Arnold said the checklist, which also included a list of fees and supplies needed for the year, was sent to provide guidance so parents could get their children ready for school.

Educational psychologist Michele Borba told "Today" that Ooltewah's list is comparable to what is expected across the country because of competitive preschools that start teaching academics earlier than in decades past.

Early school starts may be hazardous to kids' health, CDC says

Students throughout the ages have been saying that school starts too early, but according to one report, they may be right. 

A 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that students are not getting enough sleep due to classes that start before 8:30 a.m.

>> Read more trending stories  

It's those early starts that are making it difficult for teens to get the sleep they need, leaving them chronically sleep-deprived and exhausted.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teens ages 13 to 18 get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, their natural sleep rhythms make it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

Because of the lack of sleep, teens who get too little sleep are more likely to be overweight or depressed. They may also do poorly in school and try tobacco, alcohol and drugs, according to AASM.

Two-thirds of teens say they get less than eight hours a sleep a night, according to the CDC

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