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Minnesota College Cancels Graduation Ceremonies Except for LGBTQ and Minority Students

The college has made no arrangements for straight white students.

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St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, has cancelled their graduation ceremonies for the general class this year, but separate online ceremonies for LGBT, minority and international students will still take place.

The college sent an email to the student body announcing that “self-identified domestic students of color, international students and LGBTQIA+ students” will have online graduation ceremonies in May.

The college has made no arrangements for straight white students, who will now have to wait and have ceremonies “rescheduled for a date in late May/early June of 2021.”

Campus Reform reports that three virtual graduation ceremonies for students in minority groups were announced by and will be hosted through the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion.

“This event acknowledges the value and uniqueness of students’ experience and serves to commemorate and highlight the accomplishments of individuals within their familial and cultural context,” reads the email sent to students.

St. Olaf College previously made headlines when a racist note that was later revealed to be a hoax prompted massive protests on campus.

Samantha Wells, a sociology and anthropology major at the time, claimed that she found a typewritten note on her car windshield that read, “I am so glad that you are leaving soon. One less [n-word] that this school has to deal with. You have spoken up too much. You will change nothing. Shut up or I will shut you up.”

Wells posted the note on Facebook, where naturally, it went viral.

After an investigation by the college, Wells admitted that she wrote the note herself.

St. Olaf President David Anderson wrote in an email to students at the time that “this was not a genuine threat. We’re confident that there is no ongoing threat from this incident to individuals or the community as a whole.” He followed up that “the reason I said in my earlier note that this was not a genuine threat is that we learned from the author’s confession that the note was fabricated. It was apparently a strategy to draw attention to concerns about the campus’ racial climate.”

Education

High School Football Players Suspended for Carrying Thin Blue, Thin Red Line Flags Before 9/11 Game

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High School football players in Florida have been suspended from their team for carrying Thin Blue Line and Thin Red Line flags during their football game on 9/11 to honor the first responders who died during the attack on the World Trade Center.

One of the young men on the Little Miami High School football team is the son of a police officer, another, the son of a firefighter.

“Were you trying to make some kind of a political statement here?” a Local 12 reporter asked Brady Williams, a senior cornerback, who carried the Thin Blue Line flag.

“No,” he answered quickly. “Not at all. I was just doing it to honor the people that lost their lives 19 years ago.”

Jarad Bentley, whose father is a firefighter, carried the Thin Red Line flag.

“I was all for it,” he said. “Because my dad is a firefighter, and if it had been him killed on 9/11, I would have wanted someone to do it for him.”

The young men had asked the school for permission to carry the flags on to the field before the game, and the school refused. They were told that if they did, there would be consequences.

Still, the boys did it anyways.

“Listen,” Williams said. “I don’t care what my consequences are. So long as my message gets across, I’ll be happy.”

Local 12 reports that “Williams and Bentley heard from the athletic director Monday afternoon and received an indefinite suspension.” The station said that they had called the superintendent about the boys a few hours prior.

Superintendent Gregory Power claimed that they denied the boys’ request because they don’t want to “set a precedent” for “political” flags being carried out on the field.

“We did not want to place ourselves in a circumstance where another family might want a different flag to come out of the tunnel, one that may be [one that] many other families may not agree with from a political perspective,” Power claimed.

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Education

Poll Finds 40% of Families More Likely to Homeschool or Virtual School After Lockdowns

“Homeschooling is the new status quo.”

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A new national poll has revealed that 40 percent of families are more likely to continue home or virtual schooling after the lock downs end.

The RealClear Opinion Research survey also found that 64 percent of registered voters support school choice.

Homeschool has been under attack in a big way since the lock downs began, but mainstream media’s efforts to dismiss it is clearly not resonating with voters.

“Every single family with kids in school has been incredibly disrupted by the lockdowns. With 55 million students no longer in their normal educational setting, families are clearly considering new options and many are seeing the benefits of homeschooling and virtual schooling. Policymakers should note that there is a strong desire to have these and other educational options available to families, with both strong support for the general concept of school choice and even stronger support for a specific federal proposal, Education Freedom Scholarships,” John Schilling, President of the American Federation of Children, said in response to the poll results.

Schilling added that this is the time for leadership and for desperately needed bold reforms to be implemented across our K-12 education system.

“Millions of families are seeing the inadequacies of school districts that are too inflexible,” Schilling said. “We owe it to our nation’s families and students to give them more flexibility and additional educational options. Moreover, policymakers owe it to the taxpayers who are footing the $800 billion K-12 education bill to maximize their investment by ensuring every child has access to a quality education and outcomes are improved across the board.”

More black and Asian parents said that they are more likely to consider homeschooling now, with 50.4 percent of black voters saying so, and 53.8 percent of Asian parents. Just 36.3 percent of white parents said the same, and 38.2 percent of Hispanic.

The issue did not seem to be partisan, however, as 45.7 percent of Democrats said they are more likely to consider homeschool, as well as 42.3 percent of Republicans.

Corey A. DeAngelis, the director of school choice at the Reason Foundation told the District Herald that these shutdowns have helped parents to realize that homeschool works better than government schooling.

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Arkansas Middle School Teacher Arrested for Rape, Sexually Grooming Child

He is currently being held at Mississippi County Jail without bond.

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An Arkansas public school teacher has been arrested on suspicion of rape, sexually grooming a child, and internet stalking a child.

Blytheville Middle School teacher Gregory Briggs, 29, was arrested on Thursday according to a statement from the town’s Police Chief Ross Thompson.

The investigation into Briggs began when the parents of a 13-year-old student contacted police about inappropriate sexual conduct from the teacher.

“They reported that they had been contacted by the parent of a 13-year-old student who had evidence of inappropriate contact of a sexual nature between their child and 29-year-old Gregory Briggs, a teacher with the Blytheville Public Schools,” Thompson said in a press release.

As law enforcement investigated the case, they uncovered evidence of additional crimes against other students.

The Blytheville Police received assistance from the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children division and school officials during the investigation.

Briggs is currently being held at Mississippi County Jail without bond.

A Missouri public school teacher was also arrested this week and charged with sexual exploitation of a minor.

According to investigators, Cassville School District teacher Brandon McCullough used the messaging app Kik to contact a minor in New Jersey under a fake name. The investigation found that in May of last year he engaged with a sexually explicit chat with the child, including sending pornographic images. The victim told law enforcement that she felt trapped as the teacher kept requesting more explicit photographs and threatening to post the ones she had sent if she did not comply.

A Florida school teacher was also arrested and charged this week for filming students changing on multiple occasions.

Thomas John Kovack, 41, admitted to detectives that he filmed multiple students changing in the bathroom during the pool party while he was a teacher at J.W. Mitchell High School. He also supplied them with alcohol.

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