Wednesday, December 22, 2010

School punishes Virginia kids for sharing candy canes that could be used as weapons

What utter nonsense!

TEN high school students attempting to spread holiday cheer have been disciplined for distributing candy canes that school administrators said could be used to maim other students.

The boys were punished with detention for giving out 5cm candy canes to fellow students as they entered Battlefield High School in Haymarket, located in northeast Virginia, WUSA-TV said.

School administrators accused them of trying to "maliciously maim students with the intent to injure," according to high school junior Zakk Rhine. "They said the candy canes are weapons because you can sharpen them with your mouth and stab people with them," said Skylar Torbett, also a junior.

While the boys' disciplinary notices do not mention maiming, they do say the boys littered and created a disturbance. The boys said their candy giveaway may have caused litter because some students dropped the treats on the floor. Their punishment also included at least two hours of cleaning, WUSA-TV reported.

Battlefield High School Principal Amy Etheridge-Conti said she would not comment specifically on the discipline but said it was warranted.

But the boys' parents believe their sons were punished for trying to spread Christmas cheer. Mother Kathleen Flannery alleged that one administrator told her that "not everyone wants Christmas cheer. That suicide rates are up over Christmas, and that they should keep their cheer to themselves, perhaps."


British private pupils 55 times more likely to go to Oxford or Cambridge universities than some others

Entirely to be predicted from the well-known correlates of IQ. But what a nutty comparison: Comparing the richest with the poorest. It is the large middle that counts and because of the large middle, around half of the students at Oxbridge did NOT go to private schools

Children at independent schools are 55 times more likely to go to Oxford or Cambridge than the poorest state school students, a report has found. The gap extends to Britain’s other top-­ranking universities, where private pupils are 22 times more likely to get in than those entitled to free school meals – the Government’s ­measure of poverty.

The research on social mobility by education charity The Sutton Trust suggests that success at getting into elite universities is largely based on wealth. [Rubbish! It's IQ. Being smart helps you to get rich]

Only one in 100 students admitted to Oxbridge between 2005 and 2007 had been entitled to free school meals. At the 25 most academically selective universities, free schools meals pupils made up just 2 per cent of the student intake.

The report found that the ‘stark’ income gap begins early, with students at independent schools three-and-a-half times more likely than free school meals pupils to get five GCSEs at grades A to C, including English and maths.

It said: ‘This newly available data provides an insight into the extent of the widening education gap between the latest cohorts of the poorest and most privileged students both at school and university.’

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman and founder of the Sutton Trust, said the situation would get worse as a result of Government cuts and allowing universities almost to treble tuition fees.’

Sally Hunt, general secretary of the University and College Union, which represents lecturers, said the Coalition was sending ‘a clear message that university is only for those able to afford it’ and that ‘social mobility remains a pipe dream for far too many people’.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said closing the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils was a ‘key priority’ for the Coalition.


South Australia: Fired Principal in line to return to school

A difficult school got a capable principal for once -- so the bureaucrats fired her. They should have stood up for her but were too gutless. Amusing that the bureaucrat who fired here has now himself been fired, though. Background here

FORMER Coober Pedy Area School principal Sue Burtenshaw could return to the school she was ousted from if she wins an appeal. But the school will start 2011 with another principal appointed for Term 1 while the matter is resolved. The Education Department cannot appoint a permanent replacement until the appeal is settled.

Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled Ms Burtenshaw could continue with her appeal through the Teachers Appeal Board, after the department sought clarification on whether her challenge could be heard by the board.

Ms Burtenshaw has appealed against the disciplinary decision of former chief executive Chris Robinson, and also the separate decision to transfer her, which was handed down in July.

She was put on "special leave" in January so the department could investigate concerns raised by parents and the community about the principal's alleged unreasonable disciplinary action and abrasive behaviour.

The Education Department will now face the Teachers Appeal Board. "A principal has been appointed (to the area school) for Term 1, and term-by-term appointments of that principal will be made until the outcome of the appeal is known," a department spokeswoman said.

At the time of Ms Burtenshaw's transfer, Mr Robinson - who has since been sacked by Education Minister Jay Weatherill - said it was not disciplinary action but in the best interest of the school community that the principal did not return.


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