Sunday, November 06, 2011

Student Suspended for Breaking School's Zero-Tolerance No-Hugging Policy

A 14-year-old Florida student who hugged his friend was suspended as a result of his middle school's zero-tolerance no-hugging policy, reported. Nick Martinez said he gave a quick hug to his best friend, a female student, between classes.

The public display of affection was spotted by the principal of Palm Bay's Southwest Middle School, 74 miles southeast of Orlando. While the principal said he believed the hug was innocent, he brought the two students to the school's dean, who penalized them with in-school suspensions.

According to the Southwest Middle School's student handbook, students can receive a one-day out-of-school suspension for kissing, while students caught hugging or hand-holding are penalized with a dean's detention or suspension.

School administrators said a committee of parents approved the "no hugging" policy years ago, and there aren't plans to change it any time soon. The school's strict policy stipulates that there is no difference between an unwanted hug, or sexual harassment, and a hug between friends.

Christine Davis, spokesman for Brevard County School said the school's "focus is on learning; therefore, we cannot discriminate or make an opinion on what is an appropriate hug, what's not an appropriate hug," said Davis. "What you may think is appropriate, another person may view as inappropriate."

"A lot of friends are hugging. I just happened to be the one caught doing it," Nick said. "Honestly, I didn't know because I didn't think hugging was a bad thing. I didn't know you could get suspended for it."

Nick's mother, Nancy Crecente, said she plans to ask the school board to change the policy.


New Charges Surface Against antisemitic Professor

by Mike Adams

Dear Governor Kasich

It has been awhile since we talked about the case of Julio Pino – a tenured member of the faculty of Kent State University. Shortly after I last wrote to you there was a Secret Service raid on his home. The raid was meant to ensure that certain veiled threats directed to the Obama White House were not a prelude to some planned act of violence. I thank you for any role you may have played in helping alert the federal authorities.

As you may know, Pino is continuing to cause substantial problems in Ohio. I recently received a letter from a Jewish student at Kent State who was concerned after Pino created a scene at an event cosponsored by Hillel. (You may have heard of the incident in question but please read this letter in its entirety. It contains new allegations you may find disturbing).

Student members of Hillel have elected to take action with the help of some other leaders on campus. They are not satisfied with the way the University appears to be handling the situation. Not enough is being done to deal with a professor who has resorted to using intimidation to advance his own personal jihad against others including Jewish students.

Some examples of anti-Semitic intimidation of students include the following:

1. Professor Pino calling a Jewish student who had served in the Israeli Army “his favorite war criminal” and;

2. Telling another Jewish student that “because you are Jewish, you will burn in hell.”

This second allegation is particularly problematic because it allegedly occurred in class with a student under his supervision. It is also particularly problematic because the university refuses to investigate the incident. The targeted Jewish student has reported the incident to officials at Kent State. But no investigation has been launched. Nor do Kent State officials seem to know the status of the report filed by the student.

It bears repeating: Kent State knows Julio Pino has been accused of telling a Jewish student – in class, mind you – that he will “burn in hell” simply because he is Jewish. And they refuse to investigate Pino.

Governor Kasich, I am asking for your help. I want your office to order the investigation of Pino to begin immediately. If action is not taken against Professor Pino, this will not only set the bar for the acceptance of anti-Semitism on campus, but it also will open the door for others at Kent State and around the country to abuse their positions as educators to whom students open their minds.

In other words, we can ignore what Professor Pino does outside the classroom but not what he does inside the classroom. That is not to dismiss the severity of Pino’s off-campus conduct. After all, he posted bomb-making instructions on a terrorist website during a time of war. And he specifically called for the weapons to be used against U.S. troops. But that is an issue for the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Ohio taxpayers have specific interests the federal government does not – such as combating religious harassment in state-supported classrooms.

Indeed, many members of the Kent State student body want to make sure Professor Pino is held accountable in accordance with the severity of his words and deeds. Students are enraged at this situation, and so are many Ohio taxpayers who are funding this Professor’s in-class bigotry. I hope that you can offer your insight and support, given your knowledge of Professor Pino’s previous actions.

Thank you so much,
Mike S. Adams

p.s. It has now been eighteen months since Professor Pino was investigated on allegations that he sent an email from his office using his university account ( saying the following: “I (expletive) your mother up her greasy (expletive) and (expletive) when you aren’t looking.” Pino’s defense is that his computer account was hacked. The university has not yet concluded the investigation. In other words, it appears that they really did not investigate Pino.

p.p.s. I was the recipient of the aforementioned email and can provide a copy to the Governor’s Office upon request.


Bright pupils struggling with basic grammar, says top head

One of Britain’s top private schools is introducing back-to-basics lessons in grammar amid fears that growing numbers of new pupils lack the most basic command of written English.

St Paul’s Girls’ School has been forced to stage a crash course in simple grammatical rules because too many young children struggle with the correct use of capital letters, plurals, commas, full-stops and irregular verbs.

Clarissa Farr, the school’s High Mistress, suggested that “proper grammar” had a bad image and feared that many primary schools were failing to teach the subject in case children found it boring.

It was also claimed that some pupils' written English was being undermined by the use of mobile phones and the internet.

St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith, west London, is now staging traditional lessons in grammar for all children aged 11 to 14 to address the concerns.

For the first time this term, girls are being given a dedicated class every fortnight covering a full range of issues such as sentence structure and the use of commas, colons and full-stops. It will also cover confusing words, capital letters and formal and informal speech.

The move comes after the Government announced earlier this year that pupils would lose marks in GCSE exams for poor spelling, punctuation and grammar amid concerns over falling standards of English.

Ms Farr said: “You would think that we might be attracting pupils who already have a pretty strong command of English grammar given that we’re very strong academically and that we expect a very high standard from the pupils that we test for admission. “However, the reality is that a lot of our students don’t have even a basic command, as we would see it, of the rules of conventional grammar when they arrive.”

Some 93.2 per cent of A-levels sat by sixth-formers at the fee-paying school this summer were graded A* or A. It also has a higher proportion of pupils accepted into Oxbridge than almost any other school.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Ms Farr said many new pupils were highly imaginative but struggled to express their ideas accurately on the page. “Maybe there’s a message here for what needs to be going on at primary level,” she added. “There appears to have been a shying away from the teaching of these basic skills, maybe for fear that they are dull or seen as too hard.

“Actually, they do not need to be dull. Girls are finding that they can be quite enjoyable and can give them a tremendous sense of achievement.”

The school has devised a structured programme of grammar lessons for all pupils in the first three years of school. Dr Jonathan Patrick, the school’s head of English, who devised the curriculum, said common mistakes included “comma splicing” – when pupils wrongly employ a comma to join two independent clauses.

Other frequent errors include the misuse of common words, including “however” as a straight replacement for “but”, “less” instead of “fewer” and confusing the terms “number” and “amount”, he said.

He suggested that screen-based technology may be damaging children’s writing skills. “I think that most young people are dealing with text or writing either through a mobile phone or computer and I do think that standards across the board [are suffering],” he said.

“My friends still laugh at me for using colons and semi-colons in text messages but they are in danger of dying out. We have to accept that this is where young people are using language most frequently – in electronic forms – and therefore maybe the principles need to be restated.”


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