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Education Reporter

What Is Going On in Schools?
Roundup of bizarre recent events in public schools around the United States:

  • An eighth-grade class in the Bronx has not had a math teacher yet this school year and spends the class time watching movies. The New York City Department of Education admits it has been unable to fill two math positions at the school. A superintendent blames a math teacher shortage. (abclocal.go.com, 11-21-03)  
  • A DC-area high-school English teacher instructed his class to repeat a profanity involving the "F" word 10,000 times as a way of desensitizing them to its appearance in the novel Catcher in the Rye. A shocked student brought the incident to the attention of administrators, who concluded that the teacher was joking. (washingtontimes.com, 11-26-03) 
  • A Florida student was suspended from school October 31 for wearing a T-shirt covered with condoms, which she allowed other students to remove and keep. The girl's mother supported her daughter's decision and even took the 16-year-old to buy the condoms. (sun-sentinel.com, 11-2-03) 
  • A 12-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy allegedly engaged in oral sex during a science class in Dallas, TX October 28. The teacher was absent and an adult security monitor was supposedly in charge. Disciplinary action was taken against the students. (star-telegram.com, 10-31-03) 
  • A Helena, MT school bus driver was fired and prosecuted for assault for slapping a middle-school boy across the head when he wouldn't stop saying the word "penis" on the bus on October 7. The boy did not require medical attention. (AP story reprinted at billingsgazette.com, 10-31-03) 
  • An Illinois social-studies teacher was suspended in October after allegedly ordering a 12-year-old boy to disrobe down to his underwear in front of his classmates, apparently to make a point about the need for laws. The boy became very upset, suffered an anxiety attack and passed out, according to his mother. (reviewatlas.com, 10-28-03) 
  • Colorful plastic "jelly" bracelets have been banned from an Ohio middle school because of a purported sexual connotation. According to the October 27 issue of Time magazine, the bracelets convey a code signifying different levels of intimacy. (mansfieldnewsjournal.com, 11-4-03) 
  • A North Carolina student was suspended for three days for displaying a drawing of the Confederate flag on his notebook, on which he had written "Rebels never die." The incident marked the high school's 24th flag-related suspension since October 7, when school officials banned the Confederate flag. (heraldsun.com, 10-14-03) 
  • A Los Angeles-area school gave extra-credit to students studying Islam in history class for fasting three days during Ramadan. (AP story reprinted at nbc4.tv, 11-25-03)

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