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Florida high school seniors view 'inappropriate' sexual consent video

School district officials in Florida called a video shown to high school seniors about sexual consent “inappropriate” and “unsuitable,” the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.

>> Read more trending news 

A class of high school seniors at Pine View School in Sarasota were shown “How Do You Know if Someone Wants to Have Sex with You?” -- a 3-minute, 50-second video created by Planned Parenthood, the newspaper reported. The video was not approved by the school’s administration, the Herald-Tribune reported.

The video depicts several circumstances and signals that indicate whether a partner wants to have consensual sex, the newspaper reported.

The Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, which conducted the class, apologized in a release Monday, noting that a counselor for the group decided to show the video despite knowing it was not approved by the school. 

“We sincerely apologize for the incident last Wednesday at Pine View. The staff member did not follow established protocol regarding the programming presented, and the organization has acted to ensure that this does not happen again,” SPARCC President and CEO Jessica Hays said in a statement. “SPARCC has had a positive relationship with Sarasota County Schools that has spanned more than 15 years and we take the trust placed in our organization very seriously. Preventing domestic/dating violence and sexual assault is central to our mission and SPARCC aims to be a trusted resource for our community.”

Pamela Gavette, the parent of a student at Pine View, posted the video last week to the Herald-Tribune’s Facebook page and called it “adult content.”

Sarasota School Board Chairwoman Bridget Ziegler posted a link to the video on Twitter.

Not all reaction to the video was negative, the Herald-Tribune reported.

“I think this is great,” one person wrote in response to Gavette’s post. “Be real. Maybe your kids will actually tell you things.”

Hate messages painted again on The Rock at University of Tennessee

“Symbols and messages of hate” were painted on The Rock at the University of Tennessee, school officials said in a news release Sunday.

>> Read more trending news 

“This is the second time in as many weeks that the Rock has been used to communicate hate,” the news release said. “These messages, which are hurtful and threatening to many members of our community, do not represent our Volunteer values.”

The Rock, a 97.5-ton slab of dolomite stone — has been a fixture at the University’s Knoxville campus since the 1960s.

The statement did not describe the content of the messages, but a Facebook post by Sandra Starr Marquis, showed a painting of the Vols' mascot, Smokey,  had defaced with swastikas and other hate messages, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

The university’s student government president, Ovi Kabir, tweeted a photo of The Rock after it had been painted over with a message with the word “Love.”

"Signs of hate and bigotry have no place on our Rock or our campus," Kabir tweeted. "Attempts to divide our community have and will always fall short because as Vols, we stand undivided against injustice."

Less than two weeks ago, a group for Jewish students held a vigil at the university to honor the worshippers killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue last month. The Rock was painted with a Pittsburgh Steelers logo that included a Star of David and the words “Stronger Than Hate,” the News Sentinel reported.

Two days later, some students noticed The Rock had been defaced to say "Stronger Through Hate," and a swastika had been painted over the Star of David, the newspaper reported.

Police: Man shoots bullets into backyard tree, forcing lockdown of schools

A Massachusetts man shooting rounds into a tree in his backyard prompted two nearby schools to shelter in place and a massive law enforcement response to the neighborhood.

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Thirteen shell casings were found near the tree in Stoneham. Police said they expect to file charges against the man, whose gun was seized by police.

The man admitted to officers that he had taken part in a little target practice in the backyard, and shot some rounds into a tree. 

The Massachusetts State Police Air Wing unit and K-9 unit joined state and local police in their response to the area after several 911 calls reported gunfire around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said.

When officers arrived, they saw people running in the backyard, trying to hide a target stand and other items in a nearby shed, police said. 

The incident prompted the high school and the middle school to shelter in place, meaning students and staff were not allowed to leave or enter the building during that time, Stoneham Superintendent of Schools John Macero said in a statement. 

The shelter in place was lifted shortly before 3 p.m. 

'Reprehensible' anti-Semitic flyers found at University of Rochester

Officials at an upstate New York university are trying to determine who created dozens of “reprehensible and cowardly” anti-Semitic flyers on campus, WHAM reported.

>> Read more trending news 

The flyers were found Monday morning on a printer at the University of Rochester’s Susan B. Anthony Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies, the television station reported.

The incident occurred a week after a swastika was left inside an elevator at the university’s Eastman School of Music campus, WHAM reported.

In a statement, University of Rochester spokeswoman Sara Miller condemned the flyers and their message.

"Anti-Semitic messages were faxed to a small number of University departments on Monday,” Miller wrote. “These messages are reprehensible and cowardly, and they are contrary to the University’s values. The University Department of Public Safety is working with law enforcement to actively investigate this incident."

Florida high school security guard sold cocaine, pot, police say

A security guard at a Miami-area high school is accused of dealing cocaine and marijuana while in uniform during school hours, the Miami Herald reported.

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Jamie Green, 43, who works at Felix Varela High School and is a Miami-Dade schools employee, was booked into the Miami-Dade County Jail on Tuesday and charged with multiple counts of cocaine and marijuana dealing, the newspaper reported.

Green is not accused of selling the drugs directly to students, but investigators said they believed he was doing deals at a gas station near the school, the Herald reported.

Detectives raided Green’s house early Tuesday and discovered nearly 30 grams of cocaine, 790 grams of marijuana and more than $2,000 cash, the newspaper reported. It was the culmination of a months-long undercover investigation, the Herald reported.

14 Idaho educators suspended for offensive border wall, ‘Mexican’ costumes

A total of 14 faculty and staff members at an Idaho elementary school have been placed on administrative leave after photos of them dressed as a border wall and Mexicans for Halloween brought the school unwanted national attention. 

The Middleton School District and its Heights Elementary School came under fire last week after the photos of the costumes -- which were posted to the district’s Facebook page -- went viral on social media. Middleton Superintendent Josh Middleton announced the suspensions of those involved at a school board meeting called Saturday to address the controversy, the Idaho Statesman reported

A member of the school district’s crisis team has taken over the duties of principal at the elementary school for the time being, Middleton said in a statement posted to the school’s website

The superintendent said that members of the crisis team will be on hand at the school this week, as will security officers. The district will also start providing cultural sensitivity training for all staff members, beginning Wednesday. 

The Middleton Police Department also added extra patrols and a presence at the school to ensure the children remained safe.

The incident has become the source of dueling petitions, including one established on MoveOn.org demanding a proactive approach from the school district. As of Monday afternoon, just over 10,000 had signed the petition.

A Change.org petition seeking to save the jobs of Heights’ principal, teachers and staff, had more than 12,000 signatures by the same time period. The person who established the petition wrote that supporters of the group “believe (the incident has) been blown out of proportion, as this was a team building exercise done after school with no students present or involved.”

Middleton said in Saturday’s statement that the school district “is under a microscope,” but that he views the situation as an opportunity for employees to learn and grow. 

“The events of this week, we take very seriously,” Middleton said. “As hard as these events are for ALL involved, we must learn from this and be better as an entire staff for our students, parents and the community we represent.”

The superintendent’s statement echoed the sentiments he expressed Friday, when he apologized in a short video posted to the school district’s Facebook page. The Facebook page has since been made unavailable to the public. 

>> Related story: Idaho superintendent apologizes after teachers dress up as border wall, Mexicans

It was on that same page that the public first glimpsed the photos, which were later deleted but had already been copied and circulated on social media. In one photo, six employees are dressed as pieces of a cardboard wall painted to resemble bricks. 

“Make America Great Again” is spelled out in red, white and blue letters, and one woman has a crown and torch as the Statue of Liberty. Another waves an American flag and a third wears a patriotic-themed hat. 

In a second photo, several employees are dressed in garishly colorful ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches. They pose and shake maracas for the camera.

The photos prompted outrage across the country, as well as within the Idaho community. The ACLU of Idaho on Saturday published a statement condemning the costumes and urging school district officials to use the incident proactively to engage the school community and the larger community of Middleton to “create a welcoming environment where all students can thrive.”

“Regardless of the intent of a teacher’s actions in the classroom, we must focus on and give weight to the impact of such actions on the students who rely on teachers and other school officials for guidance and support throughout their educational experience” the ACLU chapter’s statement said. “School districts, their staff and other agents have obligations under federal law, state law, and district policies to prevent and protect students, staff, and others from discrimination, bullying, intimidation, and harassment.”

Administrators of the Idaho DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Facebook page also posted the photos last week, describing them as “extremely disheartening” and said that all children have the right to a school that celebrates all cultural backgrounds. 

“Imagine how some of the students felt when they walked into their classrooms on Halloween and saw their teachers (people they look up to) dressed like this?” the statement read. “This is NOT funny. This is heartbreaking. Students deserve better.”

Middleton, who called the costumes “clearly insensitive and inappropriate” on Friday, said he was informed of the photos by a concerned parent. 

Along with the school district’s Facebook page, the administration section of Heights Elementary’s website has also been made unavailable, but a popup window contains the statement Middleton released over the weekend, along with one from the school board. 

“This type of behavior has no place in education and certainly is not tolerated here at Middleton School District,” the school board’s statement said. “This situation is being taken very seriously. We are in full support of our superintendent and administrative staff as a full investigation is being conducted and are awaiting the results of the investigation to assure appropriate disciplinary action is taken.

“We care about each of our students, their education, and their safety. This is an unfortunate incident of very poor judgment. Yet it is not indicative of the Middleton School District or our teachers as a whole.”

2 girls suspended for going to school as Columbine High School shooters for Halloween

Two Kentucky high school students have been suspended after going to school Wednesday dressed as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the Columbine High School students who killed 12 students and a teacher before killing themselves in 1999. 

WHAS in Louisville reported that the unnamed girls, who are students at Adair County High School, posted photos to Instagram of them dressed in outfits similar to what Harris, 18, and Klebold, 17, wore during the April 20, 1999, massacre at their high school in Littleton, Colorado. One girl dressed all in black like Klebold and the other wore black suspenders and a white shirt, similar to what Harris wore under his trenchcoat the morning of the mass shooting. 

One photo obtained by the news station shows the girls lying motionless on the floor of what appears to be the school library. The Columbine library is where Harris and Klebold killed 10 of their victims and injured a dozen more before turning their guns on themselves.

>> Related story: Kentucky man regrets dressing his son in Hitler costume for Halloween

Another photo shows the girl in suspenders, who had fake blood on her shirt, sitting in a car. The caption underneath the image reads, “Bang bang, brother.”

Pamela Stephens, superintendent of Adair County Schools, announced the girls’ suspension in a statement, WHAS reported

“We take the situation very seriously, and our personnel are continuing to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter,” Stephens said. 

The length of the girls’ suspension was unknown. 

>> Related story: Idaho superintendent apologizes after teachers dress up as border wall, Mexicans

Some parents were angry that the costumes garnered only a suspension. One mother, Amy Tarter, told WHAS that the punishment was “ridiculous.”

“I think any child that does that should be expelled, and any parents who (support) their child (doing that) should have charges brought against them,” Tarter told the news station. “You worry every day about sending your kid to school, and now you have people joking about it.”

The girls’ Halloween costumes are not the only ones stoking ire this year. A man in Owensboro, Kentucky, found himself apologizing after dressing his 5-year-old son as Adolf Hitler last month for a city event. The man, Bryant Goldbach, dressed as a Nazi officer. 

A nurse in Missouri lost her job earlier this week for dressing in blackface as Beyonce -- with her husband dressed in blackface as Jay-Z -- and a man in Picayune, Mississippi, was kicked out of a bar Saturday for showing up for a costume contest in a Ku Klux Klan robe

>> Read more trending news

The Columbine school shooting, which also left 21 students and teachers wounded, was the worst in U.S. history when it occurred in 1999. It has since been eclipsed by multiple school shootings, most recently the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine’s Day. Former student Nikolas Cruz, who is awaiting trial, killed 17 people and injured 17 more before fleeing the campus and being caught by police. 

A total of 14 people were killed at the University of Texas in Austin on Aug. 1, 1966, when student and former U.S. Marine Charles Whitman began shooting from the campus’ iconic clock tower. More than 30 people were also injured before Whitman, who killed his wife and mother the night before, was shot and killed by police officers. 

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Dec. 14, 2012, is the second-worst in U.S. history, with gunman Adam Lanza leaving 26 children and teachers dead before killing himself. Lanza killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, before going to the school in Newtown, Connecticut. 

The worst school shooting in America was the April 16, 2007, shooting at Virginia Tech, which killed 32 people and injured about 30 more. The gunman, student Seung-Hui Cho, fatally shot himself when he was done. 

The worst school massacre in American history was not a shooting, but an explosion that killed 44 people -- 38 of them children -- at the Bath Consolidated School in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927. The perpetrator, school board member Andrew Kehoe, killed his wife, Nellie, at their farm prior to setting the explosives at the school.

In the aftermath of the explosion, Kehoe detonated explosives he had in his truck, killing himself, the school superintendent and several other people. 

Idaho superintendent apologizes after teachers dress up as border wall, Mexicans

“We are better than this.”

Those are the words of an Idaho school superintendent who has offered his “sincerest and deepest apologies” after teachers at one of his district’s elementary schools dressed as a border wall and Mexicans for Halloween -- and posted the photos on the district’s Facebook page. 

Josh Middleton, superintendent of the Middleton School District, spoke out Friday after the now-deleted photos of Heights Elementary School staff members sparked outrage and controversy. 

“I was shown those photos and (was) deeply troubled by the decision by our staff members to wear those costumes that are clearly insensitive and inappropriate,” Middleton said in a video statement posted to Facebook

In one of the photos, which were copied and circulated on social media before their deletion, six employees are dressed as pieces of a cardboard wall painted to resemble bricks. “Make America Great Again” is spelled out in red, white and blue letters, and one woman has a crown and torch as the Statue of Liberty. Another waves an American flag and a third wears a patriotic-themed hat. 

In a second photo, several employees are dressed in garishly colorful ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches. They pose and shake maracas for the camera. 

>> Read more trending news

One Idaho resident who posted the photos to her own Facebook page wrote that she was angry. 

“Hate is everywhere,” Sherry Scheline wrote. “Teachers presenting this is not only in poor taste, it is mortifying. I would find this costume offensive out at the bar. I find it more offensive in the school. No matter where you stand on immigration this is offensive.”

Tagging the school district in her post, she said officials should be ashamed of themselves. 

Administrators of the Idaho DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Facebook page also posted the photos, describing them as “extremely disheartening” and said that all children have the right to a school that celebrates all cultural backgrounds. 

“Imagine how some of the students felt when they walked into their classrooms on Halloween and saw their teachers (people they look up to) dressed like this?” the statement read. “This is NOT funny. This is heartbreaking. Students deserve better.”

Middleton said district officials’ time is being devoted to investigating the incident and the “poor decisions” made by the faculty and staff members involved. 

“I want to say, we are better than this,” Middleton said. “We embrace all students. We have a responsibility to teach and reach all students, period.”

Middleton said he first heard about the costumes from a concerned parent Thursday night. 

“Do I think that there was a malicious intent in this poor decision? No, I don’t,” Middleton said. “Was there poor judgment involved? Absolutely. And we now have to own those decisions.”

The Middleton School District has six schools in the city of Middleton, which is about 40 miles west of Boise. According to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, there were just over 7,400 residents last year. 

About 9.5 percent of those residents are Hispanic or Latino, the data shows. The estimates also show fewer than 2 percent of the population is Asian or American Indian, and none are black. 

About 86 percent of the population is white. 

University of Central Florida police detain man wearing ammunition as costume

A man wearing a bandolier full of real ammunition caused a scare at the University of Central Florida campus on Tuesday, police said. 

>> Read more trending news 

UCF police responded to the Classroom 1 building for a report of a suspicious person, which also prompted extra law enforcement on campus. They said they found a man wearing the bandolier, which was loaded with real ammunition, as part of a Halloween costume. 

Police posted a picture of the man on Twitter.

They said the man was detained and is being interviewed. Police did not specify if he was a student.

Sacred Heart University sued over student’s death in pancake-eating contest

The mother of a Connecticut university student who choked to death during a pancake-eating contest has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the school, the Hartford Courant reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Caitlin Nelson, a 20-year-old junior at Sacred Heart University in Bridgeport, died after choking during the charity event on March 30, 2017. The contest was a university-sanctioned Greek life event, WVIT reported.

Nelson, of Clark, New Jersey, began to choke minutes after the contest began. She died April 2 at a New York hospital, the Courant reported.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in Superior Court in Bridgeport. The suit, filed by Nelson’s mother, Rosanne Nelson, claims the university was to blame for allowing the contest, the newspaper reported.

A spokesman for Sacred Heart declined to comment because of the litigation, the Courant reported.

Nelson, whose father was a Port Authority police officer killed in New York City during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was a social work major who assisted victims in the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, the Connecticut Post reported in 2017.

During the pancake-eating contest, Nelson began to choke. First responders were unable to clear the food from her mouth and throat, the Courant reported. An autopsy revealed Nelson died of asphyxia due to obstruction of her airway by a lump of food, the newspaper reported.

“Caitlin’s family is bringing this case to expose the dangers associated with amateur eating contests and to help prevent other families from having to endure this type of preventable tragedy,” Katie Mesner-Hage, of Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder, which represents the family, said in a statement. “These contests are significantly more dangerous than people realize and it’s critically important for the public – especially educational institutions – to understand that certain foods are safer than others and a modicum of forethought can literally save lives.”

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