Student Arrested For Writing About Shooting a Dinosaur

Student Arrested for creative writing assignment about shooting a dinosaurThe school year has just started down in Summerville South Carolina, but the questionable student arrests have already begun. The local high school had a 16 year old arrested for writing about shooting his neighbor’s dinosaur in a class assignment. (more…)

Why “Boys Will Be Boys” Doesn’t Answer Bullying

Bullying pushes another student to suicide.It happened again: a middle-school boy committed suicide after being bullied at school. Even though the boy faced repeated abuse, one teacher’s response was simply “boys will be boys.” But that kind of attitude does nothing to give our children the protection they deserve under the law. (more…)

Student Suspended For 2 Word Tweet

Student Suspended for 2 Word TweetStudents being suspended for their online behavior is nothing new, but a Massachusetts school district has taken discipline for Internet speech to the extreme by suspending and threatening to expel a student for a 2-word tweet: “Actually yeah.” (more…)

What Every Student Needs To Know About Preventing Sexual Violence

public schools need students' help to prevent sexual violence

Students have a right to be protected from sexual discrimination, harassment, and violence in school and out. But for the schools to do their job under federal law, they need to hear from the victims and witnesses of sexual violence. If you or someone you know has been involved in one of these situations, here are X things you need to know: (more…)

Running For Office Before She Can Vote?

Saira Blair, Image Source

Voters in Charleston, West Virginia, are going to have an interesting choice on their ballots: 17-year-old Saira Blair. Ms. Blair recently won the GOP primary for the 59th District of the House of Delegates, a district that has been predicted to swing conservative in November. But can she run for office before she can vote? (more…)

Michigan Court Overturns Truancy Based on Bullying

Bullying As a Defense to Truancy?In a rare published juvenile appeals case, a Michigan Court of Appeals struck down an adjudication (like a criminal conviction for children) for truancy because the student’s absences were the result of bullying. The opinion told juvenile court referees and school administrators that they have to take this kind of thing seriously. (more…)

Are Tasers Appropriate in Schools?

Do Students Need a Shield from the Police?

Image Source: “Police Shield” by Idea go on

The issues of school safety and discipline have heated up again since the recent stabbing incident in Pennsylvania. The question on a lot of minds is what should school security officers and police officers do to deal with unruly students? In some cases, the answer of the moment is to use a taser – a high-voltage electronic weapon that police consider one step down from deadly force. But are tasers the answer to fist fights and belligerent teens? (more…)

Students’ Hair Cuts Cause Suspensions

Can a school control a student's haircut?

Sunnie Kahle, 8, said she misses play time the most. Her grandparents withdrew her from school after complaints about her hair and clothes. (Source: WSET/CNN)

School dress codes were big news last week as two separate stories spread over social media about young girls suspended for their haircuts. The stories are different, but both had the same core question: what right does a school have to dictate the physical appearance of its students? (more…)

School Silences Students to Avoid Pro-Life Messages

School Silences Students to Avoid Pro-Life MessagesIt is not often that civil rights activists agree with the Thomas More Society. The two groups are usually at odds on social issues. But when a Washington high school changed its policy to prohibit all expressive speech rather than allow a pro-life student group to hang posters, the two groups suddenly found themselves on the same side of the argument. (more…)

Teacher Says Suspension Should Be A Last Resort

Panelists Adra Young and Lisa Schmidt with Moderator Alicia Smith

Panelists Adra Young and Lisa Schmidt with Moderator Alicia Smith at the United Methodist Women’s Anti-Bullying Workshop on March 8, 2014

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting Detroit Public School teacher and advocate, Adra Young, at a panel discussion on Anti-Bullying. Her words were inspiring, but more than that, she demonstrated a level of commitment to her students that often seems missing in urban districts. In light of her passion, I wanted to take a moment to feature a recent article from her educational blog. (more…)