Students & guns, what do districts do?

By Pam Stevens

Students and GunsIn the past two weeks this nation, including Washington State, has been witness to the devastation that occurs when kids bring guns to school.

First the shooting in Bremerton, Kitsap County, shocked parents in Western Washington when the “shooter” was a 9-year-old boy who accidentally shot his fellow third grader, Amina Kocer-Bowman, 8, in the stomach. She is still in critical condition at Haborview Medical Center.

It’s hard to call this young boy a shooter when it is alleged that the gun went off accidentally while it was in the boy’s backpack. But why did he have a gun at school to begin with and how did he get his hands on that gun?
Just last week, an Ohio teenager went on a shooting spree at a suburban Cleveland high school where he shot and killed one other boy and left four other students injured before taking off.

Full story of students and guns at Lake Stevens Journal

Student Obesity Rate Slowing Thanks To Prevention Efforts In Schools

By Joanna Lin

Student Activities Reduce Obesity RatesObesity is still on the rise among California students, but after years of prevention measures in schools, the rate is slowing, new research shows.

More than 35 percent of students were overweight or obese in 2008, up from one-third in 2003. That’s an average annual increase of 0.33 percent, compared with 0.8 to 1.7 percent each year in decades prior.

The findings, released last week, are based on the results of state-mandated physical fitness testing of fifth-, seventh- and ninth-grade students. Researchers at UC Davis, with funding from the California Department of Education, examined test results of 6.3 million students over six years.

The tests showed overall improvements in aerobic capacity, upper body strength and flexibility and declines in healthy body composition, abdominal strength and trunk extensor strength. The percentage of students achieving healthy fitness in all categories jumped from about 29 percent in 2003 to nearly 35 percent in 2008.

Full story of student obesity at Huffington Post

Child prodigies stress need for life balance

By Nara Schoenberg

Child Prodigies StressTatyana Ali appeared on “Sesame Street” when she was 6 years old and “Star Search” when she was 7, but nothing prepared her for the day when a school bus pulled up as she was walking down the street.

She was 12, a newly minted star of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” with Will Smith, and the kids on the bus recognized her immediately. When the doors opened, they poured out, heading straight toward Ali and her mom, Sonia. Taken by surprise, the Alis backed off. The children advanced, and soon Tatyana and her mom were running down the street.

“We were terrified,” Tatyana Ali recalled, laughing. “It was like the big wake-up call that my life had changed.”

Child stars experience fame that few adults will know and walk a path littered with cautionary tales, from chess great Bobby Fischer to tabloid sensation Lindsay Lohan.

Full story of child prodigies stress at The Boston Herald

T.J. Lane: When violence in the home goes to school

By Jeneba Ghatt

Chardon High School ViolenceWASHINGTON, March 1, 2012 – No one knows for certain why 17-year old sophomore T.J. Lane opened fire at teen boys sitting at a cafeteria table in an Ohio high school on Monday.

Although students, family of the shooter and police are saying the killing of three and serious injury of two is not related to bullying, the incident has opened up an opportunity for parents, educators and young people to discuss the impact of bullying, and pressures placed on kids who may be silently suffering from mental illness.

CNN reported that Lane’s household was one filled with violence. Court records show that Thomas Lane Jr., the father of suspect T.J. Lane, has a record of arrests for abuse of women, including T.J.’s mother. Records show that between 1995 and 1997, Lane Jr. and T.J.’s mother, Sara A. Nolan, were each charged with domestic abuse.

Full story of school violence at The Washington Times

Online Dish: Under Wraps; 12-yr-olds Can Order Condoms Free Online Without Parents Knowing

By Maggie Flecknoe

Children Ordering Condoms Online Without ParentsKids are getting more advanced and sexual at an earlier age. And now 12-year-olds can order free condoms online from The Condom Access Project’s (CAP) website:

The program, supported by the California Department of Public Health’s STD Control Branch and the nonprofit California Family Health Council, was launched this year, on the day of love, Valentine’s Day.

So here’s how it works. Teens between the ages of 12 and 19 can log onto this website and request 10 free condoms to be mailed to them in unmarked envelopes, along with lubricant and a brochure on safe sex, that way keeping it a secret from their parents.

Full story of children sexually active at 39Online

Are Santorum’s comments on higher ed out of step?

Associated Press

Santorum Comments On Higher EducationWhen Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum calls President Barack Obama "a snob" for wanting all Americans to attend college, he may be out of step with the public’s overall view of higher education.

Many Americans are suspicious of the culture of academia, and most are angry about rising costs. But they overwhelmingly — and increasingly — agree that higher education is important and aspire to it for themselves and their children.

On the campaign trail, Santorum has criticized what he perceives as the liberal nature of the higher education community. He upped the ante on his arguments leading into Tuesday’s primaries in Michigan and Arizona.

"President Obama has said he wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob," Santorum said Saturday. "There are good, decent men and women who go out and work hard every day, and put their skills to test, who aren’t taught by some liberal college professor (who) tries to indoctrinate them. I understand why he wants you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to create jobs so people can remake their children into their image, not his."

Full story of Santorum’s education comments at Fox News

Bill requiring school district bullying policies passes House committee

By David Montgomery

Bullying Policies Passes House CommiteeA bill requiring South Dakota schools to put in place a bullying policy passed the House Education Committee on Monday after a debate over local control.

SB 130 would require each school district have a bullying policy, provide suggestions for what such a policy should include and write a model policy that would take effect if school districts didn’t act.

The debate in committee centered not on whether the bill should pass but in what form. Specifically, some lawmakers supported saying districts “shall” include certain criteria, while others preferred saying they “may” include those criteria.

Attorney General Marty Jackley proposed the looser language.

“An anti-bullying policy should have local control as its cornerstone,” Jackley said. “I would submit to you that what goes on in my hometown of Sturgis, South Dakota, is different from what goes on in Sioux Falls.”

Full story of bullying policies at Rapid City Journal

A novel way of teaching literacy

By Sheila Wayman

WordsWorth Literacy TechniqueWHEN RITA Treacy arrived for her niece’s christening in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, some years ago, she was asked, as godmother, to do a reading.

As somebody who has dyslexia, “I never read out loud unless I’ve done a lot of preparation,” she says. “I was handed the Bible and it was out of the Book of Ecclesiastes” – she had no idea how to pronounce “Ecclesiastes”.

Feeling she could not ask the people sitting on either side of her, she drew on the teachings of her own literacy programme developed over 18 years working as a speech and language therapist. She worked out a pattern in the word’s vowels and consonants, how they break up into sounds, and was then able to tackle the word fluently.

The WordsWorth literacy programme evolved from Treacy’s training and her work with children and adults with literacy disorders, as well as from her own experiences. She analyzed thousands of words, looking for patterns and “retro fitting rules” for the programme that is, since the end of last year, available online.

Full story of teaching literacy at Irish Times

In SHAPE, Fitness Program For Mentally Ill, Expands In New Hampshire

By Holly Ramer

Fitness Helps Mental IllnessKEENE, N.H. — Back when he was a self-described friendless recluse, Craig Carey spent hours sitting in a chair doing nothing or driving around in his car, alone. Then a fitness program for people with serious mental illness turned his life around.

"The In SHAPE program gave me something to grab onto. I came out of my shell, I went to other programs … got a part time job," he said. "I started to say, `OK, my life is getting back together.’"

Carey, 47, of Keene, was diagnosed with manic depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder 15 years ago. In 2003, he became one of the first clients at Monadnock Family Services to join In SHAPE, a program so successful that the state has won a $10 million federal grant to replicate it at the rest of the state’s community mental health centers. The goal is to expand a program that now serves 150 people to 4,500 participants in the next five years.

Full story of fitness for mentally ill at Huffington Post

Is It ADHD or Immaturity? Recent Research Says The Answer Isn’t Always Clear

By Dr. Sherri Singer

ADHD or ImmaturityTruly in the many years I have been talking to parents, I can honestly say that there is no topic that brings such passion as this one. Passion in many ways. While I never ask someone to change their mind about their view or feeling, I have had spirited debate many times about the cause and source of ADHD symptoms.

Since I have always suspected that ADHD may be overdiagnosed, I went searching for articles and found some recent research about some of the ways in which it can be misdiagnosed.

Todd Elder, Ph.D., a health economist at Michigan State University, East Lansing indicates what is actually immaturity may be mislabeled as ADHD, according to his study. In his study, Elder looked at the differences in ADHD and medication rates between the oldest and youngest children in a grade. He used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten Cohort, funded by the National Center for Education Statistics. He looked at whether and how the age of a child relevant to his classmates made a difference.

Full story on ADHD and Immaturity at TRIB Local