high school news

This powerful image is from one of the memorials last night for 16-year-old Maren Sanchez.

Maren was stabbed to death in her high school stairwell on the morning of the prom. She was killed for allegedly turning down a young man’s invitation to be her prom date.

Her classmates paid tribute by dressing up, and bringing out the gown she would have worn to the prom. Even though this memorial was a sorrowful and traumatic event, the students smiled through their tears for the camera because… Maren would have wanted them to be happy on their prom night.

I grew up in Milford, CT, and I live about 15 minutes away from Jonathan Law High School. My partner attended JLHS and I have friends with family members who currently attend.

With the Sandy Hook shooting in December 2012, I can’t believe that here we are again, just a year later, with another tragedy in a Connecticut school.

My heart goes out to all of those affected.


Pretoria Girls High School students are fighting back against a racist dress code.

When Pretoria Girls High School in Pretoria, South Africa, put restrictions on how women could wear their hair, they probably didn’t expect this response. But the students are not taking these covert racial tactics lightly. 

Boys and girls alike, including 13-year-old Zulaikha, are taking a stand with protests, demonstrations and a petition with more than 18,000 signatures. But it’s not just the dress code they’re fighting, students also claim the school restricts their language.

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Earlier this month we met an owl who’d been given his own library card at a university in England. Today we’d like to introduce you to a scholarly feline named Bubba who spends as much time as he can at Leland High School and Bret Harte Middle School in San Jose, CA. Bubba doesn’t actually live at the school, he lives in a house next door with Amber Marienthal and her family. But you wouldn’t know it, because whenever the school is open Bubba is over there attending class, roaming the halls, and snoozing in the library. He’s spent so much time at the school over the years that administrators have given Bubba his very own student ID card.

The family initially tried to make Bubba an indoor cat, but he let them know loudly and often that he was unhappy in his confinement. Their home sits behind both Leland and Bret Harte Middle School, and Bubba became a frequent visitor to both campuses. Marienthal says she still gets calls from staff and students who see him on campus and think he’s lost.

Marienthal says she’s gotten no complaints from staff or students at either school about Bubba prowling the campuses. Her main worry is that Bubba has come close to shaving off one of his nine lives on several occasions. She’s seen him lay down on Leland’s soccer field in the middle of practice and wait for one of the players to pet him.

“He waits for school to start, and he doesn’t come home until all the sports are done,” Marienthal says. “As long as he’s alive, I think he’ll hang out at the school.”

Marienthal hopes the school will invite Bubba to put on a graduation cap and gown and walk with the graduating class of 2017, who’ve been at the schools since Bubba first started attending. We hope they do and that they award him a World’s Best Cat Trophy and a Perfect Attendance certificate.

Click here to learn more about Bubba, student cat.

[via mental_floss]

Native America high schooler’s grade was lowered because she sat through the Pledge of Allegaince.

Leilani Thomas has been exercising her First Amendment right not to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance since she was in second grade, KXTV reported Friday. But this year, a high school teacher took it upon herself to punish Thomas for sitting out the morning ritual by docking Thomas’ participation grade.

Thomas, who is Native American and a student at Lower Lake High School in Lower Lake, California, told local television station KPIX 

She protests the pledge because, “of the history that happened here. On my land. My people’s land.”

Thomas reportedly took a recording of her teacher defending the punishment in which the teacher can be heard demeaning Thomas’ culture and ancestors.

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Entire Seattle football team kneels during national anthem.

Seattle’s entire Garfield High School Bulldogs football team — including both players and coaching staff — kneeled during the national anthem during their season-opening game against West Seattle High this week. 

The action was taken in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Coach Joey Thomas said the idea came entirely from the student athletes. According to their quotes, they sound like the best coaches ever. 

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HSDistrict211 refuses to let transgender student change in girls' locker rooms, defying federal order

It’s kind of sad, since in regards to the Chicago suburbs we live in a pretty progressive place. And now, our superintendent has thrown us back quite a few steps. We are the biggest high school district in Illinois with over 12,000 kids, I never heard of us having a say in this. And this student undoubtedly goes to my school, and even if she doesn’t, D211 has always been protecting of our students regardless of gender orientation and sexuality. While accommodations have been made for this student before, this straight up defiance against federal law is appalling. 6 million dollars gone because “we need to think of everyone”. Well everyone includes her. This is blatant discrimination of federal trans rights, as well as, telling a young transgender teen that the District isn’t going to validate who you really are.

I’m sorry. Hang in there.


All-female high school engineering team creates breakthrough device for people in wheelchairs

A group of female engineers at Berlin High School in New York are building a way for people with disabilities to participate in physical activity.

Their invention is essentially a control panel with a robotic mount and arm that will allow a disabled person without a full range of motion to throw a small object like a ball back and forth. The device is on its way to MIT.

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School suspends, kicks off football team student who saved blind kid from being beaten by bully

“Zero-tolerance” claims another victim—this time, it’s somebody who should be regarded as a hero.

from Daily Mail:

A California teenager who rushed to help a blind classmate being beaten up by a bully has been kicked off the football team.

The high school junior was hailed as a hero for intervening after he saw the ‘visually impaired’ student being repeatedly hit round the head during lunch break at Huntington Beach High School, California on Wednesday.
Footage, filmed by a bystander, shows the teen knocking the bully to the ground with a single punch to stop the attack.

He leaves the boy lying bleeding on the ground while he checks on the visually impaired victim, before turning back to the attacker and asking him: 'You trying to jump a f***ing blind kid, bro? What the f*** is your problem?’
The unnamed bully was today arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor battery and released to his parents, according to Huntington Beach Police.
Police officer Jennifer Marlatt told My News LA the incident did not appear to have any connection with the victim’s disability but said Austin and his attacker 'have a history of not getting along’.

The officer said the argument had begun after the victim walked past his tormenter, and quickly escalated into a physical fight. 

'Another student saw the fight and intervened to prevent the suspect from further assaulting the victim,’ Marlatt said in a news release.  

Students told KCAL9 the visually impaired student was attacked for no reason.
Grant Morels said: 'I saw like a half circle around a group of kids and I wanted to see what was up. And I see this kid like getting wailed on by another kid.’
No arrest is expected for the intervening teen who has been praised by his peers and online for standing up for his classmate.

But his school took a different approach and are believed to have kicked the have-a-go-hero off the football team after he breached their 'zero-tolerance’ policy on violence.

read the rest

here’s the video (Warning: profanity ahoy!):

When you punish the good guys, it makes it difficult for them to continue doing the right thing.  The next time this blind kid faces a bully, who will come to his rescue? 

Update: Broken Youtube link replaced with LiveLeak video embed.

Update 2:Some good news via Reason Magazine. Perhaps the viral outrage of this story has knocked some sense into the the school administration’s heads.

On Twitter, the teen clarified that he was never kicked off the football team—that story was “made up” by the media, he said. The school district also denied that he would be suspended; whether the petition influenced that decision is unclear. For me, the fact that 20,000 people expected the hero to get unfairly railroaded by the system is still quite a testament to the ubiquity of zero tolerance.


Oakland middle and high school band kneels at major league baseball game.

During Tuesday night’s Oakland A’s game, almost all of the middle and high schoolers from Oakland Unified School District knelt on the field as their rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” drew to a close.

As if their incredible act of bravery and protest wasn’t enough, the response from the crowd is downright heartwarming.

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