Students disciplined for photo of them in white hoods with Confederate flag, burning cross

Published: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 11:50 AM
Updated: Thursday, September 07, 2017 @ 11:19 AM

A Klansman raises his left arm during a 'white power' chant at a Ku Klux Klan rally December 16, 2000, in Skokie, Illinois.
Tim Boyle/Newsmakers
A Klansman raises his left arm during a 'white power' chant at a Ku Klux Klan rally December 16, 2000, in Skokie, Illinois.(Tim Boyle/Newsmakers)

A group of Iowa high school students have been disciplined after a photo made the rounds on social media depicting them wearing white hoods and burning a cross in a field. 

The photo shows five young men, all wearing what appear to be white pillowcases fashioned into KKK-style hoods. One of the people in the picture holds a rifle and another waves what appears to be a Confederate flag.

A makeshift cross burns in the background of the photo, which caused shock and consternation on social media.

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The Des Moines Register reported that Creston Community High School officials learned about the photo Wednesday morning. An investigation by the administration determined some of the school’s students were involved in the incident. 

Jeff Bevins, the school’s athletic director and assistant principal, declined to detail the discipline handed down to the students, who are minors, the Register said. Bevins did speak out about the behavior depicted in the photo. 

“That picture does not represent the beliefs of our school system, our parents, or our community,” Bevins told the newspaper

School officials have also spoken to other students at the school to ensure that they feel safe coming to school. Principal Bill Messerole told the Register that many students were upset by the photo.

“This certainly isn’t an issue that you just forget and move on,” Messerole said. “We want to make sure that it’s OK to have a dialogue about this.”

Messerole said that the students know the picture is not an accurate representation of what the school, or the community, stands for. 

One Creston High football player anonymously reached out to WHO Channel 13 in Des Moines to defend his teammates, indicating that at least some of the students involved were football players. 

“As a current student at Creston and a member of the football team, I would just like to make a statement,” the teen’s statement read. “The five individuals that were involved with the picture are clearly in the wrong, and they will face the consequences eventually. But I can promise everyone that as a whole, our football team and community aren't about that. The actions made by a small group shouldn't represent the entire football team and community. I'm proud to be a part of what this team is actually about, and it's sad to see something like this ruin a rich tradition we carry.”

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There was a similar reaction from some on Facebook, where at least one man defended the school and the community. 

“I saw some comments that are calling the entire school and community racist, (and) I take issue with that,” Allen Bean wrote. “Having had the opportunity to do some volunteer work at Creston High School on several occasions, I saw firsthand the love and care they have for all students. I condemn those that are involved and think they deserve severe punishment, but let’s be careful labeling this school and its community.”

In the meantime, a Drake University law professor told the Register that he believes school officials overreached in their discipline of the students. 

“This is a significant free speech issue,” Mark Kende told the newspaper. “If they’re off school grounds and they’re doing it in their free time and they’re not targeting someone in school, then this is a form of expressive speech.”

Kende explained that, according to Iowa law, hate speech is only a criminal offense if it specifically targets someone. 

The professor told the Register that the students, if involved in extracurricular activities, may have been required to sign statements saying they would refrain from behavior that would reflect poorly on them and the school. The Constitution’s guarantee of free speech could override those statements, however. 

“The school district’s going to have an issue,” Kende said. “The issue is complicated by the fact that the school is reaching beyond its typical school orders to penalize them.”

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10 best school supplies for your child's teacher

Published: Friday, July 13, 2018 @ 10:17 AM

Back-To-School Do's And Don'ts

It may be hard to believe that it's almost time for your children to head off for school.

Though you may have carefully planned out and purchased all the items your kids need for class, sometimes teachers need a little help with school supplies, too.

» RELATED: Back-to-school sales starting early as first day approaches

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» Ohio teachers can get school supply discounts at Target

» Secret Service safety guidelines: What are local districts already doing?

» Find more resources at our Dayton Back to School Guide 2018

Elementary and middle school teachers will agree that the most needed supplies are consumable, meaning that they will get used up throughout the course of the year, according to lifestyles blog My Sister’s Suitcase.  

If you really want to help out your child's new teacher - and make a great first impression - pick up a few of these top 10 school supplies teachers need in class.

Purell hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer - Kids and germs go hand-in-hand, but you can help cut down on classroom illnesses by providing your child's teacher with a nice supply of hand sanitizer.

Facial tissues - There's never a shortage of runny noses and boogers in class, but sometimes there's a shortage of facial tissues. Buy your child's teacher a box or two.

Teacher Ashley Cable passes out stickers to students in her second grade class on Wednesday, July 13, the second day of school at Harold Schnell Elementary in West Carrollton.

Classroom rewards - Every child loves to receive a small reward for answering a question correctly or for good behavior. Ensure that each child gets his just desserts by purchasing items like stickers, erasers and small toys that the teacher can dole out.

Construction paper - Set your child's teacher up with a few additional packs of construction paper, which kids seem to go through at lightning speed.

Ziploc bags - These handy plastic bags will allow your child's teacher to organize learning station materials and send home half-completed projects without losing any pieces.

Glue - Of all the classroom materials that kids work with, glue sticks seem to get used the most. Every teacher needs more glue sticks, no matter how many they already have.

Crayons and markers - Although some schools will provide classrooms with a supply of crayons and markers, teacher inevitably need more throughout the year.


No. 2 pencils - Always needed for handwriting, test taking and worksheets, and always in short supply.

Snacks - Help stock your child's classroom with a few handy snacks that the teacher can offer students during the day. Pretzels and crackers are popular, but always check with your child's school first to make sure that snacks are allowed.

Printer paper - Schools often provide teachers with a certain amount of printer paper, but with all the printing that goes on these days, teachers can always use more.

Looking for tips on keeping your kids safe on social media? Check out these expert tips

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Does a checklist add too much pressure for first day of kindergarten?

Published: Friday, July 13, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

A Reddit user posted a lengthy kindergarten checklist sent to him from his child's elementary school. (Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash)
Aaron Burden on Unsplash
A Reddit user posted a lengthy kindergarten checklist sent to him from his child's elementary school. (Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash)(Aaron Burden on Unsplash)

They have picked out the perfect backpacks and matching lunchboxes. The lists of school supplies have been purchased, labeled and stacked, and they’re ready to head to class.

But is your new kindergartner really ready to head to school?

In 2016, a Reddit user, identified as Lucas Hatcher by "Today," posted a photo of a kindergarten checklist on the website. He titled the thread, "I have failed to prepare my son for Kindergarden (sic)."

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It didn’t have simple kindergarten expectations like using the restroom by oneself and sitting still for a short period of time.

Instead, it contained tasks like writing one's name, knowing 30-plus letters -- meaning upper and lower case -- counting to 10 or more and cutting correctly with scissors.

I have failed to prepare my son for Kintergarden.

Hatcher titled the photo, "I have failed to prepare my son for Kindergarden (sic)."

Hatcher said he focused on the 30-plus letter requirement, since the alphabet has only 26 letters. But according to "Today," many people reacted to what they thought was the extreme nature of the requirements.

"Today" reported that, according to another Redditor, the school their son attends expected him to read fluently by the end of the year. 

"Today" contacted Tom Arnold, the principal of Ooltewah Elementary School, the school that sent out the list posted by Hatcher. Arnold said the checklist, which also included a list of fees and supplies needed for the year, was sent to provide guidance so parents could get their children ready for school.

Educational psychologist Michele Borba told "Today" that Ooltewah's list is comparable to what is expected across the country because of competitive preschools that start teaching academics earlier than in decades past.

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Preschool says 3-year-old's sundress inappropriate

Published: Monday, May 28, 2018 @ 9:59 AM

Image of child playing with toy blocks.
Image of child playing with toy blocks.(Pixabay)

Preschool officials in Canada deemed a 3-year-old girl's sundress to be inappropriate, leaving parents disappointed and bewildered.

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Sadie Stonehouse told CTV News that while the sundress goes down to her daughter Lola's ankles, officials said the shoulder straps were not wide enough. School policy requires straps to be at least two inches wide, CTV News reported. 

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Stonehouse said that in order for Lola to be able to wear the sundress to preschool again, school officials told her she'd have to wear a shirt underneath it. Stonehouse chose the dress for her daughter because of a heat wave the Winnipeg area was experiencing, so she said adding a layer defeats the purpose of wearing the outfit.

The mother was at a loss of how she would explain to her young daughter why she couldn't wear the dress to preschool anymore, CTV News reported.

An official at Little Years Nursery School told CTV News that the preschool follows the dress code of the area's school division, but a Pembina Trails School Division spokesperson said there is no official dress code.

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Mother, daughter graduate college together after tragedy strikes family

Published: Saturday, May 12, 2018 @ 2:41 PM

Image of graduating students.
Image of graduating students.(Pixabay)

After enduring the loss of a loved one, a mother and daughter from Michigan are marking a happy milestone together.

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Linda and Becky Dancer graduated together this month from Cleary University, WXYZ reported.

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For mother Linda, the degree was completed 42 years after she began her higher education. She was prompted to join her daughter in college after her husband, Dan, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2014.

Linda told WXYZ that she worked much harder to earn the degree now than she had when she first started four decades ago.

Mother and daughter are proud of their individual and joint accomplishments. Linda hopes to increase her income and says a master’s degree may be in her future.

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