‘Alt-right’ activist Richard Spencer plans visit to University of Florida

Published: Sunday, August 13, 2017 @ 8:46 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

AltRight.com co-editor Richard Spencer might speak at the University of Florida in September.

UF President Kent Fuchs released a statement saying that the National Policy Institute, which is led by Spencer, contacted the university to reserve space for a speaking event that would feature Spencer, who is a white nationalist and "alt-right" activist.

Fuchs said the organization is not affiliated with the university, and no student groups or other groups affiliated with the university are sponsoring the speech.

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The event is not finalized and it is still under discussion, Fuchs said.

University regulations allow non-university groups, organizations and persons to rent space on campus. The groups must cover rental expenses and security costs.

Fuchs said the university's administration, staff and campus police are forming a security plan if the event is finalized. The university is working with other organizations that held similar events on their campuses.

"For many in our community, including myself, this speaker’s presence would be deeply disturbing," Fuchs said in an official statement. "What we’ve watched happen in Charlottesville, Virginia, in the last 24 hours is deplorable; I again denounce all statements and symbols of hate. The University of Florida is a community of learners, educators and scholars. We encourage open and honest dialogue, and we strive to build an inclusive environment where hate is not welcome."

Fuchs said that while Spencer's views do not align with those of the university, the university has to follow and uphold the First Amendment.

Saturday marked a violent day for Charlottesville after one person died and 19 were injured following a white nationalist rally.

Spencer led a rally in May, protesting plans to remove a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"Though we have a responsibility as a public university, we also have a vital duty to our students, faculty and staff to uphold our educational mission," Fuchs said.

The event would be held Sept. 12 if it is finalized by the university. 

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Family returning from Disney desperate to find lost teddy bear along I-77

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 7:11 AM

Family Looks For Lost Teddy Bear After Disney World Trip

A family from New York driving home from a trip to Disney World is desperate to find their little girl's teddy bear, and think it may have been lost in the Charlotte area.

The family was driving along Interstate 77 in Rock Hill on April 13 when they think the stuffed animal fell out the window.

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The girl’s mother, Amy Earley, said in a Facebook post that the bear means the world to her. That post has been shared hundreds of times and has dozens of comments.

Earley said her 3-year-old daughter has never gone a day without the bear and is completely heartbroken.

The family went on a Disney vacation in Orlando, and in photographs from the trip, the little girl is seen holding the bear everywhere the family went.

The family stopped in Rock Hill on the way home and stayed at a Comfort Suites. They think the bear may have fallen out the window of their car on I-77 northbound, between the hotel and exit 30 in Davidson.

Earley is pleading for help and has offered a $500 reward.

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School walkouts: What are students’ rights?

Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 3:55 PM

What You Need to Know: ENOUGH National School Walkout

Students, teachers and parents across the U.S. will be taking part in a walkout Wednesday to bring attention to their fight to end gun violence in schools.

ENOUGH National School Walkout” was organized by students working with the Women’s March Youth Empower to call for action on gun control.

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The walkouts are planned on the one-month anniversary of when 17 people were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 

But what rights do students and teachers have when it comes to walkouts? Here are some answers from the American Civil Liberties Union:

1. Can a school punish students for taking part?

The law in most places requires students to go to school, so schools can discipline students for missing class. But students cannot be disciplined more harshly because of the political nature of the message behind their actions. 

Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead

The exact punishment a student could face will vary by state, school district and school. 
Most Florida school districts allow students to take part in protests on school grounds as long as it’s peaceful and follows federal, state and local regulations. 

2. What if it turns disruptive?

School officials are allowed to put a stop to a walkout if it becomes disruptive. 

Students cannot block streets or let the walkout escalate to civil disobedience. 

Related: National school walkout: When is it; what will happen

According to the ACLU, what counts as disruptive will vary. A school disagreeing with a student's position or thinking their speech is controversial or in “bad taste” is not enough to qualify.

3. May I distribute leaflets, pamphlets and other literature without a permit?

Students may approach pedestrians on public sidewalks with leaflets, newspapers, petitions and solicitations for donations without a permit, according to the ACLU.

Related: Florida school shooting: What we know about the victims

The organization says these types of activities are legal as long as entrances to buildings are not blocked and passersby are not detained. 

4. Can the school keep students from coming back after a walkout?
Locking out students is essentially the same thing as a suspension, so it depends on whether the school usually issues suspensions for missing class. If getting suspended is not a punishment for an unexcused absence at a particular school, then getting locked out after a walkout at that school is not allowed.

Related: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

5. How are a student's rights different at a private school than a public school?
The First Amendment applies to public schools’ actions, but not those of private schools, so there is much less protection for students’ speech at a private school. 

6. Can students be arrested?
As long as no laws are broken, students shouldn’t have to worry about being arrested.

7. What are student's rights on social media? 

A school cannot punish students for content they post off-campus and outside of school hours that does not relate to school.

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'National School Walkout’: Everything you need to know about Friday’s event

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:52 AM

The Worst School Shootings in US History

Thousands of students across the country are set to walk out of class on Friday, the 19th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado.

More than 2,500 groups have signed up for the “National School Walkout,” a student-led protest aimed at bolstering the discussion about gun-control measures.

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Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore who started a Change.org petition suggesting the walkout, said keeping the momentum of the national “March for Our Lives” movement strong was important to her and that, “Our generation is demanding change and won't be ignored or swept under the rug." 

March for Our Lives grew out of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Seventeen people died in the Feb. 14 shooting.

Murdock told National Public Radio that the protest is “not conservative or liberal. It is just about making sure our children don't get harmed in school and we don't live in a community and in a country that has institutionalized fear. I think we're all sick of it. That's why we're doing this."

Murdock goes to a Connecticut high school about 20 minutes away from where Sandy Hook Elementary School once stood. The Newtown, Connecticut, school was the site of a mass shooting in 2012 where 26 people – mostly 6- and 7-year-old children – were killed.

Here’s what you need to know about Friday’s National School Walkout.

When is the National School Walkout?

The walkout is set for Friday and starts at 10 a.m.

What is the walkout about?

Students are protesting “congressional, state, and local failures to take action to prevent gun violence,” according to the National School Walkout website. They are asking lawmakers to support:

  • Legislation to strengthen background checks.
  • Legislation to allow family members to request the issuance of a gun violence prevention warrant for those they fear may pose a danger to themselves or others. 
  • Bans on bump stocks.
  • Raising minimum age to 21 to buy an assault rifle like the AR-15.

What will happen?

Students across the country will walk out of their schools at 10 a.m. local time and pause for 13 seconds of silence – one second for everyone killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999.

After that, organizers are encouraging students not to go back to school, but to stay out the entire day. They are telling students to hold rallies and letter-writing campaigns or other activities around the day.

How do you participate?

Since organizers are suggesting that students walkout of school for the day, the event is geared more toward high school students. More than 2,500 schools in the United States have registered their intention to participate in the walkout. Not all groups registered are high schools. 

Organizers have compiled a guide with suggestions for activities and a link to resources including legal rights and safety tips.

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, shooting instructor Frankie McRae demonstrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C. The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, announced Wednesday, April 18, 2018, that it will stop taking orders and shut down its website next month. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)(Allen G. Breed/AP)

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Details released after 9-year-old taken from elementary school, found over 1,000 miles away

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:59 AM

Brenton White. (Photo: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)
Brenton White. (Photo: Shelby County Sheriff's Office)

After a 9-year-old girl was forcibly taken from Northaven Elementary school, authorities found Za'Myiah White in Grants, New Mexico.

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Grants officers tracked down Brenton White through his cellphone. They discovered he was at a Sonic Drive-In.

Investigators said they found White parked in a stall when he was approached by officers.

Deputies told FOX13 the suspect began fidgeting in the vehicle, then started to back up. The deputies then asked Brenton White to exit the vehicle, but he did not comply and continued to back up the car.

The officer then attempted to open the driver's side door, but it was locked, investigators said.

White then attempted to drive around the Sonic parking lot at a high rate of speed. However, officers barricaded the exits and entrances, according to officials.

The suspect then drove on to the pedestrian walkway to escape police, however officers deployed spike strips that made contact with both driver’s side tires, deputies said.

White continued the drive further down the street. Officers attempted to slow the vehicle down by boxing him in, according to deputies.

Deputies also noticed a small child in the back seat standing up, looking back at the deputies’ cars. 

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