Georgia teacher admits stealing 9-year-old student’s violin to pay ticket, police say

DECATUR, Ga. – A Georgia teacher told police he stole a 9-year-old student's violin because he needed money to pay for a $700 ticket. Citing an incident report, news outlets report that video showed 21-year-old Kalif Jones of Stone Mountain stealing the instrument from the cafeteria. It also showed the Brockett Elementary School teacher walking … Continue reading “Georgia teacher admits stealing 9-year-old student’s violin to pay ticket, police say”

DECATUR, Ga. – A Georgia teacher told police he stole a 9-year-old student's violin because he needed money to pay for a $700 ticket.

Citing an incident report, news outlets report that video showed 21-year-old Kalif Jones of Stone Mountain stealing the instrument from the cafeteria. It also showed the Brockett Elementary School teacher walking throughout the school with the violin case in hand before leaving with it.

The criminal investigation began in late November after the student came home without his instrument. Police arrested the Dekalb County teacher after he said he stole the violin because he had recently received a $700 ticket and needed money for it.

Jail records show he was charged with a count of misdemeanor theft Nov. 29. It's unclear if he has a lawyer.

Teachers union: Tentative deal to end charter schools strike

CHICAGO – The nation's first teachers' strike against a charter school operator will end after their union and management struck a tentative deal Sunday that includes protections for students and immigrant families living in the country illegally.

The Chicago Teachers Union said more than 500 teachers will return to classes Monday at Acero's 15 schools with 7,500 predominantly Latino students. Teachers went on strike Tuesday and classes were canceled.

Robert Bloch, general counsel for the union, said that since the schools' enrollment is "overwhelmingly low-income Latino," the union felt it was necessary to have provisions to protect students, their families and teachers who may be living in the country illegally. The agreements prohibits Acero from collecting and distributing information about the immigration status of students, teachers and families and restricts access by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to schools except by court order, he said.

Acero said in a news release the two sides agreed to raises for teachers and staff annually over the four-year term of the contract and the charter operator agreed to the union's request to shorten the school year to more closely align with the Chicago Public Schools.

Teachers' work days will be reduced, but Acero said that through changes in the way the school day is structured, the schools will preserve the amount of instructional time for students. The deal was struck just before 5 a.m. Sunday.

"Thanks to hard work and very long hours from both bargaining teams, we were able to reach an agreement that values teachers and staff for the important work they do, while still maintaining the attributes of our network that help produce strong educational outcomes for our students," Acero Schools' CEO Richard L. Rodriguez said in a prepared statement. "Most important for all of us and the families and communities we serve, we can now get students back into the classroom, where they belong."

The union said the agreement also reduces class sizes.

The union said the strike was the first against a charter school operator in the nation. The union also represents public school teachers in Chicago.

Chicago charter school network seeks order to end strike

CHICAGO – A Chicago charter school network is seeking help in halting a teachers' strike for much of the past week.

The Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times report Acero filed complaints Friday with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board and National Labor Relations Board against the Chicago Teachers Union. The complaint filed in Cook County argues the strike is illegal because teachers didn't follow mediation or notice requirements.

Teachers went on strike Tuesday and classes were canceled for Acero's 15 schools and 7,500 predominantly Latino students. They are demanding smaller classes, more special education staff, salary increases and protections for students and families living in the country illegally.

Union officials say the walkout isn't illegal. They say it's the first strike at any of the privately run, taxpayer-funded schools in the U.S

Texas community backs teacher criticized for having kids recite daily Bible verse

The town of Smithville, Texas is rallying around an elementary school teacher who received backlash after she posted a video of her first-grade class reciting a Bible verse.

Susan Schobel’s now-deleted Facebook video posted on Nov. 1 showed the children at Brown Primary School quoting from a passage of Scripture in the New Testament book of Romans.

“Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good,” the children were recorded saying along as they sat in a circle.

Schobel described it as the “daily Bible verse” for the class.

CALIFORNIA MUSIC TEACHER ARRESTED AFTER VIDEO CAPTURES HIM PUNCHING STUDENT

The majority-Christian community of 4,200 people showed their support with t-shirts that had the hashtag #IStandwithSusan and the Bible verse – Romans 12:9-10 – on them.

One mother whose children were all educated in the Smithville public school system told the local newspaper she’s never seen religion or faith expressed in the classroom curriculum said the community’s faith is felt but not forced.

“In a place like this, where there is almost literally a church on every corner, it’s going to come out somehow,” Hope Mosqueda told the Austin American-Statesman. “Maybe not even trying intentionally to influence anyone.”

In a later post, which is now deleted, Schobel wrote: “If I get fired teaching my children about Jesus then I’m getting fired for a great reason!”

One parent called it unconstitutional and “religious indoctrination,” while another said it was not okay.

“I don’t have anything against religion. I actually love Jesus. I love his teachings, his practices, and it's been a big impact in my life, but I don’t believe that belongs in the public school system,” parent Charlie Lucko told Fox 7.

Todd Starnes, the host of “Starnes Country” on Fox Nation, ridiculed the parents for objecting to the teacher's Bible readings.

"It's a bit puzzling why parents in Smithville, Texas would object to their children learning to hate evil and do good," Starnes said on his inaugural show. "We are a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles."

SPECIAL-ED TEACHER SUSPENDED FOR ALLEGEDLY SPITTING ON STUDENT IN VIDEO: REPORT

Attorneys and religious liberty experts say the teacher violated a 1963 Supreme Court ruling, Abington School District vs. Schempp, which struck down public school-sponsored Bible readings and prayer as unconstitutional.

Superintendent Cheryl Burns acknowledged the district’s duty to maintain religious neutrality in public schools.

“We encourage and celebrate these freedoms and welcome the diversity of thought, worship, ideas and speech in our community,” Burns wrote. “We support the right of students to express themselves. We support our employees’ free speech and free exercise rights as well, while being mindful of their on-duty responsibilities.”

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for FoxNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

Faculty trained to use hockey pucks to thwart shooters

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Faculty members at Oakland University in suburban Detroit have received hockey pucks and are being trained to use them to potentially thwart active shooters.

WDIV-TV reports the American Association of University Professors distributed pucks to its 800 members.

University Police Chief Mark Gordon says to fight effectively, faculty and students need to be prepared to throw heavy objects that will cause a distraction. Gordon says pucks fit the bill and can conveniently be carried in brief cases or backpacks.

The faculty union also is working with student groups to distribute an additional 1,700 pucks to students.

___

Information from: WDIV-TV, http://www.clickondetroit.com

Faculty trained to use hockey pucks to thwart shooters

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Faculty members at Oakland University in suburban Detroit have received hockey pucks and are being trained to use them to potentially thwart active shooters.

WDIV-TV reports the American Association of University Professors distributed pucks to its 800 members.

University Police Chief Mark Gordon says to fight effectively, faculty and students need to be prepared to throw heavy objects that will cause a distraction. Gordon says pucks fit the bill and can conveniently be carried in brief cases or backpacks.

The faculty union also is working with student groups to distribute an additional 1,700 pucks to students.

___

Information from: WDIV-TV, http://www.clickondetroit.com