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Archive for May, 2008

In my last entry, I posted about how Subway Restaurants had chosen to exclude home educators from their writing contest titled “Every Sandwich Tells a Story”. The decision to leave homeschoolers out has struck many, including myself, as unfair discrimination, although it is not clear that negative motivation was involved.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) drafted a letter of response to Subway, and I am happy to report that this letter, in addition to a vocal public response, has elicited an apology from the restaurant company, as well as, a promise to include homeschoolers in future promotional offerings.

You can read the HSLDA letter to Subway, and Subway’s response to them below.

Open Letter to Subway: Let Homeschoolers Enter Contest
May 27, 2008
Frederick A. DeLuca, President
Subway Restaurant Headquarters
325 Bic Drive
Milford, CT 06461-3059

Dear Mr. DeLuca:

By way of introduction, I am the President of Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) and we represent 83,000 member families nationwide. This letter is to draw attention to your “Every Sandwich Tells a Story Contest,” and the unfortunate fact that homeschoolers are not allowed to participate.

The rules clearly state: “Contest is open only to legal residents of the United States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted (emphasis added).”

It is extremely disappointing that Subway would choose to exclude the estimated 2 million homeschooled students.

We understand that the competition is focused on traditional public and private schools because the grand prize of $5,000 of athletic equipment is designed to be used by a traditional school and not an individual family. A potential homeschool winner, however, could simply donate the grand prize to a public or private school of their choice or to a homeschool sports league.

Homeschooling is a thriving educational option. All the available research shows that homeschoolers are excelling academically and socially. We do not deserve to be overlooked.

We hope that you will reconsider the rules of your competition and choose to amend them to include homeschoolers.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Smith
HSLDA President

This letter can be read via the HSLDA web-site here:

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200805270.asp

Subway Apologizes
HSLDA is pleased to pass along the following apology from Subway restaurants.

To HSLDA:

We at SUBWAY restaurants place a high value on education, regardless of the setting, and have initiated a number of programs and promotions aimed at educating our youth in the areas of health and fitness.

We sincerely apologize to anyone who feels excluded by our current essay contest. Our intention was to provide an opportunity for traditional schools, many of which we know have trouble affording athletic equipment, to win equipment. Our intent was certainly not to exclude homeschooled children from the opportunity to win prizes and benefit from better access to fitness equipment.

To address the inadvertent limitation of our current contest and provide an opportunity for even more kids to improve their fitness, we will soon create an additional contest in which homeschooled students will be encouraged to participate. When the kids win, everyone wins!

This response letter from Subway can be read here:

http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/200805280.asp

 


 

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The sandwich restaurant Subway, is currently running a writing contest for children who are in the pre-K to 6th grade school level. Each child who wishes to enter is encouraged to select a “story-starter” from a list of choices, and write an original story that is 500 words or less in length. This sounds like a great idea. It encourages creative writing and is an activity supporting time spent not sitting in front of the television or a video game system. This contest promotes practice in spelling and grammar skills, also admirable, despite the obvious spelling errors in the promotional materials they offer. The problem? They BLATANTLY discriminate against homeschoolers and their children. Homeschoolers are not welcome to enter.

Now, before I get the same responses that I have been running across elsewhere, allow me to say this. If a public or a private school were having a similar contest I would not expect my homeschooled children to be eligible to participate. When HSLDA or another home education related group has an essay contest, I do not expect traditionally schooled children to be eligible to participate. Those are very separate entities with a clear division of purpose. I would certainly not propose that my daughter be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts, or call her exclusion from that organization discriminatory. Presumably however, Subway is a restaurant organized to feed and serve the entire community, who wish to indulge, and not just a specific portion of it. So disallowing home educators to participate is DISCRIMINATION.

I have also heard the argument that because part of the prize package is a $5000.00 athletic package, that only traditional schools should be able to take part in this contest. This too is absurd, because it would be easy to find a homeschool support association, youth club, or similar group to donate to which would be very grateful for such supplies. Really, they have no leg to stand on.

This merely hails as a very bad marketing choice for Subway, and I do not intend to provide them with my business again until it is rectified. Perhaps my response seems harsh to some, but in my mind, blatant discrimination against children based upon the fact that they are being homeschooled is ridiculous. Subway will definitely be receiving a mature and well-worded letter of comment from me, and if you feel as I do, I urge you to do the same. After all, the point is not to just sit around and complain, it is to try and right a wrong. You can read more details about the contest below.

The source for this news story is located here:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=65217

Here is the article:

Subway sandwich contest: Homeschoolers not wanted

 
Spelling-challenged promotion offers gift ‘bastket’ to winners

 
Posted: May 24, 2008
7:00 pm Eastern

 
By Jay Baggett
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

 
Subway, the sandwich restaurant, wants to hear your child’s story – unless he or she is homeschooled.

The national chain’s “Every Sandwich Tells a Story Contest” offers prizes and a chance to be published on the Subway website and in Scholastic’s “Parent & Child” magazine but specifically excludes homeschoolers:

 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied (sic) States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.

Subway’s website promotion not only misspells “United” States, but offers the grand prize winner a “Scholastic Gift Bastket (sic) for your home.”

The 2007 winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee was Evan O’Dorney, a 13-year old homeschool student from Danville, Calif.

Contestants are urged to write, in 500 words or less, a story that has a beginning, middle, and end using one of four provided story starters:

The Mysterious Meatball
When the invitation to the Meatball came in the mail…

Turkey Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
There was a loud knock on the door, but when Salami Sam opened it …

The Race to Red Onion Ranch
Everyone gathered in the center of town for the start of the race except …

Nothing Better
The smell of fresh baked bread coming from the store was so good that …

The contest, launched in January, has a deadline of June 30, 2008. A grand prize winner and 6 runners-up will be selected on July 15 and announced approximately a week later.

 
The company’s website promotion encourages submitters to describe in their essays “random acts of fitness,” such as eating right, exercising, playing sports and living a healthy lifestyle.

Subway has marketed itself for several years as a healthy alternative to fast food, featuring spokesman Jared Fogle who went from 425 pounds to 190 pounds on a daily diet of the chain’s lower-calorie sandwiches.

The exclusion of homeschoolers, presumably because the grand prize includes $5,000 worth of athletic equipment for the winning child’s school, has caught the attention of bloggers who educate their children.

Valerie Bonham Moon, writing for HomeEdMag, referred to the exclusion as “Subway’s P.R. gaffe.”

“By now, the Subway sandwich shop marketing division must know how bad of a decision it was on the part of whichever wonk who decided to expressly exclude homeschoolers from their latest contest. E-mail lists may not be utterly aflame over the exclusion, but there is more than one p—ed-off homeschool mom spreading the word. I’ve been reading their e-mails.”

Moon notes Subway, with a bit of forethought, could have easily included homeschoolers:

“One of the more obvious work-arounds that the developers of the Subway contest could have included for homeschooling parents who entered on their children’s behalf, was for the equipment to be donated to a local park, or to a school of the winner’s choice. Problem solved – good will all around. Too bad that it didn’t play out that way.

“I look forward to seeing how the Subway wonks handle their self-inflicted wound.”

The blogger at Capturing Today, a homeschooling mother, isn’t waiting for the self-inflicted wound, suggesting homeschool families “act now!”

“Excuse me, but there are MILLIONS of homeschool students in this nation and this is just discrimination. A homeschool student could easily donate the athletic equipment to their homeschool athletic association, local park, athletic center, neighborhood center or the like. I realize they are doing this to have a mass-marketing effect, but they could have just as great a media response from a charitable homeschool student donating the prize.

“I believe this is a wonderful opportunity for us to make our voices heard that we as homeschool families are tired of being cast in a negative light.

Jim and Cathy Peschke, blogging at Croydoncraft, expressed their displeasure by entering an essay on behalf of their 3-year-old homeschooled daughter who, while visiting a Subway restaurant, breaks into tears upon learning she’s not eligible to enter the contest.

“I cried and cried, and asked Daddy if we could leave. He said ‘Certainly. Not only will we never visit a mean old Subway store again, we’ll organize a B-O-Y-C-O-T-T of Subway stores by all your homeschooling friends!’

‘I sure hope Subway changes their silly policy so Mommy and Daddy can take me back for more sandwiches.'”

 

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A while ago I promised some more pictures of my children so I thought today I would make good on that promise. In our house, sometimes the three oldest (ages 5.5, 6.5, and 8 ) are called the “big” children, and our two younger (ages 2.5 and 1) are called the “babies”. Soon we will have another little one to add to the “baby” group! I can’t wait! Children are such a blessing. I love taking and keeping pictures, they are such a wonderful way to preserve our precious memories!

            

 Kory says, ” I know that I can win you over with my big blue eyes!” 

Kory gets into a little bit of mischief in the pantry. “But Mom, I want something to eat!”

Kassidy thinks playing outside in the snow with Daddy is fun! “See my snowball Mommy?”

“Awww…don’t I look sweet while I am sleeping? Just like I do when I am awake?”

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The Planned Parenthood organization is already an abomination to our society because of it’s blatant disregard for human life and God’s law, evidenced by the multiple abortions (murders) committed by them every day. This alone, displays the evil influences at work within their ranks, but unfortunately there is more. Aiding and abetting criminals in their pursuits of sexual abuse and assault can now be added to the list. Planned Parenthood’s sickening legacy continues to be revealed, and I hope and pray that more and more people will be able to see their agenda for what it truly is: destruction and hatred. You can read more below.

This news article can be found here:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=64812

The story follows:

Abortionists to surrender records of child rape?
Court reviews Planned Parenthood’s extensive ‘cover-up’ of sexual abuse

Posted: May 20, 2008
9:34 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Planned Parenthood clinic in Cincinnati, Ohio

Amid fierce accusations that Planned Parenthood has systematically concealed cases of statutory rape and sexual abuse from authorities, the organization may be required hand over revealing patient records in a precedent-setting case.

Ohio clinic staff are said to have deliberately concealed the statutory rape of a 14-year-old girl abused by her school’s soccer coach. The trainer, age 21, drove the pregnant girl to the Cincinnati abortion clinic after he discovered she was carrying his child.

According to the Alliance Defense Fund, the ADF filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Ohio Supreme Court Monday. The organization claim the abortion provider frequently fails to notify authorities when underage children have been sexually abused.

“The health and safety of young girls trumps Planned Parenthood’s desire for secrecy,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeff Shafer said. “Ohio law mandates that Planned Parenthood report the sexual abuse of minors, and evidence that may reveal the organization’s violation of that legal obligation may not be hidden.”

ADF is asking the Ohio court to reverse an earlier appellate court decision preventing the girl and her parents from having access to clinic records that may indicate routine cover-up of statutory rape and other sexual abuse.

The child’s parents sued Planned Parenthood when they learned staff performed an abortion on their daughter at the request of her soccer coach without contacting authorities, a requirement in cases of statutory rape. Neither the clinic nor the coach informed the girl’s parents of her abortion or sexual activity.

ADF filed the lawsuit to collect clinic documents that could reveal a history of illegal statutory rape cover-up. A judge ordered Planned Parenthood to release specific records; however, the abortion provider appealed the original decision, and an Ohio appellate court ruled in favor of the clinic. The case is now being heard by the Ohio Supreme Court.

“Planned Parenthood is not above the law,” ADF-allied attorney David Langdon said. “Planned Parenthood is attempting to hide behind inapplicable physician-patient privilege in an apparent effort to protect itself.”

The case is just one more of a series of incidents involving Planned Parenthood’s failure to report adult sex with minors and underage pregnancies.

As WND reported earlier, a lawsuit was filed in Warren County, Ohio, against Planned Parenthood, alleging the facility provided an abortion to a teenage girl after a father sought the procedure to cover up his sexual abuse of the teen.

Dana Cody, a lawyer who filed the action on behalf of the girl, said rather than report the abuse, as required under state law, “Planned Parenthood went ahead and was complicit with the abortion.”

The abuse continued for another 18 months before it was reported by a basketball coach, and the father eventually was convicted of sexual assault.

In a separate case, a pro-life organization in Waco, Texas, called for an explanation of a large discrepancy between statistics regarding statutory rape cases Planned Parenthood said it reported and the number of cases actually documented by law enforcement or other authorities.

Despite prevalent criticism for performing abortions on underage girls and shielding statutory rapists by not reporting them to authorities, Planned Parenthood has continued the practice, with many new cases of underage girls, according to investigations of violations of state criminal reporting laws. Under Title X funding, through which many clinics gain a significant amount of revenue, the abortion provider has reportedly put itself at risk of losing funding for refusing to follow state laws – including reporting laws.
 

 


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Things have been quiet for a while regarding the home education situation in California following the major uproar that occured in March. However, things are still happening behind the scenes and it is important that we stay informed and on top of things. Even if California feels far from home for you, please remember that it does not take much to create precedent, and what happens elsewhere can easily and quickly affect all of us wherever we are. So we do well to stay in touch with the current climate towards homeschooling and parental rights.  Here is the most recent update regarding this matter.

You can find the source for this information at the following location:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=64830

The article follows below:

Gov. Arnold: Let homeschooling continue
‘State provides a broad statutory basis for education by parents in California’

Posted: May 20, 2008
10:16 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and other officials have told an appeals court there’s no need to dig into state constitutional issues regarding homeschooling since state laws already provide for that choice for parents.

The recommendations come in an amicus brief from California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. and others on behalf of the state and its governor.

A ruling from the Court of Appeal in the 2nd District, Division 3 in a dispute stemming from a juvenile case earlier had declared that the state constitution provided no right for parents to school their children at home, threatening the education choice for hundreds of thousands of families across the state.

WND broke the story in February when that ruling was released, but it later simply was dropped when the same panel of judges agreed to rehear the case.

The panel, in announcing the rehearing, invited several interested parties to submit amicus briefs of the question of the constitutionality of homeschooling in California, including the state and its education department as well as several teachers’ unions.

Now the brief from Brown and Schwarzenegger said the court doesn’t have to work that hard to make a decision.

“Here, this court need not reach any constitutional issues because this petition can be decided entirely on statutory grounds,” the brief said. “The Education Code provides a broad statutory basis for homeschooling in California, setting forth three different avenues through which parents may legally homeschool their children.”

The brief said the trial court in the case at hand “addressed only the constitutional issues, it never considered the preliminary question of whether the parents had met the statutory requirements for homeschooling under the Education Act.”

“Accordingly, this court should remand to the trial court for proper consideration of that question in the first instance, and the constitutional issues should not be decided until such time that a resolution is ‘absolutely required … to dispose of the matter,'” the recommendation said.

“The governor’s brief supports the right of California parents to teach their children at home,” stated the governor’s press secretary, Aaron McLear. “It explains how the California Education Code already provides for homeschooling and urges the court to recognize and affirm this important right.”

An earlier amicus brief had been filed by the Pacific Justice Institute on behalf of Sunland Christian Academy, the private school that offers the independent program in which the family’s children were enrolled.

The father in the case is represented separately by the United States Justice Foundation and the Alliance Defense Fund, which have been working on the case’s main arguments to the court. Since the case originated with a juvenile court proceeding, some of the arguments and briefs have remained confidential, because of the standard for handling juvenile proceedings. Other briefs have been released publicly.

“The Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as Article 1, [paragraphs] 1 and 7, of the California Constitution, protect the fundamental due process and privacy liberties of Californians,” according to the Pacific Justice brief, which cited court cases addressing the right to marry, establish a home and bring up children, the right for parents to educate children as they choose, the “private realm of family life,” and others.

“The areas represent ‘a realm of personal liberty’ which the government may not enter,” said the filing.

The governor’s brief said the state provides options for students to be schooled at home with a licensed tutor or through a school independent study program. The third option is for parents, who are “persons capable of teaching” and have met the state records requirements, to teach their children at home.

The original opinion, later dropped, was written by Appeals Court Judge H. Walt Croskey and said: “We find no reason to strike down the Legislature’s evaluation of what constitutes an adequate education scheme sufficient to promote the ‘general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence. … We agree … ‘the educational program of the State of California was designed to promote the general welfare of all the people and was not designed to accommodate the personal ideas of any individual in the field of education.'”

Homeschool advocates immediately expressed concern the original ruling would leave parents who educate their children at home liable criminally as well as open to civil charges for child neglect that could create the potential for fines, court-ordered counseling or even loss of custody.

Also filing an amicus brief – this one on behalf of members of Congress – is Liberty Counsel.

The brief provides an overview of home education laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and notes that as early as 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the rights of parents to direct the education of their children.

“The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the state to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction from public teachers only,” the high court said.

Oral arguments are scheduled in June.

The original opinion arose from a dependency case brought in juvenile court. In the process, attorneys assigned by the court to the family’s two younger children sought a court order for them to be enrolled in a public or qualifying private school.

The district court denied the request citing parental rights, but the appellate court overturned the decision and granted the attorneys’ request. The appeals court concluded the parents held neither a statutory right nor a constitutional right to provide homeschooling to their own children.

 

 

 

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Ever since I was quite young there is one thing in particular that has really bothered me, and that thing is PRAGMATISM. I see things in a very black and white way, that is, for me there are no gray areas. That does not mean that I do not believe in grace, or anything like that. I am very thankful to our Heavenly Father for the abundant grace He shows to me and to all of us on a daily basis. What it means is, that I see sin as sin. I see law as law. I see truth as truth.

It bothers me when I see people water down the truth. That happens so much in today’s culture that sometimes you can’t even “see” the truth anymore when people are finished with it. For example, abortion is murder people, ALL the time. Not just, when a woman is at a certain place in her pregnancy. Not just under certain circumstances. It is murder ALL the time.

It bothers me when I see people break the law, especially when they are Christians. We are to uphold the law of our land unless it makes us disobey God’s law, or conflicts with God’s law. Just because we see a law as being ridiculous, unnecessary, or unimportant, it does not mean that we can go ahead and disobey it or ignore it.

It bothers me when I see Christians, Churches, or Church leaders try and turn something that is sinful into something that is not. I want to reach the unsaved or the lost for Jesus so very much. I want to help them see, that the wonderful Savior that I have can be their Savior as well. I want them to feel welcome to hear the truth and be set free. I do not, however, believe that condoning wrong behaviors or belief systems is the way to accomplish that. All that does is shrink your message. I know that it has been said many times, but it is true that we must “Hate the Sin, and Love the Sinner.” We must refuse to embrace the sin!

Pragmatism is such a part of our  value system that is weaved into the very fabric of our society. It has infiltrated our schools, Churches, workplaces, and everything in between. To quote Kevin Swanson of http://generationswithvision.com , “Pragmatism is the Teflon on the slide to Gomorrah.” Moral relativism must be banished. This applies to ALL areas of our lives. It applies to child training, gender roles, birth control issues, education, modesty, sanctity of life, you name it. We must strive for truth bold enough to shine through in this world, or we are in danger of losing sight of it entirely.

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How would you like to be lied to about what your children are learning at their school today? I imagine not many would vote a big resounding “Yes, please!” to that question. However, parents in Jackson, Mississippi were told that this week their children’s studies would relate to preparing for standardized testing.

 In reality, the 6th graders at Chastain Middle School were asked to vote who of their classmates would be most likely to basically “not succeed”, with specific targeted questions. Questions with embarassing, inappropriate, alienating results that were publically displayed in the classroom. Even at their young age the children involved had more sense than their teacher, in that they initially declined to participate, but were forced to in the end.

Parents, there is no legitimate reason for this assignment, and no excuse for this deception. We must not be fooled into thinking that a stranger with their own motives and agendas can educate our children more honestly and effectively than we can. There are a myriad of value systems out there. Do you want to play russian roulette with your children’s lives in determining whether the values they learn are healthy and appropriate? Mark my words, experiences like this one are very far-reaching, and children, like the little sponges they are will soak it ALL up.

Please keep or bring your children home, so that they can learn in the security and protection of a loving environment. Where they don’t have to be stunted by the institutional process. Where they can flourish and be all that God intends for them to be! You can read specifics about this matter below.

The source for this article can be found here:

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=64280

The story continues below:

School ‘stonewalls’ over pregnancy poll
Parents erupt after children also ranked for AIDS, death

Posted: May 15, 2008
12:00 am Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily
Chastain Middle School in Jackson, Miss.

Parents whose children attend a Mississippi school embroiled in controversy after a science teacher had 6th-graders vote on who was most likely to become pregnant – or be dead – by age 19 say officials now are stonewalling them.

Parent Curtis Lyons wants to see the assignment given his daughter, but is being told he won’t be allowed to review it.

“I have a right to see that assignment,” he told WND today, “but I’ve been refused.”

The controversy erupted when a science teacher at Chastain Middle School in Jackson, Miss., asked 6th-graders to vote from among themselves who was the most likely to be pregnant, infected with HIV, or dead by the age of 19.

The students initially refused to vote, but the teacher overruled them. The 6th-graders then were horrified to see their names listed on a chalkboard, ranked in lists for everyone to see.

Parents like Lyons, whose 12-year-old daughter was voted among those most likely to be pregnant, were outraged. Lyons’ concerns were heightened when he sought to see the assignments his daughter’s class was given, and he discovered the school had confiscated them.

“My daughter told me the first page listed percentages of African Americans that drop out, get pregnant, get HIV, or die before adulthood. The second page listed names of students within the class and then instructed the children to vote who was most likely to fulfill the statistics on page 1. I have asked the school repeatedly to see the actual assignment,” said Lyons, “but the school hasn’t yet told me when, or even if, I’ll get to see it.”

Parents are scratching their heads over the purpose of the assignment, too. Informed by a school publication that the week’s curriculum would focus on preparing for statewide standardized tests, parents told WND that they don’t understand why the teacher in this predominantly black school would ask children to surmise who would become statistical fodder.

WND asked the same question and was told by a school official that the issue had become “a personnel matter” and that all questions would have to be “shuffled up the system” to wait for response approved by the district’s legal counsel.

Eventually, WND was told, “The assignment was designed to be an exercise in statistics.”

Parents are still waiting for meaningful answers, and their children are struggling with the consequences.

“My daughter used to come home from school and run to the mirror to put on her lip gloss,” said Lyons. “She told my wife yesterday that she doesn’t want to wear lip gloss anymore, concerned about why the students in her class voted for her. She’s 12; she should be able to enjoy lip gloss without worrying about how people look at her.

“I’m concerned about the students who were voted most likely to be dead, too,” he said. “Some of them may have parents who died young; it’s a real possibility in our community. How is that going to affect them? Some of them may get in a situation that threatens their safety, and are they going to remember that their peers expected them to die anyway?”

Other parents who did not want to be identified confirmed to WND that their children will be going to counseling, or will be transferring to another school.

A school official told Lyons there always are counselors at the school and they would help students “should the need arise.”

As for the parents, Lyons wants to make sure they aren’t kept in the dark. He’s invited the community to an informational meeting later this week.

“Many of the parents were at work when this happened,” he said. “I was able to go the superintendent and file the complaint, and so I can disseminate that information to parents, some of whom may still not know what has happened.”

 

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