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Former Miss Montana under fire for tweets about her special-needs students

A former Miss Montana-turned-West Fargo, North Dakota, teacher whose winning platform was inclusive education for students with disabilities is under investigation for tweets about her special-needs students at Liberty Middle School – and their parents.

According to WDAY, Sheridan Tihista, formerly Sheridan Pope, is under fire after anonymous concerned parents printed out 20 pages of tweets from the teacher they deemed offensive.

>> Watch the news report here

In one tweet, Tihista reportedly referred to moms of children with autism as “monsters,” and in another she called the students “Satan.”

WDAY reported that another tweet said the best part of teaching children with autism is that her lesson plans never have to change because the kids “loooove routines!”

“I yelled at my student today and accidentally called him by my cat’s name…. not even ashamed bc that’s how annoying he was” and “I’m going to start a blog under a pseudonym called '[Expletive] My Students Say'” were also among the controversial tweets.

>> Read more trending news

Tihista’s Twitter account had been fully public but was made private after the complaints were lodged. Now the Twitter account is completely gone.

Although she declined to be interviewed, she did send a text to WDAY.

“My tweets may have been distasteful but don’t illustrate what kind of educator I am,” she wrote.

Interestingly, Tihista had been in the news before for being bullied out of a sorority.

Her conduct is currently under review and her future at the school uncertain.

Florida teacher fired over eyebrow-raising 'How comfortable am I?' assignment

A middle school teacher from Hernando County, Florida, is out of a job after a “How comfortable am I?” assignment came to light. The source of the assignment was a book called “Exploring White Privilege.”

The teacher at Fox Chapel Middle School gave students an assignment that asked them to circle a response of how comfortable they were with living in a predominantly black neighborhood, single moms on welfare, mothers “coming out” to their children, gay neighbors, being invited to a gay bar, having a Jewish roommate and more.

>> Watch the news report here

The response choices ranged from “Not Comfortable At All" to "Completely Comfortable.”

The teacher, identified as Daryl Cox by WTSP, has been fired.

The Hernando County School District said, “In no way does that assignment meet the standards of appropriate instructional material.”

Mothers and students speaking to WFTS condemned the assignment.

“‘How comfy are you if you see a group of black men walking to you on the street?’ That’s completely inappropriate. In no world, whatsoever, is that OK to question a child on,” mom Jennifer Block said.

>> Read more Floridoh! stories

“I thought it was very inappropriate. I thought some of them were racist. I thought some of them were sexist. I thought it was completely intolerable,” sixth-grader Tori Drews added. “There were children that were saying this is wrong. ‘Why are we doing this?’ ‘Does this have a reason?’ She was going, 'Yeah this is kind of wrong ... maybe I should take it back.'”

Drews said the teacher immediately backtracked on the assignment and said, “No. Don’t show your mom.”

“Kids were asking if they could share it with their parents. She was like, ‘No. Don’t show your mom. Don’t take that home. I’m taking it back up,'” she said.

>> Read more trending news

The student said the assignment was part of her “Leader in Me” class, which was meant to teach about accepting the differences of people.

“I believe that it was very wrong what she did. That she didn’t ask anybody before she gave it out. But I think that maybe she should have been put on a break and had like another training on something like that,” Drews said.

As WTSP reported, the assignment’s source was a book called “Exploring White Privilege” written by Robert Amico, who gave the following comment on the story:

"There is a survey in the appendix of my book titled “How Comfortable Am I?” under 'Self-Assessment Exercises' that offers readers an opportunity to assess their comfort levels in a variety of possible situations that cover a range of issues, including race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, disability, religion, and so forth. The results can direct readers to areas worth further exploration for personal growth. I hope this helps."

Cox has not responded to media requests for comment.

Dad's heart-stopping images of his daughter in 'dangerous situations' go viral

Dad Stephen Crowley of Dublin, Ireland, is a skilled prankster. He loves to Photoshop his 18-month-old daughter, Hannah, into dangerous scenarios, then post those photos on Instagram.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

"I thought it would be fun to worry family by putting someone delicate in precarious situations," he told HUH magazine. "Most of the reactions have been positive, with the odd person not getting the joke and commenting I 'should be shot.'"

>> Read more trending news

According to Mashable, Hannah went through chemotherapy and had a bone marrow transplant to treat hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, or HLH. Crowley is now trying to raise awareness about donating bone marrow. Learn more here.

>> Click here or scroll down to see some of his viral images

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Boy with rare genetic disease fulfills dream, becomes SWAT officer for a day

A 6-year-old California boy battling a rare genetic disease fulfilled his dream of becoming a SWAT officer thanks to his local law enforcement officers.

Steven Pulido has adrenoleukodystrophy, which breaks down parts of the brain. He’s been undergoing treatments for the disease, but his condition has gotten worse over time despite two bone marrow transplants.

>> Read more trending news

Steven, who lives in Los Angeles, loves his local law enforcement officers.

“We see the firemen going by, he’s waving. He sees cops on the motorcycle on the highway and he’s waving ‘hi,’ and they can’t even see him,” his mom, Christel Pulido, said, according to KNBC.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

Steven has dressed up as a SWAT officer for the past few Halloweens, and on Friday, he finally became a real SWAT officer thanks to his local law enforcement officers.

He spent the day training with the Sheriff’s Air Rescue helicopter and the weapons team.

“He just loves law enforcement,” Pulido said.

She said it has not always been easy for her family to deal with her son’s disease, but that she’s gotten help from at least one nonprofit group.

"Regular Hero … has helped Steven since the beginning, including buying him Christmas gifts and helped when he went back to school," she said.

>> Watch the news report here

Highlights

VIDEO: Adorable baby starts every day by throwing his hands into the air

An adorable video shared online shows a 5-month-old baby waking up every morning by throwing his hands in the air.

WTTV reported that Kaden Siri is already a viral sensation. A video that his father shared online has already amassed 13 million views in just a few days.

>> Read more trending news

Kaden’s father, Kent Siri of Boston, told WTTV that his son loves to be swaddled when he’s sleeping.

Kent noticed that when he unwraps Kaden every morning, his arms automatically shoot up into the air. He wanted to share the morning ritual with his friends and family, so Kent started to record the moment.

He recently created a video compilation of the morning routine. He timed each video with clips from movies and songs. The compilation quickly went viral.

“We had been posting the individual clips on Facebook for weeks, but when I put the compilation together, things just exploded. Frankly, we’re still trying to wrap our heads around all of it!” Siri said.

Watch a compilation of Kaden’s arm-raising routine below.

Mom pushes for EpiPen policy after daughter nearly dies

A Walpole, Massachusetts, mother whose daughter nearly died from a severe allergic reaction is working with state lawmakers on a bill to provide police officers with EpiPens.

>> EpiPens recalled for defective part

Chandler Sullivan’s daughter, Piper, was just 1 1/2 years old in December when she suffered an anaphylactic reaction due to an unknown, severe allergy to sunflower seed butter, a common alternative to peanut butter in an age when peanut and tree nut allergies are rampant.

>> Watch the news report here

When Sullivan arrived at the day care, Piper was already being rushed in an ambulance to the hospital. She had vomited, her eyes were swollen shut, her body was covered in hives and her breathing was becoming labored when Walpole EMTs administered an EpiPen.

“She needed two EpiPens. She needed two doses of Benadryl. She needed steroids. We spent all day at the ER. And EpiPens are what saved her life,” Chandler said. “We learned that if this had been something different, and if the police were the first to arrive and the EMTs were not closely behind them, this would have had a different outcome.”

When Sullivan learned police not only in Walpole but at departments across the state don’t carry EpiPens, she contacted state Rep. John Rogers, who drafted HD 3279: “An act relative to police use of epinephrine autoinjectors.”

Walpole Police Chief John Carmichael has spoken to Sullivan about the bill. Carmichael tells WFXT that his department will become equipped with and trained to use EpiPens.

The process, he said, involved registering with the Department of Public Health and receiving training from the local hospital to administer epinephrine.

>> Read more trending news

Sullivan is urging other members of the community to call their local legislators by Tuesday and ask them to cosponsor the bill.

“Whether it's food allergies, latex, bee stings, whatever it is, police officers are 99 percent of the time the first ones to get to… an emergency, and we feel that the fact that they can carry AEDs and Narcan, they should be able to able to carry and administer EpiPens,” Sullivan said. “I can’t fathom having something horrific happen because somebody doesn’t have an EpiPen.”

Bradley Cooper, Irina Shayk welcome first child, reports say

Congratulations to Russian supermodel Irina Shayk and her Academy Award-nominated boyfriend, Bradley Cooper, who welcomed their first child two weeks ago, according to People and Us Weekly.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Reports: Bradley Cooper, model girlfriend Irina Shayk expecting first child

News that the couple was expecting a baby broke in November. Shayk’s baby bump was subsequently spotted on multiple occasions.

>> Read more trending news

Cooper will feature in the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” — the sequel to one of 2014’s biggest films. The inevitably arduous press tour combined with his new fatherly duties means he’s sure to have a busy summer.

It’s the first child for the pair, who have been an item for two years.

Mama June shares fears about her daughters' self-image, health

Mama June Shannon fears for her own daughters’ weight after shedding 300 pounds.

The reality star is opening up about her weight-loss journey and what she hopes her daughters, Lauryn “Pumpkin” Shannon, 17, and Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson, learn from her mistakes.

>> Here's how Mama June lost nearly 300 pounds and plans to keep it off

“I don’t want them to go through what I went through in school or with surgery,” Shannon told People. “I’ve seen them lose and gain weight, but I don’t want them to end up like I did at 460 pounds. Who would want that?”

Shannon’s weight gain escalated after years of making unhealthy food choices and living a sedentary life. Her “sketti” dinner and family’s love of junk food was widely criticized by viewers of the now-canceled “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” series.

>> Mama June of 'Honey Boo Boo' reveals slender new look

“I do worry about their health, but I’m not going to say, ‘You got to eat salads all the time,’” she said of her daughters. Shannon is also mother to Jessica “Chubbs” Shannon and Anna “Chickadee” Cardwell, from whom she is estranged.

After learning her ex, Mike “Sugar Bear” Thompson, was getting married, Shannon decided to shed the extra weight and spent nearly $75,000 on her transformation, which was documented in her new series, “Mama June: From Not To Hot.”

>> Read more trending news

Although she does not want them to undergo surgeries, Shannon did say should would support her daughters if they made that decision.

“If they do have to have that done, they’ve got to realize it’s not just a surgery thing; you have to change body, your frame of mind, what you eat. Everything,” she said.

The finale of “Mama June: From Not To Hot” airs at 9 p.m. ET Friday on WEtv.

Fake kidnappers target mom after daughter posts about vacation

A Massachusetts mother thought her worst nightmare had come true when she was told that her daughter had been kidnapped while on vacation.

The caller told Patricia Hebner that she needed to pay a ransom or else her daughter would be killed.

>> Read more trending news

It was all a scam, but a very elaborate one that had Hebner very worried about her daughter in Mexico.

“A man came on and said, 'I have your daughter; she's in the back of the van. I'm going to kill her unless you get me some money,'” Hebner said. “There was the screaming crying. It was like, 'Mom, help me, Mom, help me, Mom.’ I said, ‘Victoria, is that you?’”

>> Watch the news report here

Hebner kept the scammers on the phone while she went to a neighbor’s home and had them call for police.

“She's claiming that she got a phone number. She wants traced, that somebody may have taken her daughter,” a dispatcher said on a 911 recording of that phone call.

Wrentham police are warning that scammers are now tracking people on social media. An Instagram post from Victoria about going away may have tipped them off.

“I think they got into her phone and saw my number. I was her mom; they knew they can get money from me,” she said.

10 tips for staying safe while having fun this summer

Summer is coming! 

Although the first official day of spring didn’t hit until March 20, by the first day of April this year, some parts of the U.S. had already hit temperatures in the 80s and 90s.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are 10 tips on safety during warm temperatures:

1. Go outside in moderation

Most things are best in moderation. While it’s tempting to be outside as much as you can while the sun is out, especially after a long winter, it’s well researched that extended sun exposure is not good for you.

Reduce exposure to the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.

Related: 10 fun ways to spend a rainy day

2. Wear a hat 

If you are outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat to cover your face and neck. Look for hats that include UV ratings on the labels.

Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep cool and to protect your skin from the sun and mosquitoes.

3. Wear sunglasses

It’s not just because you’re cool -- sunglasses help protect your eyes. Wear sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.

Chronic exposure to the sun can cause cataracts, which left untreated, can lead to blindness.

4. Wear sunscreen

When you’re out on the beach, liberally apply sunscreen (at least SPF 15) 15 minutes before stepping on the sand and re-apply at least every two hours -- sunscreen prevents skin cancer and prevents premature aging.

Related: Remember the ABCs of sun protection before you head outside this summer

5. Take heat breaks

Hiking, biking, yard sports -- they’re all fun summer things to do. But if the temperatures are climbing into the 90s or 100s, that can quickly lead to dehydration.

Keep physical activities to a minimum during excessively high temperatures. Whether working or playing outside, drink plenty of water even if you are not thirsty, and take rest breaks in the shade.

6. Take little ones out of the car

If the temperatures are climbing, no one you care about should be left in a parked car, especially infants, children or frail elderly people. And don’t leave them unattended. It can take as little as 10 minutes for the temperature inside a car to rise to levels that can kill.

7. Ward off overheating

To prevent overheating and/or sunstroke, use cool compresses, misting, showers and baths. If you or someone nearby experiences a rapid, strong pulse, feels delirious, becomes unconscious or has a body temperature above 102, call 911 immediately.

8. Keep an eye on young swimmers

Young children love to cool off in the water, but they can get over their heads quickly. Prevent children from drowning by combining adult supervision at all times and have a safety barrier that surrounds a pool or spa.

Drowning is the leading cause of injury deaths for children under 5.

9. Defend your home from insects

Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes. Some mosquitoes carry West Nile virus which often mimics influenza, with fevers, body aches and eye pain. West Nile virus can cause serious health complications, and in rare cases, death.

Eliminate all sources of standing water on your property, including flower pots, old car tires, rain gutters and pet bowls. Mosquitoes breed and lay eggs in standing water.

Related: A dash of peppermint oil can keep your home pest-free, naturally

10. Defend yourself from insects

Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaradin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions. You can also make your own with essential oils, natural witch hazel, distilled water and vegetable glycerin.

Mosquitoes usually bite in the early morning and evening, so it is important to wear repellent at those times.

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