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Teacher suspended after showing students graphic anti-bullying video

A Lincoln County teacher has been suspended after showing a powerful video of the deadly consequences of bullying.

The 20-minute video called "Love is All You Need" follows a young girl named Ashley, growing up in a world where homosexuality is the norm, but she's attracted to the opposite sex.

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Ashley is bullied relentlessly by her peers, and as time goes on she becomes so distraught that in an emotional and graphic scene, she is shown slitting her wrists, taking her own life.

The video was shown in North Lincoln High School teacher Kimberly Fernetti's class, according to officials at Lincoln County Schools.

Some parents weren't happy about the content, alerting the superintendent's office, which led to Fernetti's suspension while school officials investigate.

But one student said told WSOC that not everyone is upset by the video.

"I think it's a great message to get out in the school," he said. "I personally have dealt with bullying, so I think it’s good to get the point across that 'Hey, it's not OK to pick on somebody.'"

That sentiment was echoed by a family member of another student outside the school.

"I don’t think it was vulgar or anything. I think it's better to be aware and to know the possibility of what kids' actions could do," that person said.

Senate schedules early-morning vote on Betsy DeVos, clears hurdle

The Senate had an early-morning schedule addition on Friday to help push through the nomination of one of President Donald Trump's most divisive cabinet nominees.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled a procedural vote to end debate over the nomination of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education, The Hill reported.

A roll call vote was held early Friday morning to approve a motion to invoke cloture on her nomination.

McConnell needed a simple majority, or 51 votes, to end the debate and push her nomination to a full Senate vote early next week.

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Votes that early are rare. One was held before 7 a.m. Dec. 24, 2009, to push through the Affordable Care Act. It passed on a party-line vote of 60-39, The Hill reported.

The reason for the early votes is Senate rules that require 30 hours between a vote to end debate and a vote on final passage of a bill. 

By holding the vote early Friday morning, Republicans can confirm DeVos late Monday. 

Two Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), have said that they will vote against DeVos.

The motion to invoke cloture passed 52-48.

Many Americans have been vocal against DeVos' nomination. DeVos is a backer of school choice and charter school programs, The Associated Press reported.

Collins and Murkowski broke Republican ranks and said DeVos does not have the experience to lead the department. 

DeVos has been described as a billionaire Republican donor who has pushed for charter schools, The AP reported.

"She appears to view education through the lens of her experience promoting alternatives to public education in Detroit and other schools," Collins said.

"I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of education who has been so involved on one side of the equation, so immersed in the push for vouchers that she may be unaware of what actually is successful within the public schools and also what is broken and how to fix them," Murkowski said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he believes that DeVos will be approved as education secretary. "She is an unbelievably qualified educator and advocate for students, teachers (and) parents," Spicer said after Collins and Murkowski said they would oppose DeVos' nomination.

Trump threatens to revoke federal funds from UC Berkeley after protests

After a night of violent protests on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley against a planned speech from Milo Yiannopoulos, President Donald Trump came down hard on the university.

Via Twitter early Thursday, Trump threatened to withhold federal funding if “UC Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view.”

“If UC Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view -- NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” he wrote.

If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017

The riots Wednesday forced university officials to cancel the speech by Yiannopoulos, who was set to appear as part of a book tour. A self-proclaimed internet troll, Yiannopoulos is also an editor at Breitbart News, the far-right website previously under the leadership of Stephen Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist, who has played a key role in many of the executive orders issued during Trump’s first two weeks in office.

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Berkeley is the flagship campus of the public University of California system. It received $370 million in federal research funding for the 2015-16 school year, according to the university’s website. It has been known as the home of the Free Speech Movement since the turbulent 1960s.

Yiannopoulos said the protests against his speech at the school were “ironic and sad” and called university students and personnel “no friends to free speech any more.”

School officials canceled the speech after demonstrators threw smoke bombs and flares at buildings. The protests grew violent, with some using baseball bats to smash ATMs. At a nearby Walgreens, demonstrators spray-painted the building with messages including “Kill Fascists” and “Kill Trump.”

Fresh paint at Walgreen's— Michael Bodley (@michael_bodley) February 2, 2017

The Daily Californian put together our reporters' tweets from the events on campus and throughout the city.— Daily Californian (@dailycal) February 2, 2017

UC Berkeley released the following statement:

“Amid violence, destruction of property and out of concern for public safety, the University of California Police Department determined that it was necessary to remove Milo Yiannopoulos from the campus and to cancel tonight’s scheduled 8 p.m. performance. “The decision was made at about 6 p.m., two hours before the event, and officers read several dispersal announcements to the crowd of more than 1,500 protesters that had gathered outside of the Martin Luther King Jr. ASUC venue. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives.”

Protests against Trump’s policies, including last Saturday’s massive turnout at airports in multiple major U.S. cities to decry the administration’s immigration ban, have mostly been peaceful. Yiannopoulos said on Facebook of Wednesday’s violence that “the Left is absolutely terrified of free speech and will do literally anything to shut it down.”

“It turns out that the progressive left, the social justice left, the feminist, Black Lives Matter ... the hard left, which has become so utterly anti free speech in the last few years, has taken a turn post Trump's election, where they simply will not allow any speaker on campus ... to have their voice heard,” Yiannopoulos said. “They won't allow students to listen to different points of view ... The fact that on an American college campus -- a place of higher education, a place of learning in America, which I've come to as a visitor from the United Kingdom, where we don't have a First Amendment, hoping that this would be somewhere where you could be, do say anything, where you could express your views, express your opinions ... free from violent responses to political ideas, I thought America was the one place where that could be possible.” 

I was just evacuated from UC Berkeley.Posted by Milo Yiannopoulos on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

University fined after caffeine study almost kills students

A British university is being fined after giving two students a potentially fatal amount of caffeine, according to the Huffington Post

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Northumbria University gave sports science students Alex Rossetto and Luke Parkin the equivalent of 300 cups of coffee, which was 100 times more than the study called for, Metro reported. 

The two men were admitted to an intensive care unit for dialysis after the error led to violent side-effects, according to BBC.   

The university said it was “deeply, genuinely sorry" and was fined about $500,000 for its mistake, BBC reported.

Rossetto and Parkin agreed to participate in the study, which was looking to measure the effects of caffeine on exercise. Both men made full recoveries, but Rossetto did suffer from short-term memory loss, the BBC reported. 

In other odd caffeine news, too much caffeine recently got a man arrested for a DUI

Read more at the Huffington Post


Ohio college lost $1.7 million on debate, spent $2.6 million upgrading arena, report says

A final financial tally indicates Wright State University lost a little more than $1.7 million on the 2016 presidential debate it didn’t end up hosting.

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The final finances for the debate, released this week, also show the university spent more than $2.6 million on upgrading the Nutter Center’s internet infrastructure and repairing the arena’s heating and cooling system and smoke detection system, according to an analysis from the university.

Spokesman Seth Bauguess said the university planned to make the upgrades to the Nutter Center over the next few years anyway.

Wright State announced in July that it would pull out of hosting the first 2016 presidential debate. In August, Bauguess told this news organization the university had spent around $2.5 million on debate prep, but that officials were still crunching numbers to determine a final cost.

The university did not have to return a $220,000 cyber security grant it also received from the state.

The final debate expenses were announced as Wright State tries to figure out how to deal with its ongoing budget issues.

The first presidential debate was hosted at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

School district's social media coordinator fired for mocking student's tweet

A Maryland school employee is looking for a new job after her bosses fired her for mocking a student's social media post.

A student asked Frederick County Public Schools to "close school tammarow PLEASE" on the district's Twitter page, WHAG reported.

Katie Nash, the FCPS social media coordinator, was accused of responding to the student on the district's Twitter account, "But then how would you learn to spell 'tomorrow' :)".

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Nash met with supervisors for what she said was four minutes, then received a letter telling her that her probationary period as a web experience coordinator would end effective Jan. 13.

Nash said that the district was trying to be more interactive with students via social media.

She was hired in November to run the district's social media accounts, the Frederick News Post reported.

Despite the tweet going viral and receiving positive feedback, Nash was asked to delete the tweet while a FCPS supervisor called the student at the center of the spelling/tweet controversy to apologize.

The student wrote that he wasn't bothered by Nash's tweet and didn't take it personally.

Nash said she hopes the district learns from this experience how to use social media to reach out to the community.

94-year-old woman graduates college with honors

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

A 94-year-old woman got a big surprise after earning her bachelor's degree online with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

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Amy Craton, of Honolulu, has been keeping herself busy by taking online classes at Southern New Hampshire University.

Now, Craton is one of the oldest graduates to earn a bachelor's degree in the world.

"I couldn't see just sitting there watching Netflix all the time," she told WPVI.

Craton, who is a great grandmother, first enrolled in college in 1962. She didn't initially finish her collegiate career because she put her education on hold while she worked to raise and support her family. 

Although Craton wasn't able to attend the recent graduation ceremony in person in New Hampshire, SNHU's president, Paul LeBlanc, hand-delivered Craton's Creative Writing and English degree on a special trip to Hawaii. LeBlanc even surprised her with a party.

"Amy is an extraordinary student. At the age of 94, she earned a degree that was 54 years in the making and with a 4.0 GPA no less," LeBlanc said. "Amy is the epitome of a lifelong learner, and my hope is that her story will remind others that it's never too late to follow their dreams or learn something new. The entire SNHU community could not be more proud of her accomplishment."

"It feels good to graduate, but in many ways I feel I am still on the road," Craton said. "I have more to learn."

Craton said she plans to get her Master's degree next.

"I'm trying to live my life to the fullest," she told WPVI. "You have to live. You have to learn as long as you can. Go to college, go to college. Don't be afraid of it."

School social media director fired after correcting student's misspelled tweet

A woman who served as a social media coordinator for a Maryland public school system said she was fired on Friday after sending a tweet that corrected a student’s spelling, the Frederick News-Post reported.

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Katie Nash was managing the Twitter feed for the Frederick County Public Schools. On Jan. 5, one student tweeted to the school’s account, @FCPSMaryland, asking to close schools “tammarow.”

Nash responded through @FCPSMaryland, “But then how would you learn how to spell ‘tomorrow?’ :)”

The tweet drew more than 1,000 retweets and likes and even earned a hashtag, #KatiefromFCPS, according to the News-Post. 

Nash and the student exchanged other tweets and the student insisted that he didn’t mind the lighthearted spelling correction. Nash told the News-Post that she was initially told not to tweet anymore, but still had access to the Twitter account. She added that she continued to tweet out school updates, but at the end of the school day Friday she was told she had been fired. She began working as the school district’s web experience coordinator in November, the News-Post reported. 

The tweets have since been deleted. 

Michael Doerrer, a district spokesman, told the News-Post that Nash was no longer employed with the school system, but he couldn’t comment on the circumstances.

 “As a new employee, I think I sort of would have expected that there would have been some counseling or some suggestions on how to improve,” Nash told the News-Post. She added that she had not received any direction about the tone of the account.

“Any social media manager is looking for increasing engagement, and that’s sort of the expected parameter,” she said. “I think a conversation about how we engage with students would have been completely appropriate and I would have welcomed that.”

One group has organized an online petition to urge the school district to give Nash her job back.

@FCPSMaryland's new celebrity: #KatiefromFCPS and her infamous tweet via @jbeowulf— Frederick News-Post (@frednewspost) January 10, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

I applaud #katiefromFCPS for knowing her audience. @FCPSMaryland board, don't be on social media unless you want to be social.— Colleen Murphy (@ColleenMurphDog) January 10, 2017 <script async src="//<oembedblock id="ULxXNwpO8Ha9eyB" oembed=""/>" charset="utf-8"></script</center></p> <p><center><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">As a parent/coach it is imperative to find engaging ways to comm. and connect. <a href="">#katiefromFCPS</a> nailed it and <a href="">@FCPSMaryland</a> dropped the ball.</p>— Chris Meinberg (@MeinBender) <a href="">January 10, 2017</a></blockquote><script async src="//<oembedblock id="UXsrUan9PNxB5sO" oembed=""/>" charset="utf-8"></script>

. @FCPSMaryland is more than a single person. TY to all who have expressed love this week. It isn't about #katiefromFCPS or #FreeKatie ...— Katie Nash (@katienash) January 13, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

High school math homework contains inappropriate questions

Officials at a Pennsylvania high school have apologized after students received sexually inappropriate questions for a homework assignment, including subjects about sexual assault and prostitution.

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KYW reported that a math equation given to students at Pennridge High School in Perkasie follows up with a multiple choice statement: "Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s ___ at age 8, which shaped her career choices and motivation for writing." 

After doing the math, the answer choices were boyfriend, brother or father, KYW reported. 

The next question also references Angelou, with the statement that "Trying to work as a single mother, she worked as a pimp, prostitute and ___."

Students then had to work out the equation and fill in the blank either with bookie, drug dealer or nightclub dancer, KYW reported. 

Pennridge School District officials said in a statement that the assignment was “downloaded from a website that allows teachers around the world to share educational resources.

"It is not part of our approved curriculum."

The district apologized for the question and said they have taken steps to make sure that never happens again, KYW reported.

Really? @PennridgeSD has good staff but some are terrible. This is what some low-grade staff thinks is ok to put on a test @PennridgeHS— Pennridge Reform (@PennridgeReform) January 12, 2017 <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script>

Report: Average college degree pays off by age 34

Students receiving their college degrees face many challenges as they enter the workforce, but one of the biggest hurdles is financial. If you take out a loan, it has to be paid back. For those wondering if the cost was worth it, rest assured that it was. It might just take a few years to realize that value, CNN reported.

It takes an average of 12 years to recoup the cost of getting your bachelor's degree, according to a new report from The College Board. In other words, you will have earned enough money to repay the cost of your degree and make up for your time out of the workforce by the age of 34.

College graduates with full-time jobs earned a median of 67 percent more than high school grads in 2016, CNN reported. And the unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds who hold a bachelor's degree was 2.6 percent in 2016. That’s more than 5 percent below the rate for workers who only had a high school education.

College grads are also more likely to exercise, vote, and less likely to smoke, according to the College Board report.

The report assumes that students graduated in four years, paid an interest rate of 4.3 percent on the student loan and paid off the debt in 10 years, CNN reported. That’s not always the case.

The median income for 30- to 34-year-olds is $40,944 for those with a bachelor's degree and $31,807 for those with no higher than a high school diploma, according to the report.

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