Wednesday, October 10, 2012

UPDATE: Lock Down Ends at Idaho State Meridian Campus, Renaissance High School

Posted By on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 at 3:01 PM

UPDATE: 3:45 p.m.

Law enforcement in Meridian have ended the lockdown at Idaho State University's Meridian Campus and Renaissance High School.

According to a message on ISU's website: " All clear."

Parents are welcome to pick up their students at the school, and students who traditionally ride a bus home should be arriving approximately 30 minutes later than normal.

Meridian Police said they detained a man and woman during the investigation. The man reportedly did have a concealed weapons permit. No additional information was immediately available.

UPDATE: 3:15 p.m.

Meridian Police confirm that Renaissance High School and Idaho State University's Meridian Campus (the two schools share a campus space) remain on lockdown following a report of an armed suspect sighted in a school parking lot. The parking lot also shares space with the Meridian School District office.

Parents are being asked not to come to the school to pick up their children yet. Instead, Meridian school officials said phone messages will be sent to parents with further instructions.

Police continue to search the interior and exteriors of the schools.


Idaho State University has placed its Meridian campus on lockdown.

Officials with ISU are warning its students, staff and faculty to "take shelter and lock doors and windows." Campus security and Meridian Police are also cautioning "not to move from sheltered positions."

A message on ISU's website says to "await further instructions."

Monitor citydesk for further updates.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nampa Poised to Put Levy Before Voters Again

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 9:27 AM

School board trustees in the Nampa School District want another crack at voters to see if they can do a better job of arguing for approval of a tax increase.

On March 13, Nampa voters turned thumbs down to a two-year $7.16 million supplemental school levy with 3,534 voting against and 2,348 in favor. This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Nampa trustees now want to put a two-year $1.6 million levy on a Tuesday, Aug. 28, ballot. Trustees also agreed to create an election committee to do a better job of explaining the levy.

The district still needs to file documents by Friday, July 13, to secure a spot on the Aug. 28 ballot.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Message to Idaho Students: Underage Drinking Starts With an Excuse From Adults

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Not much can get a large group of teenagers fired up before 8 a.m., and when approximately 300 seventh-grade students at Boise's North Junior High were asked on Thursday morning to repeat, on the count of three, “Say no to underage drinking,” the response was less than enthusiastic. But Dana Fudurich had other plans. Fudurich is the field director for The Century Council, an alcohol industry-funded nonprofit that targets underage drinking.

“I could lecture them and do a whole hourlong series on alcohol and statistics, and that’s not what they want to hear,” said Fudurich. “That’s not how kids learn today in this environment. Research shows that when kids are interactive as they’re learning, they’re more able to absorb information.”

Fudurich is part of a team of educators and psychologists who have developed a video game that teaches kids about the dangers of underage consumption of alcohol. Several North Junior students had an opportunity to play the Wii-style video game, in which participants move around on a floor mat while their avatars race on-screen. Contestants must avoid obstacles and stop to answer trivia questions about alcohol’s effects on the human body.

“It’s actually a pretty fun game, once you get going,” said 14-year-old Greyson Midnight. “It asks questions about alcohol, so I guess that it could give you a little better perspective on why alcohol’s bad for you.”

Fudurich said as many as 36 percent of adolescents try alcohol before reaching high school, and Midnight agreed.

“Alcohol-use for kids our age is starting earlier in junior high instead of high school,” he said. “It’s probably good to target us now so we’re more aware when we get older.”

Also at this morning's assembly were Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and Jeff Anderson, director of the Idaho Liquor Division.

“Underage drinking doesn’t start with a drink,” said Anderson. “It starts with an excuse. The excuse is from the adults: 'It’s OK; I did it when I was younger.' That’s not true.”

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Idaho Couple File Claim Against District For Daughter's Injuries

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 9:08 AM

A north Idaho couple have filed a tort claim against their local school district, seeking more than $500,000 in damages for injuries suffered by their daughter when she slipped on wet floor and fell down a flight of stairs at Spirit Lake Elementary School.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that the claim, filed by Lonnie and Jan Roberts, alleges a janitor "negligently and recklessly" mopped the floors and stairs, prior to the accident in November 2011. The Roberts said their daughter suffered severe and permanent injuries to her left knee, requiring extensive medical treatment.

The tort claims states that the school and district "had an obligation to protect its students and persons coming upon the premises from foreseeable risks of harm."

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Oregon Set to Ban Native American Mascots From Schools

Posted By on Fri, May 18, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Eight Oregon High Schools will be forced to retire their Native American mascots, in the wake of a landmark vote for that state's Board of Education to impose some of the nation's toughest restrictions on Native American mascots, nicknames and logos.

The Associated Press reports that the high schools will have five years to change the nicknames or risk losing state funding. Another seven schools, which use the name "Warriors," will be allowed to keep the nickname but will be required to change mascots or any graphics that depict Native Americans.

In 2006, the Oregon Board adopted a nonbinding recommendation to stop using Native American images as mascots, but only a handful of schools complied.

Oregon Department of Education officials said Wisconsin is the only other state to enact restrictions on Native American mascots. Wisconsin's law, approved by the Legislature in 2010, requires school boards to prove that their Indian mascots don't promote discrimination, harassment or stereotyping if someone complains.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Payette Prepares to Incentivize Better Attendance

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Schools in Payette have an attendance problem, and they're prepared to sweeten the pot to help improve the issue.

Representatives from Payette High School and McCain Middle School told the Payette School Board on Monday that they're putting together an incentive program to help improve attendance. School administrators told the board that the district was losing crucial funding when the school's average daily attendance dropped.

McCain Middle School Principal Rick Hale suggested a plan that would offer one of four incentives to a student with perfect attendance: free admission to four dances ($20), a free activity card, a free athletic transportation fee pass, or $20 movie pass.

Payette High School Principal Mark Heleker said "money really talks," adding that he would be talking with the district's finance manager about a possibility of a $25 attendance reward for a nine-week period.

Incentive proposals are expected at the Payette School Board meeting in June.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

School Board Imposes Dress Code on Caldwell High Students

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Pushing back against a student-driven petition to give teens the freedom of choice when it comes to their wardrobe, the Caldwell School Board has voted to impose a dress code on Caldwell High School.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the code, which already applies to Caldwell elementary and middle schools, requires students to wear collared, solid-colored shirts and dark-colored bottoms. Dresses are prohibited as are jeans with holes or decorative stitching. Caldwell High Principal Mike Farris - who supports the new dress code - will have the discretion to allow students to wear sports uniforms on game days or special occasions.

The Press-Tribune reports that the chairman of the Caldwell School Board, Chuck Stout, cast the lone dissenting vote, saying parents had already complained that buying and maintaining new clothes for their children will be too expensive.

According to the Press-Tribune, one dissenting student said that "some students have already discussed defying the dress code on the first day of school in protest."

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Study: Funding System for Idaho Schools Imbalanced, Strays From Constitution

Posted By on Sat, Apr 14, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Mike Ferguson, the man who served as Idaho's chief economist for five Gem State governors, said Friday that not only is public school funding critically low, the current funding system may be in violation of the Idaho Constitution.

A 20-page report, issued through the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy, where Ferguson serves as director, concludes that the current state system of funding K-12 eduction through sales taxes rather than property taxes may be violating the constitution's requirement to impose uniform taxes in order to "establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools." Because of the current funding model's inadequacy, voters throughout Idaho have agreed to supplemental property tax levies to help fund public schools.

The study considered public school funding in Idaho from 1980 through the most recent budget for fiscal year 2013 approved by the Idaho Legislature.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Fired Principal Accuses New Meadows District of Slander

Posted By on Sat, Dec 3, 2011 at 9:36 AM

UPDATE: According to a follow up report in the McCall Star-News on January 19:

Criminal charges of battery were dropped last week against Jon Hussman, the former principal of Meadows Valley School in New Meadows. Also last week, MV trustees approved a settlement in which Hussman agreed to drop a claim against the district. As part of the settlement, Hussman resigned his position and was paid an undisclosed amount of money.

Original Post — Saturday, Dec. 3

School trustees in New Meadows were hoping to keep private a personnel matter, which resulted in the firing of Jon Hussman, a principal at Meadows Valley School. However the details of the incident that led to the firing could become very public after the principal filed suit against the district for what he called improper actions.

Hussman was charged with misdemeanor battery following a complaint from a student who told Adams County Sheriffs investigators that Hussman had touched her inappropriately. According to a report in the McCall Star News the student told investigators that Hussman had caressed her hair, winked at her and told her she was "dressed to kill." The student said Hussman continued to make inappropriate comments later the same day. Hussman pleaded not guilty to the charge and faces a trial in January. If convicted, he faces up to six months in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Hussman was suspended by the school board on October 13 and fired on November 7. According to the Star News, Hussman, in his $200,000 suit against the district, claimed he was deprived of his rights of due process and accused the district of libel, slander and damage to his professional career.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Bake Sale Sexism, Racism Controversy

Posted By on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 at 9:38 AM

A protest by campus Republicans at the University of California, Berkeley has led to a racism and sexism row. And the centerpiece of the controversy is a bake sale.

The Berkeley Campus Republicans' Facebook page lists the price of baked goods at a sale, scheduled for later this week: $2 for whites, $1.50 for Asians, $1 for Hispanics, 75 cents for blacks, 25 cents for Native Americans and 25 cents for all women.

Campus Republican president Shawn Lewis said the idea of the "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" was to highlight a legislative bill to let California public universities consider race and gender in their admissions process.

The Facebook listing has resulted in hundreds of posts, mostly negative and some personal threats.

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