Planned Parenthood gives birth to California sex education bill. Signed into law in August, the legislation mandates that schools teach "medically accurate" sex education, "free of racial, ethnic and gender biases." Proponents of abstinence education fear the bill will initiate "condom-based education" and force schools to teach students about all forms of contraception on the grounds of "medical accuracy." Some worry that, since Planned Parenthood is the initiator of the bill, it could force schools to implement its agenda.
Circuit judge in Oregon upholds public school uniform dress code. The Gervais Elementary School in Salem began requiring students to wear uniforms in 1997 but allowed parents to opt their children out of the policy until last year. A small group of parents objected to the new all-inclusive rule and contacted the ACLU, which helped them file suit. Circuit Judge Terry Leggert ruled that the goals of the dress code policy - to reduce discipline problems and increase class participation and self esteem - "did not stifle expression to the point of violating state or federal laws."
Money is not enough in Clinton's $1.2 billion plan to lower class size. The most daunting problem has been the severe shortage of good teachers. Roughly half the teachers hired with federal dollars in some areas lack proper certification. For many urban districts, space is a critical issue - schools have no room to add classes. In poor rural areas, class sizes may already be small, and funds slated for hiring teachers may be desperately needed elsewhere.
Pokemon trading card craze incites children and parents to violence. In schools across the country, students are attacking each other over the cards. The Associated Press reported Dec. 11 that a 14-year-old Quebec student was stabbed during a Pokemon card-related fight. In Philadelphia, two students hit and threw a trash can at another student, stealing his cards and a small amount of change. Even parents are resorting to violence. A man allegedly punched a fast food clerk in North Carolina because his meal did not contain the advertised Pokemon toy.