Wednesday, March 30, 2005


Shea Riecke, a freshman at McKay High School in Salem, Ore., "tried to take a snapshot of her brother, Cpl. Bill Riecke, a Marine currently stationed in Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., to her social studies class," reports Carol McAlice Currie in a column for the Salem Statesman Journal:

She wanted to display the picture with those of other McKay grads' career choices. Riecke's teacher, Rick Costa, encourages the exhibits. But Riecke's photo created a little controversy. Actually, it kicked up a sandstorm of grief for the family and school-district officials because of the photo's content. It pictures the Marine hefting a big gun while decked in military desert camies (camouflage). It was taken while he was stationed in Iraq; he will be redeployed there this summer. . . . School officials denied the photo on the grounds the guns in the picture violated district policy. Riecke's mother, Connie Riecke, appealed to district officials including Superintendent Kay Baker. Connie Riecke said she has not heard back from the district but was told that it probably could be displayed if she consented to having the weapons removed, via computer, from the photograph. Riecke said her son insists that it run as it is or not at all. She agrees with him.

(From Taranto)


A state lawmaker has suggested Hawaii's public schoolteachers be forced to weigh in as part of the fight against obesity in students, KITV in Honolulu reported. State Rep. Rida Cabanilla introduced a resolution in the house requesting that the Board of Education establish an obesity database among public schoolteachers. "You cannot keep a kid to a certain standard that you yourself is not willing to keep," Cabanilla said.

It's been documented that more than 20 percent of Hawaii's children are at risk, or are already overweight, according to the station. There are no statistics on teachers.

The resolution calls for all public schoolteachers to weigh in every six months. The measure calls for the education and health departments to formulate an obesity standard and appropriate measures for teachers who cannot meet the standard. "As a matter of fact, we should start at home, but since the legislature has no way to regulate homes, we can at least start in school," Cabanilla said. "And teachers have a lot of impact to these students."

The teachers union said it agrees that teachers are at the front line when it comes to the education and health of children, but it says the resolution is misguided. "I think at this point and time, the focus really needs to be on putting highly-qualified teachers in the classroom," Hawaii State Teachers Association President Roger Takabayashi said. The union defended its members as low users of the health fund system. "I think it's quite offensive. I don't think it will lead us anywhere. It's not going to benefit the children necessarily," Takabayashi said.


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