Parents considering legal action over school yoga

A group of parents is bent out of shape by free yoga classes at schools in this San Diego County beachside community, fearing they are indoctrinating youngsters in eastern religion, the Associated Press reports.

“There’s a deep concern that the Encinitas Union School District is using taxpayer resources to promote Ashtanga yoga and Hinduism, a religion system of beliefs and practices,” the parents’ attorney, Dean Broyles, told the North County Times. In an Oct. 12 email to district Superintendent Tim Baird, Broyles called the yoga program unconstitutional and said he may take unspecified legal action unless the classes stop…

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Texas schools head to trial over school finance

Texas lawmakers cut $5.4 billion from public schools nearly 18 months ago, and now districts are headed to court to argue that the resulting system is so inefficient and unfair that it violates the state constitution, the Associated Press reports. Simply restoring funding to levels prior to the 2011 legislative session won’t be enough to fix the fundamentally flawed way Texas funds its schools, lawyers for the districts say. They point out that the cuts have come even as the state requires schools to prepare students for standardized tests that are getting more difficult, and amid a statewide boom in the number of low-income students that are especially costly to educate. Putting the money back would make things easier, they say.

“That’s not all it’s about, but that would be a start,” said John Turner, an attorney representing about 60 of the school districts suing…

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Teachers, bosses charged in NJ school sex scandal

Six months ago, a student came to Triton High School Principal Catherine DePaul with a disturbing story: She believed another student was involved in a sexual relationship with a teacher at the school, and she’d seen explicit text messages the two had exchanged, the Associated Press reports. At that moment, local prosecutors say, a cover-up was put in motion that ultimately unraveled Thursday when DePaul, an assistant principal and three teachers were charged with offenses ranging from child endangerment to sexual assault and official misconduct. Each of the five adults has been suspended from the school in the Philadelphia suburb of Runnemede, and each could face at least five years in prison if convicted. The teachers — all men in their late 20s or early 30s — are accused of striking up relationships with female students during the 2011-2012 school year…

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Lawsuit challenges school fees as unconstitutional

Russell Joki, a former Idaho school district superintendent, filed suit Monday against the state of Idaho and its school districts, alleging public schools that charge fees are in violation of the Idaho Constitution, which requires a free school system, the Spokesman-Review reports. Joki’s twin granddaughters were charged $45 each to register for kindergarten this year, reportedly to cover field trips, school supplies, milk for snacks and art supplies. His grandson — for whom Joki is legal guardian — had to pay $85 in fees at Meridian High for chemistry, art and sports medicine classes as well as for “junior class dues.” The suit seeks class-action status on behalf of all students and parents in Idaho…

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Non-profit PTA sues for-profit rival PTO Today

The nonprofit PTA sued a for-profit rival on Wednesday, accusing it of denigrating the established group in a bid to siphon off members — a dispute that highlights underlying tensions as parents consider changes in how they interact with their children’s schools, the Associated Press reports. The National Parent Teacher Association, an iconic group that’s been part of America’s cultural backdrop for more than a century, has seen its membership fall by more than half of the 12 million members it had in its heyday in the 1960s. That decline, at least in part, motivated the PTA to file the lawsuit against PTO Today. The upstart group put itself on a collision course with the PTA by setting itself up as an alternative…

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Arizona school sued for giving boy sugar, putting in padded box

An Arizona couple is suing their son’s former school district for allegedly throwing him in a tiny, windowless room for bad behavior they say was caused by officials ignoring his severe allergies and feeding him foods packed with sugar, the Huffington Post reports. Leslie and Eric Noyes of Glendale, Ariz., filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Court last week against Deer Valley Unified School District No. 97 and Desert Sage Elementary School, where their son attended second grade last year. The complaint, obtained by Courthouse News Service, charges school officials with assault and battery, false imprisonment, gross negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress on their son…

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Facebook, Teachbook reach settlement in lawsuit

Teachbook will become TeachQuest under terms of a legal settlement.

Facebook and Teachbook, a social networking site for teachers, have settled a lawsuit that began two years ago when Facebook alleged trademark infringement against the ed-tech company.

Under terms of the agreement, Teachbook has changed its name to TeachQuest and will continue to operate as an online platform dedicated to being a one-stop planning and learning tool for educators, administrators, and students.

A joint statement from the companies read: “We are pleased to announce that Facebook and Teachbook have arrived at an agreement that resolves Facebook’s trademark infringement lawsuit and allows for Teachbook’s continued operation under a new name. Under this agreement, Teachbook has changed its name to ‘TeachQuest.’  Facebook and Teachbook are pleased to put this dispute behind them.”…Read More

Apple’s $1 billion patent verdict a blow to Android phones

Many analysts said the decision could spell danger for competitors who, like Samsung, use Google’s Android operating system to power their cell phones.

It was the $1 billion question that ed-tech leaders were asking Aug. 25: What does Apple’s victory in an epic patent dispute over its fiercest rival mean for the U.S. smart-phone industry?

Analysts from Wall Street to Hong Kong debated whether a jury’s decision that Samsung Electronics Co. ripped off Apple technology would help Apple corner the U.S. smart-phone market over Android rivals, or amount to one more step in a protracted legal battle over smart-phone technology.

Many analysts said the decision could spell danger for competitors who, like Samsung, use Google Inc.’s Android operating system to power their cell phones.…Read More

$500,000 for New Jersey school kids forced to eat on floor

Seven students at a Camden, New Jersey, school forced to eat lunch on a gymnasium floor for two weeks as punishment won a $500,000 legal settlement, their attorney said on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The 2008 incident involved fifth-grade students at the Charles Sumner Elementary School who were disciplined after one child spilled water as he tried to lift a jug onto a cooler, said the lawyer, Alan Schorr. The students filed a federal lawsuit against the Camden Board of Education, which agreed to the settlement, the attorney said. He said the incident took place against a backdrop of discord between the black and Hispanic populations in the impoverished southern New Jersey city. The children were Hispanic. Schorr said the vice principal, who was black, punished all 15 students in a bilingual class by making them eat off paper liners normally used on lunch trays. (While there were 15 students in the class, only seven sued.)

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Top U.S. high school hit with civil rights, discrimination suit

The Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, a prestigious Alexandria, Va. high school, has been hit with a federal civil rights lawsuit, the Huffington Post reports. The Coalition of The Silence, a local minority advocacy group, and the NAACP filed a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Monday alleging that black and Latino students, as well as students with disabilities, are being shut out of the school because Fairfax County consistently fails to identify them for gifted programs.

“Poor Latino kids are not being identified, and I worry part of that is language,” Martina Hone of the Coalition of Silence told NBC Washington. “African-American kids are not being identified. I’m worried that’s race.”

The complaint alleges that the county “…essentially operates a network of separate and unequal schools,” and that “for decades, these students have been grossly and disproportionately underrepresented in admission to the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.”…Read More