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Marsha Sutton
Marsha Sutton

By Marsha Sutton

A journalism class at La Costa Canyon High School in Carlsbad that was threatened with closure was saved after students rallied to defend the class.

Speaking before the San Dieguito Union High School District’s Board of Education this past spring to oppose the decision, editor of the school newspaper, Megan Mineiro, used her well-honed journalism skills to reach out to other local media to broaden her appeal and make her case.

Although it took a long while, the class has been re-instated this fall and updated to include the teaching of new skills to prepare journalism students beyond traditional print media.

A win-win for the journalism students at LCC. They get their class back, plus more.

Congratulations to Megan and her team for not taking this one sitting down. Her efforts galvanized prominent San Diego media to cover the story, and her compelling arguments brought about the reversal of a bad decision.

Miranda rights for students

On the subject of students’ rights, an interesting story in Education Week on May 8 summarized a Kentucky Supreme Court verdict that ruled that students must be read their Miranda rights before school district administrators can question students about possible illegal activity.

In this case, according to the story, “A high school student’s statements to an assistant principal about giving prescription pills to other students had to be suppressed in a criminal proceeding because the student had not been given a Miranda warning.”

The student was expelled after being charged with felony possession and dispensing a controlled substance. He was sentenced to jail and appealed the ruling, arguing that admitting his statements to the assistant principal “violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”

Although kids selling drugs at school should never be tolerated, school administrators have to walk carefully. When kids are taken away by a principal or assistant principal and questioned with only their accusers in the room, we deny them basic rights of American citizens.

I’ve heard too many cases of students who were questioned about inappropriate activity with no one present during the questioning except the student – a child after all – and the school official. Parents were never contacted until afterward.

Good ruling in Kentucky.

Yoga balls in the news

A story back in February by the Associated Press caught my eye. The headline reads: “Yoga balls replace students’ desk chairs in the classroom.”

A fifth-grade teacher in West Chester, Pennsylvania, replaced regular chairs with large, inflatable yoga balls, also known as stability balls, for students to sit on. The teacher said the change has raised productivity, increased focus and improved balance and core strength.

“By making the sitter work to stay balanced, the balls force muscle engagement and increased blood flow, leading to more alertness,” the story reads.

The user has to work to stay balanced, and researchers say there is a link between physical activity and better learning. Standing desks are also being piloted in some schools, as a way to give kids the chance to “fidget without disrupting class.”

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