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March 01, 2008

Free-loader tries to walk from Bristol to India, fails

BBC NEWS | England | Bristol | Language barrier scuppers walker

A man who planned to walk from Bristol to India without any money has quit, after getting as far as Calais, France.

Mark Boyle, 28, who set out four weeks ago with only T-shirts, a bandage and sandals, hoped to rely on the kindness of strangers for food and lodging.

But, because he could not speak French, people thought he was free-loading or an asylum seeker.

School teacher fired after years of service for adding the word "nonviolently" to loyalty oath

Quaker teacher fired for changing loyalty oath

California State University East Bay has fired a math teacher after six weeks on the job because she inserted the word "nonviolently" in her state-required Oath of Allegiance form.

Marianne Kearney-Brown, a Quaker and graduate student who began teaching remedial math to undergrads Jan. 7, lost her $700-a-month part-time job after refusing to sign an 87-word Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution that the state requires of elected officials and public employees.

"I don't think it was fair at all," said Kearney-Brown. "All they care about is my name on an unaltered loyalty oath. They don't care if I meant it, and it didn't seem connected to the spirit of the oath. Nothing else mattered. My teaching didn't matter. Nothing."

. . .

Each time, when asked to "swear (or affirm)" that she would "support and defend" the U.S. and state Constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic," Kearney-Brown inserted revisions: She wrote "nonviolently" in front of the word "support," crossed out "swear," and circled "affirm." All were to conform with her Quaker beliefs, she said.

. . .

Modifying the oath "is very clearly not permissible," the university's attorney, Eunice Chan, said, citing various laws. "It's an unfortunate situation. If she'd just signed the oath, the campus would have been more than willing to continue her employment."

. . .

"I was born to do this," she said. "I teach developmental math, the lowest level. The kids who are conditionally accepted to the university. Give me the kids who hate math - that's what I want."

Some students would rather go hungry than get free lunch for being poor

Free Lunch Isn’t Cool, So Some Students Go Hungry - New York Times

My favorite thing about this article is that the schools acknowledge the problem and are looking at technological solutions to make the division between paid and free lunches invisible. That is progress.

He scanned the picnic table full of his friends in a school courtyard one day a few weeks ago, and said, “I’m not hungry.”

On another day, a group of classmates who also qualify for federally subsidized lunches sat on a bench. One ate a slice of pizza from the line where students pay for food; the rest went without.

Lunchtime “is the best time to impress your peers,” said Lewis Geist, a senior at Balboa and its student body president. Being seen with a subsidized meal, he said, “lowers your status.”

San Francisco school officials are looking at ways to encourage more poor students to accept government-financed meals, including the possibility of introducing cashless cafeterias where all students are offered the same food choices and use debit cards or punch in codes on a keypad so that all students check out at the cashier in the same manner.

February 29, 2008

Students punished for using pennies to pay for school lunches

Eighth graders get detentions for paying for lunch in pennies - Breaking News From New Jersey - NJ.com

As far as nonviolent protests go, I like it.

Twenty-nine eighth graders at a Hunterdon County school received two days detention after they paid for their $2 lunches with pennies, officials said.

The 8th graders at Readington Middle School were protesting a shortened lunch period on a half-day of school, and received detentions for slowing the cafeteria line and disrespecting lunch aides, who had to count the 5,800 copper-plated coins, said Superintendent Jorden Schiff.

There were approximately 200 students in the cafeteria during Thursday's lunch period, Schiff said. The detentions called for spending an hour of silence in a classroom after school.

"Most reasonable people understand that the school needed to respond to this," he said.