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Is Free Speech in Danger? [RUBIN140] – Video

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Nov 012014

Is Free Speech in Danger? [RUBIN140]
Dave Rubin discusses the importance of free speech in 140 seconds. Students at UC Berkeley were trying to get Bill Maher banned as the school's graduation speaker, even as the campus is…

By: Rubin Report

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Is Free Speech in Danger? [RUBIN140] – Video

"Midnight Templar" by Liberty Mae Dela Cruz – Video

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May 052014

“Midnight Templar” by Liberty Mae Dela Cruz
Liberty Mae Dela Cruz was one of 14 Honolulu Community College Fashion Technology program senior designers presenting a collection during the school's annual fashion show, this year themed…

By: Nadine Kam

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"Midnight Templar" by Liberty Mae Dela Cruz – Video

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Freedom Elementary celebrates vets, responders and its 10th anniversary

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Nov 132013

Students and veterans watch the school bell ring nine times Tuesday to honor soldiers past and present.SABRINA ROCCO/Bradenton Herald

EAST MANATEE — Parents dressed in some form of red, white and blue filed Tuesday into Freedom Elementary School’s cafeteria to watch their children honor veterans and first-responders while celebrating the school’s 10th anniversary.

An elegant version of “God Bless America” played in the background as 760 Freedom Falcons took their seats on the floor for opening remarks, which included a Color Guard presentation of the U. S. and state of Florida flags, the reading of the school’s mission statement, the singing of the school song (“…Freedom’s a flame that burns within ya, Freedom’s in the state of mind…”) and a special anthem for each branch of the military and first responders.

“The kids feel good that they’re supporting our veterans. They’ll be singing these songs for months now,” said Bonnie Christian, a technology teacher who organized the event.

Freedom Elementary, the only Manatee school not named after a person or place, was built around the time of Sept. 11, 2001. When it was finished in July 2003, founding Principal Gary Holbrook wanted its name to be unique.

“He wanted the theme of

freedom,” said current Principal Jim Mennes.

Since the school was named Freedom, its mission has always been patriotic.

“Our main goal is to teach our children gratitude,” said assistant principal Laura Campbell. “That’s the goal here, and we really try to encourage it.”

Music teacher Rick Bogner, who has been at Freedom all 10 years, said the goal has remained the same while the school greatly expanded.

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Freedom Elementary celebrates vets, responders and its 10th anniversary

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Freedom Academy breaks ground for new addition

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Jan 142013

Freedom Preparatory Academy students, families, staff, faculty, board members and community members gathered Saturday afternoon for the groundbreaking of the school’s new building in Provo.

The new school, which will be built near the current building, will house students in grades seven through 12. Kindergarten through sixth grade classes will remain in the old building. The expansion will be finished in August, in time for the 2013-14 school year.

The decision to expand the charter school to include a high school involved a lengthy application process and much discussion in the community about the building of the new school.

On Saturday, though, excitement was high.

“It’s a great day,” said Ken Parkinson, the school’s chief administrative officer. “It’s going to be a beautiful school.”

Director Lynne Herring credited the parents of students at the school for the expansion, explaining that many of them wanted to keep their children in the charter school.

For the small group of ninth-graders who have been students at the school since its creation, the day held particular significance.

Taylor Parkinson, a ninth-grader from Springville, said he had been thinking of going to a different school for high school. But with Freedom Academy’s expansion, he’s excited to continue at the school.

Beck Hansen, 14, of Provo explained that “it’s cool to know that we were the first ones at the school and have been here since the beginning.”

“It’s a magical day,” Bethany Day, 15, of Provo added, as a big smile spread across her face.

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Channel Islands High School graduating class remembered for its family feeling

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Jun 092012

The Channel Islands High School class of 2012 was a successful one, according to principal Maricruz Hernandez, who is enjoying her second year heading up the school. The school’s held its 45th commencement Friday at Ken BenefieldStadium.

“We have a lot of students who accomplished their goals,” Hernandez said. “In sports they really excelled. The school’s varsity football, varsity soccer and varsity volleyball teams made it to the California Interscholastic Federation playoffs, and the school’s spirit teams won nationaltitles.

“I feel very comfortable that each of these graduates is ready to be a productive member of the community,” Hernandez said, adding that the success of the school comes in its tradition. “It’s a family environment here. We have 37 faculty members who are alumni, includingme.”

One of the five class valedictorians and Top 10 scholars at the school, Jeanine Ruiz, said she owes her academic success to her teachers. She said she plans to attend UCLA, where she is thinking of pursuing pre-medstudies.

“The spirit teams and the spirit in the school make students feel more comfortable. School is more than a place to study. You can do so much more than that,” shesaid.

Dennis Lopez, 17, is planning to go to UC Santa Barbara, where he plans to major in mechanicalengineering.

“I left more united with everybody,” he said, adding that he really enjoyed the water polo program. “I think the class of 2012 is academicallyadventurous.”

Rufina Torres, 18, decorated her mortarboard with a necklace andglitter.

“I just wanted to stand out,” she said, explaining that she plans to attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. “Going to Channel Islands High School gave me strength. A bunch of people tried to hold me down, but by graduating, I’m proving them wrong. I have the power within me to do what I want no matter whattheysay.”

Associated Student Body President Daniel Galang dubbed the class of 2012, “the class of change” as he introduced the class history portion of the commencement program, which was highlighted with an Army color guard and music by the school’s concertband.

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Channel Islands High School graduating class remembered for its family feeling

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Racist video gives school a digital dilemma

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Feb 262012

When a cheerleader in West Virginia created a Web page suggesting a fellow student had herpes and invited 100 classmates to comment, a federal appeals court ruled she had far exceeded her First Amendment rights.

She deserved to be suspended for 10 days and stripped of her duties as the school's reigning “Queen of Charm,” it ruled.

However, when a Pennsylvania teen created a bogus Internet profile of his principal, listing the administrator's interests as transgender, alcoholic beverages and steroids, a different federal appeals court sided with the student. The school district, it ruled, had trampled on the senior's constitutional rights when it suspended him and barred him from graduation ceremonies.

The two cases highlight the difficulty school officials face in the digital age when they try to determine whether to mete out punishment to students, such as the two Santaluces High School students who posted a racist video on YouTube this week.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court hasn't been willing to step into the confounding fray, said Francisco Negron, general counsel for the National School Boards Association.

The standard used to be what happened inside the “schoolhouse gate” and what kind of disruption it caused. However, the advent of the Internet has blurred traditional lines, he said.

With Facebook and YouTube and Twitter, not to mention the ability to send out doctored photos of the class nerd via cellphone, communication that occurs far outside the schoolhouse gate now has the potential to wreak havoc in schools, Negron said.

In an August newsletter to Palm Beach County school administrators, district attorney Bruce Harris described the dilemma posed by the conflicting opinions. Pointing out that the courts upheld the West Virginia girl's punishment because her off-campus Internet posts disrupted the school while the Pennsylvania boy's didn't, he suggested that school administrators tread carefully.

“Due to the split among the courts, it is recommended that a school not discipline a student for off-campus speech which does not occur at a school-related activity, unless the school determines that the speech caused a substantial disruption to the school or the school could reasonably forecast substantial disruption,” he said. “If the school learns of this speech, however, it could and should take other action such as notifying the parents.”

First Amendment attorneys, civil libertarians and human rights activists said school officials should heed that advice as they mull whether to punish the Santaluces students, who taped themselves on a home computer as they made fun of black students and then posted their ramblings on the Internet.

Lia Gaines, head of the Palm Beach County branch of the NAACP, said she doesn't want school officials to punish the girls. What is needed, she said, is education.

“Without the training, I don't think they would understand the significance of the punishment,” she said.

Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said the school has no authority to punish the girls. Besides, he said, it isn't necessary to teach them a lesson.

“The international humiliation the two teens will suffer for their childish behavior should be punishment enough,” he said. “Hopefully, the school district will be smart enough not to fall into the trap of making them First Amendment martyrs.”

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