Daily dose

Friday News: Widening the school-to-prison pipeline

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NC GOP PUSHES FOR HARSHER SCHOOL SUSPENSION GUIDELINES: North Carolina Republican lawmakers want to toughen how school discipline is handled, but Democrats warn that a change could lead to more minority students being suspended and dropping out. The N.C. House approved legislation on Thursday that removes language from state law listing violations not serious enough for a long-term school suspension. That includes inappropriate language, noncompliance, dress code violations and minor physical alterations. Those four examples were added to the law in 2011 in a bipartisan effort to reduce long-term suspensions of more than 10 days. The belief was that if students were in school more, they’d be less likely to have poor grades and drop out when they fell behind.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article251208544.html

Thursday News: Teacher witch-hunt continues

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BILL WOULD FORCE NC SCHOOLS TO POST TEACHING MATERIALS ONLINE: The state House passed the “Academic Transparency” bill on Wednesday. It would require school districts and charter schools with 400 or more students to list online what instructional materials they used in the past school year. The bill now goes to the Senate. The North Carolina Association of Educators called the legislation “teacher abuse” and urged people to sign a letter asking the Senate not to pass the bill. “How does the NC General Assembly celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week?” NCAE said in its action alert Wednesday. “They pass a bill that undermines academic freedom and punishes creative teaching, of course. Sounds about right to us.” The legislation comes at a time when conservatives have grown increasingly suspicious about what is being taught in public schools. Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson created a task force to collect complaints from parents, students and teachers in public schools across the state about “indoctrination” in the classroom.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article251182194.html

Wednesday News: Rampant ignorance

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NC VACCINATIONS HAVE DROPPED BY HALF IN THE LAST MONTH: In the week of April 5, over 680,000 people in North Carolina received a dose of the vaccine, with over 336,000 of those being first doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, both of which require two doses to be effective against the virus. This past week, administered doses were under 337,500, with just 92,000 of those being first doses, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. To get to two-thirds of the adult population with at least one dose, 1.3 million more adults in the state would have to get the first dose, a figure the state could reach in a month if vaccine numbers return to the early April level and stay there. “It’s really up to North Carolina about when we reach that,” Cohen said. “I’m hoping we can reach it as soon into the summer as possible, but it may take longer than that.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article251153359.html

Tuesday News: Too many times

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REV AL SHARPTON SPEAKS AT FUNERAL FOR ANDREW BROWN: Friends and family gathered Monday to lay to rest the body of Andrew Brown Jr., but civil rights leaders said the work must go on to get justice for the Black man fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies last month. Brown’s death has sparked controversy and loud but peaceful protests in this northeast North Carolina town. In his eulogy, the Rev. Al Sharpton told those gathered in Elizabeth City’s Fountain of Life Church not to confuse this celebration of Brown’s life with the determination to get justice in this “disgraceful and shameful” matter. “Too often we come to funerals of people that are unjustly brought to death and act like this is a natural occurrence,” Sharpton said. “We are going to celebrate him, but we are not going to excuse the fact that we shouldn’t have to be here to do this.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article251123849.html

Monday News: Twelve thousand, six hundred fifty one

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OVER 40% OF NORTH CAROLINIANS ARE FULLY VACCINATED: At least 969,752 people in North Carolina have tested positive for the coronavirus, and 12,651 have died since March 2020, according to state health officials. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reported 2,231 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, up from 1,985 reported the day before. At least 1,101 people were hospitalized with the coronavirus as of Friday, down from 1,137 reported on Thursday. As of Wednesday, the latest day for which data is available, 4.8% of coronavirus tests were reported positive. Nearly half of adults in North Carolina, or 49.2%, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. At least 40.5% are now fully vaccinated.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/coronavirus/article251109079.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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POLICE BODY-CAM AND DASHBOARD VIDEOS SHOULD BE PUBLIC RECORD: Backers of the current law contend it might only need a tweak or that, as original law sponsor John Faircloth, R-Guilford County,, said it “only needs to be applied properly.” This law was faulty at its conception — regardless of how many legislators voted for it or how much “bipartisan” support it had. The public’s business should be public. If there’s a reason to keep it secret, law enforcement can go to court to keep it under wraps. But the initial assumption should always be, that when the government collects information, it is public and up to the government to show why citizens don’t need to have access. The too tense situation in Elizabeth City more than amply demonstrates the 2016 law was misguided. Laws should promote domestic tranquility and this needs to be fixed before it contributes to even more unnecessary tensions.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-police-body-cam-and-dashboard-videos-should-be-public-records/19649300/

Saturday News: Terminally biased

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JUDGE WHO BLOCKED RELEASE OF VIDEO IS TRUMPER WHO HATES MEDIA: Foster, an East Carolina University alum who graduated from Campbell University law school, was elected in 2016, running unopposed for his seat. He was first appointed to the seat earlier that year by then-Gov. Pat McCrory. In April 2020, Foster posted a meme with a photo of media members asking probing questions about Pearl Harbor to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The meme is captioned: “If FDR had to deal with a press corp like President Trump’s.” Foster wrote: “I’m just gonna leave this here.” In 2010, he wrote: “I’m constantly amazed at how moronic the press is,” referring to a headline about Mexico’s president complaining about an Arizona law to President Barack Obama. The feed also includes some anti-mask rhetoric, including a meme with re-imagined Queen lyrics about not wearing a mask. “The anti-maskers getting creative. I love this,” Foster wrote. Early in the coronavirus pandemic, Foster wrote in an exchange with someone on his page that “every year the flu kills more people than have died from Covid 19.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article251072394.html

Friday News: Saying the quiet part outloud

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WOODHOUSE CITES "WATER COOLER TALK" FOR HIS GERRYMANDERING PREDICTION: “Carolina Journal has learned that GOP redistricting leaders will consider approving a new map designed to elect a 10 Republicans and four Democrats beginning in 2022,” an early version of the article said. The article was later edited, softening Woodhouse’s prediction of a 10-4 split. But the report spread quickly among North Carolina politicos, sparking early debate over how lawmakers will redraw the districts. Woodhouse’s article also suggested the new district could be drawn specifically for House Speaker Tim Moore — a Republican from Cleveland County, west of Charlotte, who will have personal influence over the map-making process. Moore also said he is not planning to run for Congress, but plans to run for state House again.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article250998919.html

Thursday News: Inexcusable

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DANNY BRITT AMENDS BILL TO CONTINUE ALLOWING 14 YEAR-OLD GIRLS TO BE MARRIED: The bill would also allow children over 14 who become pregnant or have a child to marry the father. A judge must rule, however, that the marriage is in the best interest of the children. “The amendment lines up with what our current statutory rape laws are,” Britt said. “So essentially, what we were allowing as a state was the offense of statutory rape to occur so long as you were married.” Britt said another concern he had was that teens would abort their children instead of having a baby out of wedlock. North Carolina is one of two states, Alaska being the other, that allows children as young as 14 to marry. Swegman said the amended bill “maintains the most concerning aspects of North Carolina’s current law while simply tinkering around the edges in an attempt to appear meaningful.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article251013219.html

Wednesday News: Release the Tape

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PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN ELIZABETH CITY, FBI BEGINS CIVIL RIGHTS PROBE: Four people, including the Rev. Curtis Gatewood, lay in Elizabeth Street, waiting for arrest as they sang “Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around.” All four were arrested, along with at least two others. Protesters have peacefully protested in Elizabeth City each night since last week. Tuesday was the first night Elizabeth City had an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew in place. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called Tuesday for a special prosecutor to investigate Brown’s death. And the FBI has launched a civil rights investigation into the shooting. By 11 p.m. Tuesday, arrests had been made and police were leaving to shouts of “Shame on you!” A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning at the Pasquotank County Courthouse regarding a petition for the release of the body-cam footage.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article250992969.html

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