Archive for the ‘Social lives’ Category

How two South Georgia districts ended segregated proms: Lessons from Turner and Montgomery counties

Update Friday: Better Georgia, a self-described progressive advocacy group, asked Gov. Nathan Deal to take a public stand supporting the efforts of four Wilcox County High School seniors to hold an integrated prom in a community where segregated private proms have been the tradition.

The group was disappointed with his response to its request, which addressed who was asking — Better Georgia — rather than the issue of the prom itself.

It sent out this statement today:

According to a report from Macon’s largest television station, 13 WMAZ, the governor’s spokesman, Brian Robinson, said Deal “won’t take sides” because “this is a leftist front group for the state Democratic party and we’re not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt.”

Better Georgia is an independent, non-partisan organization and is not affiliated with any political party. The progressive advocacy group has challenged all Georgia elected officials to publicly support the students of Wilcox County …

Continue reading How two South Georgia districts ended segregated proms: Lessons from Turner and Montgomery counties »

A ‘kissing cousin’ of segregated proms: segregated high school reunions. Are they common?

A reader of the segregated prom blog sent me a note about something that DeKalb school chief Michael Thurmond referenced in a recent speech, racially segregated class reunions.

Thurmond said that his high school graduating class — he attended high school in Athens and was among the first black students to attend high school with white students — holds two reunions divided by race.  “We have come a long way. But we have a long way to go,” he said.

Like racially segregated proms, these reunion events are not officially sponsored or organized by the high schools, so the guest list can be selective if the organizers so desire.

And apparently, sometimes organizers do limit who’s included in the planning and notifications. A friend went to her high school reunion in South Carolina. She, too, graduated in one of the first integrated classes and expected to see both black and white classmates at the reunion.

But only white students were there.  When she asked one of the organizers …

Continue reading A ‘kissing cousin’ of segregated proms: segregated high school reunions. Are they common? »

In black and white: Segregated proms continue but students at Georgia school trying to make history with first integrated prom

The concept of segregated proms in the South shocked people when the AJC and other newspapers wrote about it a few years back. The first question from readers was how this could still be happening.

It happens because the proms are not officially school events, although a great deal of promoting and planning by students occurs within schools.  Since the proms are private parties held off campus without any school funds, schools disavow any control over the events, which are organized by parents and students and reflect historic and lingering racial divides.

In the news this week is an effort by students in Wilcox County High School to finally end the tradition there of segregated proms. Homecoming dances are also segregated there.

The teens are trying to raise money for an “Integrated Prom,” which would be the first ever in the rural Georgia county. They began a Facebook page yesterday to garner support. When I began this blog this morning, they had 300 “Likes.” They now have …

Continue reading In black and white: Segregated proms continue but students at Georgia school trying to make history with first integrated prom »

Does a parent have a choice when the school tolerates bullying? Was this protective mama bear out of line?

ART-Bully020207I’ve been watching a subtitled Swedish mystery series, “Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter,” in which the feisty protagonist is a crime reporter for a major newspaper. In the episode I watched last night, Annika is upset because her sweet 8-year-old son is being bullied and the school refuses to act even after the bully pushes her son off the monkey bars and seriously injures him.

So,  Annika strides onto the school playground, confronts the bully as he terrorizes another child and warns him that she will kill him if he touches her son again. The threat sounds even more ominous in Swedish.

I have to admit rooting for Annika, who takes heat for making the threat. But she’s not arrested.

A Clayton woman who did the same thing to protect her child was not so lucky. Marvis Renae Henry was charged with disorderly conduct and disrupting school operations and released today on $5,000 bond.

You cannot help but feel for the 59-year-old Sunday schoolteacher who believed that her …

Continue reading Does a parent have a choice when the school tolerates bullying? Was this protective mama bear out of line? »

An Asian-themed party earns a Duke fraternity criticism and suspension

Duke students upset over an Asian-themed frat party went on the offensive and posted these photos around campus.

Duke students upset over an Asian-themed frat party went on the offensive and posted these photos from the event around campus.

In the stupid fraternity tricks department, Duke University’s Kappa Sigma is making national headlines for an Asian-themed frat party Friday that it held despite concerns from the university.

The consequences have been swift and considerable. Hundreds of Duke students condemned the party in a campus rally Wednesday. And the national organization of the Kappa Sigma fraternity suspended the operations of the Duke chapter pending an investigation.

The party is igniting debate nationwide including on the Duke Chronicle, the independent newspaper on the campus, which stopped public commenting after nearly 400 remarks.

I read a lot of the comments, many of which went like this: “I can’t believe people get offended so easily. Pretty soon they’ll be shouting to ban Halloween… No more nuns, or cowboys, or beer girls… The problem is not THEM the problem is …

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College students post lower grades when parents pay more toward their educations

Less can add up to more, at least in terms on parental financial support and college grades, according to a new study. (AJC file photo)

Less can add up to more, at least in terms of parental financial support and college grades, according to a new study. (AJC file photo)

I had a conversation Monday night with a friend who, along with paying tuition, provided her daughter with $1,300 a month for living expenses in college. That money went to rent, meals and extras.

I felt Scrooge-like as I only gave my two older children $400 a month to cover rent once they left the college dorms and moved into shared off-campus rental apartments where they were responsible for their meals.

I didn’t pay anything else toward their related living expenses. My kids held part-time jobs so I assumed they could cover their own groceries. (One worked in a restaurant and ate there a lot, while the other made a lot of Ramen noodles, They  both graduated college in less than four years, probably because they were starving. )

Turns out that my miserly ways could have had some value.

There is a fascinating new study in the American …

Continue reading College students post lower grades when parents pay more toward their educations »

For many college students: First time away. First time drinking. First time for sex.

Many teens drink for the first time in college. The CDC released troubling data this week on teenage girls and binge drinking. (AP Images.)

Many teens drink for the first time in college. The CDC released troubling data this week on teenage girls and binge drinking. (AP Images.)

Over the holiday, I talked with many friends and family members about their children’s struggles in college, and almost all the problems had to deal with too much partying and too little studying.

(I am also surprised at the number of teens who are transferring after only semester but I will leave that topic to another day. When I went to college, most of us stuck it out for the full freshman year. By then, some of us had come to like our campuses and to feel more at home.)

Related to that same issue, the AJC had a story yesterday on the rise in binge drinking in girls and women.

Binge drinking continues to be a worrisome, under-recognized health problem among women and girls, according to a CDC report issued Tuesday. Nearly 14 million women binge drink about three times a month, and consume an average of six drinks per binge, the CDC …

Continue reading For many college students: First time away. First time drinking. First time for sex. »

Closing the achievement gap: We’ve been building vocabulary. How about also building character?

What sets children on a successful path in school and, hopefully, in life?

The current belief is that it’s how much children know, so we buy math flashcards for 3-year-olds and sit toddlers down in front of “Baby Einstein” videos. We eliminate recess to direct more time to reading and numbers.

But is the answer stuffing information into children’s brains at earlier ages?

A new book suggests that we are focusing on developing the wrong abilities. What might contribute more to children’s success — especially children growing up amid deep adversity — is persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self confidence,  said Paul Tough, author of “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character,” in a telephone interview.

After visiting classrooms, campuses and laboratories and interviewing teachers, researchers, chess masters and students, Tough concludes that the most significant skills children must learn in their early …

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Homecoming for Whitney Kropp: Even the opposing team came out in support

Whitney Kropp at homecoming last night. (Facebook)

Whitney Kropp at homecoming last night. (Facebook)

Bullied Michigan teen Whitney Kropp triumphed at homecoming Friday night  where even fans of the other team supported her — showing up at the football game in her favorite color orange.

Her case — which we discussed earlier this week – has attracted supporters worldwide. Whitney was elected to the homecoming court at her Michigan high school as a joke by some mean classmates, but she turned the tables on them and emerged a national heroine after her hometown rallied behind her and a Facebook campaign was launched.

From the Detroit Free Press

Cheers erupted and cameras flashed Friday as Whitney Kropp stepped onto her high school football field as a star. “I’m overwhelmed,” she said later, with flowers in her hair and the straps on her red, ruffled dress sparkling under the stadium lights.

Kropp, a 16-year-old sophomore, made headlines this month when she decided to join Ogemaw Heights High School’s homecoming court, despite …

Continue reading Homecoming for Whitney Kropp: Even the opposing team came out in support »

The joke is on the mean kids who elected an outcast to homecoming to mock her

The story about the outcast winning homecoming as a joke and turning the tables on her tormenters is getting a lot of mileage on Facebook as a real-life version of  “Carrie” with a much happier ending.

The ending is not quite happy enough for me as little is being said about whether the kids who did this — and it had to be a sizable number — learned anything.

High school students in a rural Michigan farming town decided it would be a kick to elect an unpopular girl to homecoming court, a girl who did not seek the honor or ever dream of it. So word spread to cast a vote for outcast Whitney Kropp.

Whitney was excited with her win — until she discovered that the joke was on her. But the town of West Branch refused to stand by and see the mean-spirited brats get the last laugh. Businesses stepped in to ensure that Whitney goes to homecoming this weekend in style. A Facebook campaign has brought her thousands of good wishes.

I have no problem with the town elevating and lifting …

Continue reading The joke is on the mean kids who elected an outcast to homecoming to mock her »