Lunch to Blame for Why KSDK Staffers Didn't Stop Kirkwood High School Lockdown: NYT

alisdair on flickr
"Let's take a long lunch. What could go wrong?"
When Kirkwood School staff called KSDK NewsChannel 5 earlier this year to confirm that the stranger who'd wandered on campus was actually a reporter and to prevent a full-blown lockdown, they couldn't get an answer.

Turns out, everyone was out to lunch.

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STLCC: Undocumented Students with U.S. High School Diplomas Can Pay In-State Tuition

Categories: Education

Universidad Ya!
Students at a college fair held by Universidad Ya!
After an adjustment to its enrollment policy, St. Louis Community College will now allow undocumented immigrant students with a U.S. high school diploma to pay in-jurisdiction tuition rates, a move that is celebrated by Latino groups as a huge step forward for immigrant youth.

According to STLCC's new policy, "Undocumented Students with a US high school transcript will be admitted to St. Louis Community College and will be eligible to pay maintenance fees based on their residence in accordance with existing residency requirements. Undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid."

Universidad Ya!, a Washington University-affiliated program that helps undocumented immigrant students get into college, celebrated the move as an important step forward for Latino immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and grew up as Americans.

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Harris-Stowe State Teachers Become First University in Missouri to Unionize

Categories: Education

Google Maps
Harris-Stowe State University.
Faculty members at Harris-Stowe State University have voted to unionize, making the troubled school the first university in Missouri to do so. And fat bonuses to administrators, as well as big payoffs to "consultants," might be the reason it happened.

The measure passed with 79 percent of the faculty voting in favor of being represented by the National Education Association, the largest professional union in the United States with more than 3.5 million members.

Now that the HSSU faculty has the NEA's legal resources at their disposal (the alliance will be known as HSSU-NEA), it hopes to take on some of the major gripes they have with the school, including those big payoffs.

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Linn State Technical College Drug Testing Ruled Unconstitutional: "Tired of The War on Drugs"

U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Jim Watson
Linn State Technical College cannot force all of its students to submit to mandatory drug testing, according to U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey, who sided with the American Civil Liberties Union in a decision on Friday.

"The lack of a substantial and real public safety risk alone compels the conclusion that the drug-testing policy is unconstitutional as applied to these students," reads the decision (on view below), which comes two years after the ACLU of Eastern Missouri first filed a lawsuit challenging the college's new mandatory drug tests for all incoming students. In March, a federal judge blocked the controversial policy through an injunction and has now ruled that the tests are largely unlawful.

The ACLU also estaimates that at least 450 of the 500 students who were forced to provide a specimen will receive refunds for the $50 they were each required to pay -- and their samples will have to be destroyed or returned.

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St. Louis Public Schools: Audit Finds Financial Woes, Inadequate Anti-Cheating Measures

Categories: Education, News

Saint Louis Public School District Facebook
St. Louis Public Schools are in a precarious financial condition and are performing inadequately in a number of areas, including how the district handles at-risk students and how officials monitor testing and potential cheating. So says Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, who released a report today criticizing the district and drawing attention to several ongoing challenges.

The audit's overall ranking of the school system is "fair" (on a scale of poor to fair to good to excellent).

"The district does not have a formal proactive process to identify and investigate unusual fluctuations in school [Missouri Assessment Program] MAP test scores or to identify schools which should be monitored more closely," the audit says. "Currently, it is up to each individual school to determine the extent to which compiled testing data is utilized."

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Missouri State Fair: Boonville School District Backs Superintendent, Announcer Mark Ficken

Courtesy of Perry Beam
Update below: Mark Ficken, the announcer at the center of the Missouri State Fair rodeo scandal, did nothing wrong during the controversial Obama clown performance.

That is according to the Boonville School District, which is today releasing findings of its investigation into Ficken, who is the district's superintendent.

"The determination in the investigation was pretty all-encompassing," Ficken's attorney Albert Watkins tells Daily RFT. "He did not make any inappropriate statements."

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Missouri State University Sorority House: Two Small Chemical Bombs Detonate, Minor Injuries

Two small chemical bombs apparently detonated inside a Missouri State University sorority house yesterday causing minor injuries to one individual.

The incident at the Gamma Phi Beta sorority house involved "two chemical overpressure devices that were found to have exploded," the Springfield Fire Department says in a news release.

The fire marshal found "what appeared to be two plastic containers that ruptured from over pressurization." One person -- police don't specify if it was a student -- sustained chemical burns to the arm after touching the substance while attempting to clean up the bottles before fire officials arrived, authorities say.

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James Wilder, Lindbergh Middle School Teacher, Charged With Statutory Sodomy

Categories: Crime, Education

James Wilder.
A St. Louis county middle school physical education teacher and high school coach is accused of having a "long term sexual relationship" with a minor -- seventeen years ago.

The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office has charged James Bliss Wilder III, 47, with six counts of second-degree statutory sodomy, arresting him at Sperreng Middle School yesterday. A $50,000 cash-only bond has been set.

Allegations surfaced this summer, concerning acts that took place between August 1, 1996 and September 21, 1997, police say. At the time, the victim was a sixteen-year-old Lindbergh High female sophomore, who had Wilder as her girls cross country and track coach, cops say.

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Eureka High School Sisters Lauren, Kathleen Oliver Remembered: "Our Hearts Ache"

Rockwood School District
Lauren Oliver.
When seventeen-year-old Kathleen Oliver performed with the Eureka High School cheerleading squad, her sister Lauren, eighteen, would always be in the crowd to support her.

"You would have Kathleen helping lead the crowd and Lauren right there in the crowd...participating right along with her," Eureka High principal Deborah Asher tells Daily RFT. "I think that kind of sums up the way they were with school -- always participating, being there with each other and supporting each other and experiencing the high school experience together.... They were very close."

Eureka High students and teachers are this week mourning the loss of both sisters, who, as we reported last week, died in a tragic car crash in Wildwood.

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Mizzou Student Body Most Diverse in History: University of Missouri's Racial Breakdown

Categories: Education, Mizzou

via Mizzou Facebook
With the start of classes today, the University of Missouri has the most diverse student body in its history, according to campus officials.

Mizzou now has 34,111 students enrolled and has seen an increase in international and out-of-state students as well as a record number of minorities.

The total minority population, the university says, has climbed from 4,940 last year to an unprecedented 5,116 this year -- an increase of 176 students, or a 3.6 percent jump. That change comes from a rise in both Hispanic and African American students.

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