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Morals back in class

"He who steals an egg, steals an ox – as all French children knew until 1969, when teachers were told to remove lessons on proverbs from the national curriculum," says The Times of London. "Now primary schools are being told to bring them back as part of a drive to teach moral values to a generation often depicted as lost. When France's 6.6 million primary-school children return [this]week after the holidays, they will be invited to learn and discuss a proverb or saying written on the whiteboard in the class. 'I'm bringing morals back to school,' said Luc Chatel, the education minister who [on Aug. 31]instructed primary schools to organize lessons on 'the precepts of the honest man' as often as possible; preferably every morning. 'I want children to learn about good and evil, truth and falsehood, dignity, courage and honesty,' he said."

This is recess?

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"To keep students from getting fat, some South Florida elementary schools are making them watch fitness videos every morning. But they aren't required to do the exercises," reports the Sun-Sentinel newspaper. "At other schools, recess is considered physical education, even though it can be led by teachers with no P.E. background and kids don't have to participate in the games. And in some classrooms, teachers spend designated P.E. time preparing kids for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test."

Police hunt fugitive professor

A California State University, San Bernardino, professor who allegedly led a chapter of the Devils Diciples (sic) motorcycle gang has been charged with leading a methamphetamine drug ring that involved several other dealers, the Los Angeles Times reports. "Stephen Kinzey, a 43-year-old professor of kinesiology, is considered a fugitive and is being aggressively sought by authorities, Sheriff Rod Hoops said. … Nine others involved in the drug ring have been arrested since Friday, he said. 'It's alarming to me – I have kids in college – to have an associate professor who is a member of Devils Diciples dealing methamphetamine,' Sheriff Hoops said."

Parents get detention

"A father has been sentenced to jail and a mother to probation for an attack on a Lansing, Mich., school crossing guard who tried to stop a fight involving their seven-year-old son," Associated Press reports. "The couple say they drove their son to a bus stop on March 31 to fight a seven-year-old bully. Crossing guard James Thompson, 73, was punched and suffered a chipped tooth when he tried to intervene. He even pulled out a small knife to defend himself. …'This whole thing was nonsense,' said … District Court Judge Hugh Clarke Jr. 'Between the two of you, somebody had to have some sanity.' Judge Clarke said the incident was 'another reason people don't like sending their kids to Lansing schools.' "

You're not wearing that

The September issue of the AARP Bulletin has some advice for those over 50 about what not to wear:

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  • Miniskirts, mini-shorts, anything that’s been deliberately diminished or ripped.
  • Low-rise pants that showcase low-rise anatomy.
  • Super-tight skinny jeans, even if you are both.
  • T-shirts that say “Sexy Grandma,” “Vote for Ozzy” or “I Am the Man from Nantucket.”
  • Purses with dogs on them. Purses with dogs in them.
  • Gold chains with your name on them.
  • Gold chains. Chains.

Disliking, fearing school

"Experts estimate that about 5 per cent of school-age children really dislike school and avoid it whenever they can," says the Indiana Evening News and Tribune. "However, only about 1 per cent show signs of what is called a 'school phobia,' according to Anxiety Care's website. Anxiety Care is a London-based non-profit organization that treats anxiety disorders. The term 'school phobia,' which emphasizes the anxiety features of the disorder, was coined in 1941, but over time the British term 'school refusal' has taken hold on both sides of the Atlantic. The incidence of school refusal may be slightly higher for boys than girls and it is most frequently seen in children around five years of age or later at about 11 years of age. The earlier onset is related to separation issues, while the later onset corresponds with major school changes – new teachers, classes, peers, buildings, buses or other aspects."

Old-school discipline

"Before his death in 2009, aged 85, David Gough wrote a memoir of his time at Trent Vale School in the 1930s," says The Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent, England. "David Gough was not the most punctual of scholars. … Sometimes he'd dream up fanciful excuses, but the story of the elephants was perfectly true. 'It was about five minutes past nine when I came to the main road to find a circus passing by,' he wrote. 'The elephants were ambling along, leading the column, and I stood there mesmerized as I'd never seen elephants before. When I got into school, and was asked why I was late, I replied that I'd been unable to cross the road because of the elephants. No one else had seen the elephants and so my unique, genuine excuse was not believed and the usual trip to the headmaster's room could not be avoided.' "

Thought du jour

"Lifelong part-time education is the surest way of raising the intellectual and moral level of the masses."

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- Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975), British historian

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