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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

GA family calls for changes following threats to Muslim student

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Wednesday, January 3, 2024   

The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Georgia and the family of a Warner Robins Middle School student are calling for policy changes from the Houston County Board of Education after a classroom incident last month.

A 13-year-old Muslim student was allegedly threatened with beheading by her social studies teacher, after she asked him why he displayed an Israeli flag in his classroom.

Azka Mahmood, executive director of CAIR-Georgia, said the incident occurred on Dec. 7, but it was another week before the family became fully aware of the situation, due to media coverage.

"There's a gap of so many days when the community is completely exposed to this man," Mahmood pointed out. "That was very disturbing to them, that they didn't know how serious it was and that the bail was so low that it was completely non-deterrent."

The incident was reported to the school duty officer and the Houston County Sheriff's Office, leading to teacher Benjamin Reese's arrest the next day. However, according to the student's father, "families are not entitled to information under school investigation, regardless of the severity of the danger to students."

The Houston School Board has not responded to inquiries for this story about Reese's employment status or its communication policies.

In a statement released Tuesday, Jan. 2, the family urged the Houston County Board of Education to revise its information-sharing policy between schools and families, saying the lack of transparency leaves families unprepared for potential threats. They also raised concerns about what they see as the teacher's bail being set "too low" by the Magistrate Court of Houston County.

Mahmood emphasized the parents view this as a matter of public safety.

"They also want the police to look into maybe rearresting him or making sure that there's some kind of safety mechanism where they keep an eye on him," Mahmood explained. "Whether it be surveillance or just arresting him again or something like that."

In the statement, the family asked the school board to revoke Mr. Reese's Georgia ethics assessment certification to prevent him from teaching in the future.


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