On this Memorial Day, 2023, thank you Peter Sobacki, a 1967 graduate of Holy Cross High School, who inspired a 13 year old to attend Holy Cross High School. Peter Sobacki was killed in Vietnam in 1968. Peter was my inspiration to attend Holy Cross High School in 1968. Peter was someone who loved his community and his country.
On This Memorial Day, 2023, Let’s Remember All Who Have Died For The USA and Freedom
Roy F McCampbell on Linked In
Controversy Rages as Leyden SD 212 Parents Question Why the SD 212 Board of Education Failed to Opt out of the Controversial National Sex Education Standards Signed into Law by the Governor and the Illinois General Assembly
Parents are attending the SD 212 Board Meetings questioning why the Board of Education failed to opt out of the new Illinois sex education standards, as well as questioning safety issues with girls in boys’ bathrooms and locker rooms and boys in girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms throughout both Leyden campuses.
With only the bare minimum number of votes to pass a bill in the Illinois House, the Legislature has approved the controversial National Sex Education Standards as the basis for all sex education classes in Illinois.
Many school officials and parents in Illinois want no part of new standards of teaching sexual education in the classroom.
Illinois lawmakers passed a bill that aligned the state’s standards with a national model. School districts were given the option to opt-out, and they have in droves.
According to the website Awake-Illinois, only 20 school districts have decided to fully follow the standards, with 534 opting out.
Now Leyden High School SD 212 parents are attending meetings and are asking why the Leyden SD 212 Board of Education failed to opt out of this controversial new sex education.
Illinois schools are not required to teach sex education, and thus can opt out of teaching these obscene standards. Local school boards have the authority to establish their own curriculum guidelines, and are not required to comply with the standards. Yet the Leyden SD 212 Board did not even consider opting out of the controversial new sex education. That has become clear as a growing number of parents are attending SD 212 Board Meetings questioning why the Board did not even consider. At one point based upon the blank looks of the Board of Education members it was clear that the School Administration had never provided that option for consideration of the Board of Education.
At the May 18, 2023, Board Meeting for the SD 212 Board of Education, the administrators tried to “white wash” their lack of transparency to the Board of Education and the community in general by paying for an attorney to “brief” the Board of Education and parents present for the meeting on the law regarding bathroom usage by both sexes as a distraction. The lawyer from Franczek failed to address or answer questions about the authority of the Board of Education to opt out of the sex education legislation, placing the burden on the parents to provide their own opt out.
Parents at the Board meeting continued to express concern as well as outrage about boys identifying as girls in the girls bathrooms and locker rooms and girls identifying as boys in boys bathrooms and locker rooms.
The legislation has now become law and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has filed new rules with the secretary of state on the adoption of the National Sex Education Standards. As part of the checklist of things to do before instruction begins, school officials are advised to “Review and become familiar with the National Sex Education Standards.”
This begs the question: What are the standards all about?
Here are examples: According to the National Sex Education Standards, one of the learning goals for kids beginning in kindergarten is to “Define Consent,” and “Define gender, gender identity, and gender-role stereotypes.”
Beginning in the third grade, kids are expected to be able to “Explain common human sexual development and the role of hormones (e.g., romantic, and sexual feelings, masturbation, mood swings, timing of pubertal onset).”
Another goal for third through fifth graders is to be able to “Describe the role hormones play in the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional changes during adolescence and the potential role of hormone blockers on young people who identify as transgender.”
The standards also expect sixth through eighth graders to be able to “Define vaginal, oral, and anal sex.”
In other words, the standards go far beyond biology and seek to teach kids at young ages material that is clearly not age-appropriate.
The good news is that Illinois schools are not required to teach sex education, and thus can opt out of teaching these obscene standards. Local school boards have the authority to establish their own curriculum guidelines, and are not required to comply with the standards.
I have been sounding the alarm and urging parents to get involved and stop this curriculum from taking hold in their local schools. Numerous districts across the state are opting out.
Meanwhile, parents are asking how schools can justify teaching a radical sex education curriculum when so many of our students, across the state, are not meeting basic standards of learning in core subjects.
Fourfold Increase In Autism in the US in the Last 30 Years
1 in 36 eight-year-olds (and 4.3% of 8-year-old boys) in the US have a diagnosis of #autism, per new #CDC estimates announced today. That implies a staggering four-fold increase in the prevalence of autism in 20 years. It’s important to note that this is data for children born in 2012, so the likelihood that a child born last year will eventually get diagnosed with autism is MUCH higher.
Regardless of whether you believe this increase is real or a result of better diagnosis, what is indisputable is that there is a monumental need for more and better scientific #research, #healthcare, #education, #housing, and #employment for individuals with #autism across the whole spectrum and across their lifespan.
So, at a personal level, if you know anyone diagnosed with autism, reach out to them even if it’s just to say hello. If you are planning an activity, consider inviting them while taking into account their sensory or other needs.
If you are a young college/Ph.D. graduate, consider making autism an area of your focus, research, or employment. There is a huge shortage of autism professionals and researchers in almost every sphere, so this is an area where your work can make a HUGE difference.
If you are an investor, consider expanding your portfolio to include companies that are developing therapeutics or services to benefit people with ASD. Your IRR target and desire for impact are no longer mutually exclusive.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) During Car Sex Is Not Covered by Car Insurance
A federal judge in the Western District of Missouri has ruled for GEICO in a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that its auto policy doesn’t cover damages for a sexually transmitted disease contracted during car sex. http://ow.ly/K5eV50NhQ3p #insurancelaw
Bill to ban cat declawing introduced in Illinois State Capitol
A bill that would ban cat declawing and similar procedures has been introduced in the State Capitol. If the bill passes, anyone who violates it could pay $500 for the first violation, $1,000 for the second and $2,500 for the third.
“I bet a pound of catnip many owners that know how painful and inhumane this action is to cats,” Rep. Barbara Hernandez (D-Aurora), the bill’s sponsor, said on Twitter. “Declawing a cat just because someone doesn’t want them to scratch the furniture is unacceptable.”
The decision of whether to declaw a cat is one many cat owners including Becca Bebar, the hospital manager of Northgate Pet Clinic, have faced.
Compared to her other two cats, Bebar said the one with no claws behaves differently.
“If anybody moves or kind of touches her, she gets really freaked out and then runs away, she really will only come to me and not anybody else in my family, versus my other two [and they] could absolutely care less and we’ll go up to anybody who even comes into the house” Bebar said.
Dr. Larry Baker, a veterinarian and dental specialist at Northgate Pet Clinic, said he wouldn’t encourage people to declaw their cats.
“The best reason to declaw a cat is an owner that has their cat likes their cat, gets along with their family well, and they’re ruining their furniture, and the owner says, ‘I am going to have to get rid of this cat or have them declawed,’ then to me, there’s no question about it. I would declaw rather than have them get rid of the cat,” Baker said.U of I researchers discovering new uses for biowaste, from elephant DNA to fuel production
But for cat owners who are tired of the scratching but don’t want to declaw their cats, Baker said there are some alternatives.
“One is they can trim the nails themselves,” Baker said. “Secondly, there are little claw tips that are made of plastic they could put on the claws and glue on the nails so the cat can’t scratch.”
Zero Bail Policies Result in More Crime Victims According to a California Study
Jeff Reisig’s office, California District Attorney just completed a study on the comparative impacts of court-ordered Zero Bail ($0 Bail) over a 13 month period in my county.
The results were staggering. Zero bail releases resulted in 163% more crime and 200% more violent crime when compared to arrestees who were released after posting bail for similar crimes. As a result of Zero Bail policies, more victims were murdered, shot, robbed, assaulted, and beaten. This study is the first of its kind in California. https://lnkd.in/gKkWB9K2
The Chinese Balloon is Gone-But What Does This Revelation Mean for the Future ?
The Chinese balloon that floated across the United States this month, apparently on a mission to collect intelligence, began its journey as a curiosity. Then it became a political metaphor: a symbol of U.S. weakness to Republicans, a sign of President Biden’s prudence to Democrats.
Now, a week after the U.S. Air Force shot it down, the errant balloon is gone, but its impact is still reverberating.
The incident, and the larger Chinese program it revealed, is a serious obstacle to one of Biden’s top foreign policy goals: stabilizing the prickly U.S. relationship with Beijing.
The balloon may not have collected much useful intelligence. Pentagon officials say they took steps to cripple it, presumably including electronic jamming.
But as it ambled from Montana to South Carolina, the device became an all-too-visible reminder of the never-ending presence of Chinese espionage.
Biden administration officials denounced the overflight as a violation of U.S. airspace, and blacklisted the Chinese companies involved. Republicans charged that the balloon had posed an imminent danger to the nation’s security. A few claimed without evidence that it might have been carrying bioweapons or a nuclear bomb.
China insisted the vehicle was a civilian weather balloon and demanded its return, accusing the United States of “political manipulation.”
If the objects shot down off Alaska on Friday and over the Canadian Yukon on Saturday turn out to be more Chinese balloons, or if the U.S. Navy fishes surveillance equipment from the ocean off South Carolina, Beijing will only look guiltier.
The State Department has revealed that Chinese balloons have flown over more than 40 countries. U.S. officials are sharing intelligence about those flights with other governments, bolstering the international backlash against Beijing’s ambitions.
In sum, it appears China has scored the espionage equivalent of an own goal. Its balloon program could collapse if the United States decides to notify other countries when lighter-than-air vehicles are heading their way.
But the stakes are far greater than spy-versus-spy drama. The balloon episode is a reminder that, just as in the Cold War, detente between nuclear powers is harder to manage than it looks.
“All the worst instincts, the goblins just below the surface, have been unleashed on both sides,” said Bates Gill, a China scholar at the Asia Society in New York.
The United States and China compete head-to-head for influence not only in Asia, but around the world. Their armed forces face each other in the Western Pacific and the South China Sea.
The two countries are dangerously at loggerheads over Taiwan, which Beijing’s leaders have long vowed to reabsorb.
At the same time, they share a massive, tangled economic relationship. And they occasionally try to cooperate on shared interests such as narcotics enforcement, climate change and pandemic prevention.
So much is at stake that Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping formally agreed at a summit in November to put a floor under the relationship.
“I’m not looking for conflict; I’m looking to manage this competition responsibly,” Biden said.
One of the first steps they agreed on was a visit to Beijing by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, scheduled for last weekend.
The balloon appeared, and Blinken called the trip off.
One of his goals, ironically, had been to improve communications to prevent minor incidents from turning into major crises.
But as the balloon soared across Montana, communications immediately broke down. When Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III tried to telephone China’s defense minister, nobody in Beijing took his call.
Now the two sides appear locked in a cycle of mutual recrimination that will probably continue at least as long as debris from the balloon is turning up.
Still, both governments seem willing to restart their dialogue. That’s a good sign.
The Biden administration has asked China for assurances that the recent balloon flight will be the last, apparently as a condition for rescheduling Blinken’s visit.
But experts on China think it’s unlikely Beijing will make a public statement on that count, which would look like an admission that it lied about the “weather balloon.”
Blinken may have to be satisfied with the U.S. announcing any assurances made by China. He should also ask for improved crisis communications, beginning with a promise that next time, someone will answer the phone.
Then he can head to Beijing and resume building that floor.
If he goes, some Republicans will inevitably accuse the administration of being soft on China. They’ll say that no matter what.
“A path toward improvement is going to be hard to find,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the German Marshall Fund. “It isn’t certain that the relationship can get back on track. There are so many ways it can deteriorate. … But it’s a good sign that both countries agree that they still want to try.”
Americans should remember a lesson learned during 40 years of Cold War diplomacy with the Soviet Union: Talking with adversaries isn’t a reward for good behavior. It’s a means of preventing small crises from becoming big ones.
Our interest in managing the high-stakes competition with China is much larger than a balloon — even one big enough to carry three busloads’ worth of spyware.
SCOTUS Considers When Students With Disabilities Can Sue for Damages
The Michigan case focuses on a deaf student who spent 12 years assigned to an aide who didn’t know sign language
The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear the case of an immigrant family who holds a Michigan school district responsible for denying their deaf son’s right to an education.
A lower court ruled that Miguel Perez, now an adult, is not entitled to sue for monetary damages for emotional distress or lost income under the American with Disabilities Act because his family settled the case under special education law.
“The parents were really over a barrel here,” said Mark Weber, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago who co-wrote a brief to the court on behalf of the plaintiff. “They needed to get services right away for this kid. The kid’s not getting any younger.”
While the case, Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools, delves into the complex procedural rules that govern special education, it speaks to the frustration many families whose children have disabilities feel in systems that often seem stacked against them. Navigating that legal landscape is even trickier for immigrant families, who are “likely unfamiliar with U.S. school systems” and are unused to the “idea of children with disabilities having a right to education,” said Cady Landa, a researcher at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who has studied the obstacles immigrant families face when seeking special education services.
Immigrant parents, she said, are often unsure how to talk to school staff and may have “smaller social circles that are less likely to include other parents who have navigated special education for their children.”
The Perez lawsuit asks whether families can sue for damages under other federal laws that prohibit discrimination even if they haven’t exhausted their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA. Perez’s petition argues that there’s a conflict in the lower courts over this issue.
But lawyers for the Sturgis district disagree. They also note that the Supreme Court ruled last year that the Americans with Disabilities Act doesn’t allow compensation for emotional distress and that Perez changed his request to ask for lost income.
“Now he says in his reply that he wants to amend his complaint,” they wrote. “Too late.”
‘Academic and social outcast’
Perez, now 27, entered the Sturgis, Michigan, school district in 2004 as a 9-year-old deaf English learner from Mexico. The district assigned him a classroom aide who didn’t know sign language and even made up hand signals to try to communicate with Perez, according to court documents.
“There was one other deaf student, but we couldn’t communicate with each other,” he said in a statement provided through an interpreter.
As he got older, the assistant would often leave Perez alone for hours, “rendering him unable to learn or communicate with others and making him an academic and social outcast,” according to his lawyers.
Despite not being able to read or write, Perez received A’s and B’s and made the honor roll every semester. But just weeks before he was set to graduate in 2016, the district told his parents that he would only be eligible for a certificate of completion, not a diploma.
The case, Landa added, points to the need for more translation and interpretation services, specifically for newcomer families whose children have disabilities.
In 2017, the family filed a complaint with the Michigan Department of Education, arguing that the district violated IDEA, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as two state laws.
In 2018, they settled the IDEA claim. The district agreed to place Perez in the Michigan School for the Deaf, pay for additional services and provide the family with sign language instruction. The district also paid the family’s attorney’s fees.
But that left the remaining complaints under the other laws unresolved, leading the family to file a lawsuit in federal district court, asking for social work services and additional financial relief.
“I wish I could have gone to college,” Perez said. “I don’t have a job, but I want to have one. I want to make my own choices.”
The 6th Circuit ruled the family wasn’t eligible to sue because their IDEA complaint never went to a hearing.
Supreme Court Unanimously Sides With Student In Special Ed Case
The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of a student with a disability in a case with significant implications for families and schools entangled in special education disputes.
In an opinion issued Tuesday, the high court sided with Miguel Luna Perez, a deaf student who sued the Sturgis Public Schools in Michigan for failing to provide him a qualified sign language interpreter for 12 years.
Perez’s family was led to believe that he was on track to receive a high school diploma, but found out just months before graduation that he would be getting a certificate of completion instead.
The family reached a settlement with the school district to resolve claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, but subsequently sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act seeking monetary damages. A lower court ruled against Perez in the ADA case indicating that because the family accepted the IDEA settlement, they did not fully exhaust all options under IDEA.
With the ruling this week, however, the Supreme Court reversed that decision. The justices unanimously determined that since compensatory damages are not available under IDEA, Perez is entitled to pursue such a claim under the ADA.
IDEA’s “administrative exhaustion requirement applies only to suits that ‘see(k) relief … also available under’ IDEA,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch in an eight-page opinion for the court. “And that condition simply is not met in situations like ours, where a plaintiff brings a suit under another federal law for compensatory damages — a form of relief everyone agrees IDEA does not provide.”
Gorsuch noted in the ruling that since lower courts have differed on this issue, the decision “holds consequences not just for Mr. Perez but for a great many children with disabilities and their parents.”
Lawyers for Perez had warned that a ruling in favor of the school district would tie the hands of students with disabilities and their families by essentially requiring them to turn down even the best IDEA settlements in order to maintain their ability to seek claims under other laws.
“Miguel Perez is just one of millions of students with disabilities who face a multitude of barriers in getting the supports and services they need to thrive in school and to build the future they desire,” said Shira Wakschlag, senior director of legal advocacy and general counsel at The Arc, one of several disability groups that filed amicus briefs supporting Perez. “Consistent with the language of the ADA and IDEA, today’s unanimous decision in Perez v. Sturgis Public Schools removes unnecessary burdens from families seeking relief and helps ensure that students with disabilities and their parents are able to pursue every avenue of justice available to them when their civil rights are violated.”