Academics Baltimore Intelwars mother public schools Son Students failing academically watch

Baltimore HS student passes three classes in four years, has 0.13 GPA, gets sent back to 9th grade. His mother says she never knew.

Tiffany France figured her son would receive his diploma in June after four years of attending Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts in west Baltimore,
WBFF-TV reported.

But the station said France was shocked to learn that her 17-year-old passed only three classes in four years, has a 0.13 grade point average, and now is getting sent back to the 9th grade.

Yet he’s still ranked near the top half of his class of 120, the station added.

What that says about students ranked
lower than him is beside the point. France told WBFF’s Project Baltimore she never knew how her son was performing until last month and assumed all was well since he kept getting promoted to the next grade — but now he has to start over.

“He’s stressed, and I am, too,” France noted to the station. “I told him I’m probably going to start crying. I don’t know what to do for him. … He didn’t fail, the school failed him. The school failed at their job. They failed. They failed, that’s the problem here. They failed. They failed. He didn’t deserve that.”

Image source: YouTube screenshot

What are the details?

Her son’s transcripts show, for instance, that he failed Spanish I, Algebra I, and English II — but was promoted to Spanish II, Algebra II, and English III, WBFF said.

“I’m just assuming that if you are passing, that you have the proper things to go to the next grade and the right grades, you have the right credits,” France told the station.

In addition to failing 22 classes, her son was late or absent 272 days — yet no one from the school told France her son was failing and not going to class, WBFF reported.

In all this time, only one teacher requested a parent conference — but France said it never happened, the station said.

“I feel like they never gave my son an opportunity, like if there was an issue with him, not advancing or not progressing, that they should have contacted me first, three years ago,” she added to WBFF.

Incredibly, transcripts show France’s son is ranked No. 62 out of 120 students — nearly in the top half of his class, the station said. Which means nearly half his classmates — 58 of them — are doing worse academically, WBFF said.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

What did school officials have to say?

A Baltimore City Public Schools administrator who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation told the station the school system failed France’s son.

“I get angry. There’s nothing but frustration,” the administrator told WBFF. “We see on the news the crime that occurs, the murders, the shootings, we know that there are high levels of poverty in Baltimore. Things like this are adding to that. His transcript is not unusual to me. I’ve seen many transcripts, many report cards, like this particular student.”

The administrator noted to the station that district failed because it has protocols and interventions set up to help students who are falling behind or have low attendance — but that they didn’t happen in the case of France’s son.

WBFF said City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises wouldn’t consent to an interview, but the station noted that it received a two-page statement explaining what should happen when a student is chronically absent or failing.

More from WBFF:

The district says students received a letter about their academic status this past summer, and records can be accessed through the campus portal. When a student is absent, an automated call is placed to the number on file. The statement also said the school conducted recent home visits and the student’s parent visited the school. France says none of that happened.

What the statement does not address, is why France’s son was promoted despite failing classes. It doesn’t discuss his class rank, or the 58 other students with a GPA of 0.13 or lower. But it does say North Avenue is “reviewing actions that impacted student outcomes” at the school prior to this year.

The district administrator who spoke to the station on the condition of anonymity said he would tell France that “I didn’t have a hand on this student, but I worked for City Schools. So, he is one of my kids. I would hug her, and I would apologize profusely.”

Now what?

France told WBFF her son “feels embarrassed, he feels like a failure. I’m like, ‘You can’t feel like that. And you have to be strong and you got to keep fighting. Life is about fighting. Things happen, but you got to keep fighting.’ And he’s willing, he’s trying, but who would he turn to when the people that’s supposed to help him is not? Who do he turn to?”

France — who has three children and works three jobs — added to the station that her son is “a good kid. He didn’t deserve that. Where’s the mentors? Where is the help for him? I hate that this is happening to my child.”

She pulled her son out of Augusta Fells and enrolled him in an accelerated program at Francis M. Wood school in west Baltimore, WBFF said, adding that if her son works hard, he could graduate by 2023.

Student sent back to 9th Grade from 12th Grade

A new wrinkle

A subsequent story from the station reported that the district has known for almost two years about problems at Augusta Fells Savage Institute for Visual Arts — and that documents show there has been an ongoing investigation into “improper staff conduct” at the school dating back to at least 2019.

The two documents — a memo about the investigation and a letter from Santelises — are on official Baltimore City Public Schools letterhead and were shared Wednesday and Thursday with elected officials from Baltimore City Council and some state legislators, WBFF reported.

The station said the note to officials provided “talking points” for reference since questions were being asked about the concerns at Augusta Fells Savage.

WBFF reported that the investigation was sparked by a discovery of “irregularities in course scheduling and inconsistencies in enrollment and grading” during a routine review of seniors at the school, which led to leadership changes, though few details were provided.

The district told the station that the letter from Santelises also was sent Thursday to families and staff.

Fatal shootings father Florida Intelwars Off-duty police officer parents Police-involved shootings Son watch

Police: Boy, 13, home alone calls parents about man breaking in. Boy’s dad, an off-duty cop, arrives and fatally shoots alleged intruder.

Miami-Dade Police said a 13-year-old boy who was home alone Monday afternoon called his parents about a man trying to break in — and it turns out the boy’s father is an off-duty officer with the City of Miami police, WSVN-TV reported.

Well, after Dad arrived at the scene in the 700 block of Southwest 98th Court, the station said he shot and killed the man who allegedly attempted to break into the home.

What are the details?

Miami-Dade Police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta said the off-duty City of Miami officer shot the man in the home’s driveway, WTVJ-TV reported. The man was later identified as 29-year-old Anthony Arias, who had served time in prison for burglary, WTVJ reported.

“I hear ‘Boom, boom, boom, boom,'” neighbor Raul Artiles told WSVN. “Somebody shooting with a pistol, like 10 or 13 times.”

Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, the station said.

The officer was the only one to fire a weapon, WTVJ reported, adding that detectives said it’s unknown if the fatally shot man was armed.

A helicopter hovered over the home where the shooting took place, and WSVN said aerial footage showed blood on what appears to be a family’s driveway.

City of Miami Police noted to WSVN that the officer who pulled the trigger is a department veteran.

Image source: WTVJ-TV video screenshot

Presumably referencing the officer’s actions, neighbor Orencio Castillo told the station “that’s a natural response I would say.” Another nearby resident echoed the sentiment to WSVN, calling it “natural.”

Christina Carmenate told the station when she heard about what happened, she rushed to the house to provide moral support for her cousin.

“Somebody was trying to break into her house,” Carmenate added to WSVN. “She called her ex-husband [who] is a police officer, and there was some type of altercation, and there was a shooting. … It was an attempted robbery, and the bad person was the one hit.”

Artiles told the station he’s lived in the “very, very peaceful, very nice” neighborhood for 35 years — and that he’s never heard anything like a shooting before.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating, WSVN said.

(H/T: Police Tribune)

Adopted Cedric Richmond CUBA Intelwars Matt gaetz Nestor Son

Rep. Matt Gaetz reveals he has a son

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) revealed that he has a non-biological teenage son who immigrated to the United States from Cuba.

What are the details?

Gaetz tweeted out a picture of himself and a young man on Thursday with the message, “For all those wondering, this is my son Nestor [Galban]. We share no blood but he is my life. He came from Cuba (legally, of course) six years ago and lives with me in Florida.”

The Republican added, “Nestor turned 19 a few days ago & will be off to University. He arrived here at 12.”

Signaling the reasoning behind his post, Gaetz explained, “As you can imagine, I was triggered when (to make an absurd debate point) a fellow congressman diminished the contributions of Republicans because we don’t raise non-white kids. Well, I have.”

The news came as a surprise to many on social media, as this is the first time the congressman — who is not married — has spoken publicly about having a son. It is unclear whether Gaetz formally adopted Nestor.

Gaetz’s sister, Erin Gaetz, confirmed on social media, “Nestor came into our lives when he was 12 and had just lost his mother. He didn’t speak English, but luckily, Matt speaks Spanish. Matt has been an incredible father to Nestor…so proud of them both.”

Nestor also replied to his father’s post, writing, “I love you, keep up the good work, we all support you and love you!”

Rep. Gaetz was hit with a barrage of skeptical tweets and criticism from trolls over his announcement, and some even pushed the hashtag, “#freenestor.”

One of the people who defended the Republican was former congresswoman Katie Hill (D-Calif.), who wrote, “Many of you know @mattgaetz & I have an unlikely friendship. I can’t stand a lot of his beliefs but he’s been there for me when others haven’t. He talks about Nestor more than anything, has done so much for his son & is truly a proud dad. This #freenestor thing is bullshit. Stop.”

What ‘triggered’ Gaetz?

On Wednesday, Gaetz engaged in a heated exchange with Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) during a markup of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

Richmond, who is black, said that Republicans could not relate to the discrimination he has faced during his life, or to the concerns he has as the parent of a black son.

Gaetz asked Richmond, “Are you suggesting that you’re certain that none of us have non-white children?”

The congressman from Louisiana replied, “I’m concerned about black people in the streets, and if one of them happens to be your kid I’m concerned about him, too. And clearly I’m more concerned about him than you are.”

With that, Gaetz fired back, “You’re claiming you have more concern for my family than I do? Who in the hell do you think you are?”

Richmond taunted, “Was that a nerve?”

FIERY: Cedric Richmond and Matt Gaetz get into HEATED shouting match during House debate

Apology editor Homophobia Intelwars philadelphia inquirer Racism Social Media Son Temple University

Another Philly Inquirer editor makes headlines — this one for son’s 2017 racist, homophobic posts. Paper calls it a ‘private family matter.’

It’s been a rough few days for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Over the weekend top editor Stan Wischnowski was forced to resign due to a column titled, “Buildings Matter, Too” — a play on the term Black Lives Matter that infuriated staff members of color.

Now it’s come to light that the son of another top editor at the paper used racist and homophobic slurs in two social media posts three years ago, the Inquirer reported.

What are the details?

Gabe Escobar — an 18-year-old incoming Temple University student and son of Inquirer editor and vice president Gabriel Escobar — used the N-word in one post and homophobic slurs in two others on Snapchat in 2017, the paper said.

A Twitter user highlighted those posts last week, identified Escobar, and listed the phone number and email address for Temple’s admissions office, the Inquirer said.

“We’re aware of this content and the student associated,” Temple tweeted on Thursday, according to the paper. “We have sent this information to our dean of students for further review and investigation.”

More from the Inquirer:

The issue surfaced as The Inquirer was facing public criticism and internal turmoil over its treatment of journalists of color and an insensitive headline the paper
ran last week. Escobar’s father was one of three editors who issued an apology for that headline, which had been written by another staffer and was seen as suggesting an equivalence between the loss of buildings and the lives of black Americans. Three days after that apology, Inquirer Executive Editor Stan Wischnowski announced his resignation.

‘I am so sorry’

The younger Escobar
posted a 13-minute apology on Instagram regarding his past posts, the paper said.

“I am so sorry to anyone I’ve hurt or disappointed by seeing these screenshots with hate speech and for the poor judgment I’ve had,” Gabe Escobar wrote, the Inquirer noted. “I can’t take back these screenshots or anything I did in high school, I know that, so all I can do is apologize and try to educate people so they don’t make the same mistakes I did.”

Escobar has nearly two million followers on Tik Tok and asked others to judge him for who he is today, the paper said.

What did his father say?

“My son knows that what he sent on Snapchat, when he was 14, is hateful and hurtful,” the elder Escobar said in a statement, according to the Inquirer. “He has publicly apologized, beginning last fall when the screenshots surfaced. He has also committed himself to spreading a positive message to his followers on social media. His mother and I admire how he has expressed remorse and taken responsibility. We love and support him.”

What did the paper have to say?

Elizabeth H. Hughes, publisher of the Inquirer, said in a statement to the paper that “the social media posts in question are offensive and are contrary to our core values and beliefs. We believe this is a private family matter, and we respect their right to work through what is clearly a painful and difficult situation in private.”

Anything else?

Temple officials are grappling with condemning hate speech while honoring First Amendment free speech rights, the Inquirer noted, adding that a petition calling on Temple to require the “condemnation and immediate expulsion” of students for racist or hateful speech has gained over 3,700 signatures.

In related news, the editor of the New York Times’ editorial page — James Bennet — resigned Sunday amid outrage from employees and readers over an op-ed by Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton saying President Donald Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act and use military force to stop nationwide George Floyd riots.

Arkansas Coronavirus quarantine doctor family Home Intelwars Son Tornado viral photo

Photo goes viral of doctor giving high-five to toddler son through window to protect him from COVID-19. Days later, tornado destroys their home.

Last Wednesday, Alyssa Burks shared a photo on her Facebook page of her husband Jared — a doctor in residency at a hospital — giving a high-five to their 1-year-old son Zeke through a glass door at their home in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

Jared Burks was quarantining himself from his family to protect them from the coronavirus since he’s in such close proximity to those who might be infected.

“Look who we finally got to see today! Not going to pretend that I didn’t bawl like a baby when he left to go back to work. We miss him, but we are doing what we have to do,” Alyssa Burks wrote in her post. “Count your blessings. That’s what’s getting us through this!”

She added to KATV-TV that her husband’s rotation “has him all over the hospital, including the ER, and he just felt like it would be responsible for us to quarantine from each other.”

In fact, the station said Burks has been away from his family for more than two weeks — and that through that glass door he saw his son crawl for the first time.

“As soon as he saw his dad he just raced to the door,” Alyssa Burks added to KATV. “He got up on the glass because I think he wanted him to hold him, so it was sad, it was cute, but it was really heartbreaking because it’s hard.”

But things have gotten much harder for the young family.

‘Oh God, I don’t want to die’

On Saturday, a tornado ripped through the area and destroyed the Burks’ home, KATV reported in a follow-up story.

Jared Burks was inside alone when his wife called from her parents’ residence to warn him about the tornado, the station said.

“I was a little scared,” he told KATV later. “I was thinking, ‘Oh God, I don’t want to die.'”

Burks added to the station that he actually saw the tornado coming toward his house.

“I was like, ‘Oh it’s probably time for me to get to the closet.’ So by the time I got in the closet it was about 30 seconds, and I just started hearing glass breaking, the walls started shaking, my ears started popping, and the house if felt like it lifted up and fell back down.”

Image source: KATV-TV video screenshot

Afterward, he emerged from the closet to find his home in rubble, KATV said.

Image source: KATV-TV video screenshot

The couple later surveyed the damage as a station camera rolled, and Alyssa Burks pointed to a spot where their son’s crib once stood.

“Thank God he wasn’t here,” she said.

KATV noted a balloon from Zeke’s first birthday survived the tornado:

Image source: KATV-TV video screenshot

The couple also found a pair of Zeke’s shoes:

Image source: KATV-TV video screenshot

“We’ll get through it,” Jared Burks told the station. “Just going to take it one day at a time.”

Image source: KATV-TV video screenshot

A GoFundMe page was set up by a friend of the Burks family, KATV said. As of Monday morning, the pledged money is above $82,000 — far exceeding the $2,500 initial goal.

arrest Austin Elderly man father Gerald mccants Intelwars Off a cliff Push father Rattlesnake Son Texas Texas man Will Ferrell

Texas man, who is a dead ringer for Will Ferrell, accused of luring his elderly father to the edge of a cliff and then pushing him off

A Texas man has been accused of luring his 78-year-old father to the edge of cliff to look at a rattlesnake before pushing him off, police said. The suspect also happens to be a dead ringer for actor and comedian Will Ferrell.

According to an arrest affidavit obtained by the Austin American-Statesman, 49-year-old Gerald McCants left the home that he shares with his father at around 8:30 a.m. local time before returning just a few minutes later excitedly telling his father about a rattlesnake he found.

McCants then asked his father to come see the snake, and the two drove to a cliff half a mile from their home. As they approached the edge of the cliff, McCants allegedly pushed his elderly father on the right side causing him to fall off the cliff, roughly 40 feet straight down.

McCants’ father said that as he was falling down the bluff he could hear Gerald “laughing,” according to the affidavit.

When police and emergency medical services arrived on the scene, they found McCants’ father with deep cuts on his forehead and on the back of head and with many minor abrasions all over his body. He was taken to Dell Seton Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

Gerald McCants was arrested and charged with injury to an elderly person, which is a third-degree felony, according to KXAN-TV. He is being held at Travis County Jail.

No motive has been declared thus far in the case.