Ohio high school senior asked to withdraw from school for ‘raising his voice’ at a white teacher

Josh Crayton thegrio.com
Josh Crayton, a senior at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH (Courtesy of Facebook)

Josh Crayton, a senior at Saint Ignatius High School in Cleveland, OH has been asked to withdraw from school for “raising his voice” at a white teacher. The family believes race is a factor.

The incident occurred in December of last year. In an interview with Blavity, Crayton said he was discussing a late assignment with his English teacher Alexandria Miranda when she became dismissive.

“She began to get very frustrated and loud about the whole thing and told me that she wasn’t discussing this anymore,” said Crayton. Miranda filed a complaint with the school alleging that Crayton raised his voice to her.

The Crayton family received a notice requesting that they immediately withdraw their son from school. Crayton filed an appeal which was denied on January 29.

Crayton’s sister, Mia took to Twitter to gather support for her brother. She started the hashtag #letCraytonstay. Some of Crayton’s classmates and even some alumni of the school have chimed in on his behalf.


A Change.org petitionwas created to get Crayton back into school and has garnered nearly 2,500 signatures. LaTonya Goldsby, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Cleveland chapter expressed her support with a note on the petition.

Goldsby’s statement is backed up by research. According the U.S. Department of Education, Black students are three times as likely as their white counterparts to be expelled.

Crayton’s mother told Blavity she believes her son’s situation has to do with race. “I have my concerns about this being a racial matter. Several white students have done much more horrendous things and have been able to not only remain at Saint Ignatius but have graduated with their class. All of these incidents are well documented and so many people are reaching out and coming out with examples of these kinds of stories. It appears that there is some disparity.”

Crayton himself doesn’t think raising your voice is a violation large enough to justify being kicked out of school. “It bothers me that other students have gotten away with yelling at the same teacher, selling drugs at school, smoking in the school and I got asked to withdraw because I yelled at a teacher. I’m sorry she took it the way she did but that wasn’t my intention. My intentions were to discuss some assignments that she graded, not to come off as loud or rude.”

The school sent Blavity a statement that essentially amounts to “no comment”:

“Saint Ignatius High School cannot comment on student disciplinary issues. Regarding infractions, we have a series of potential disciplinary actions including suspension, withdrawal or expulsion, depending on the circumstances and recommendations of the Disciplinary Review Board. Each case is carefully considered and evaluated.”

Crayton, who runs track and plays football for his school, hopes to graduate with his class and attend the United States Air Force Academy.


DNA suggests first modern Britons had dark skin, curly hair (AFRICANS)

Great Britain Cheddar Gorge theGrio.com
(Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images and Fox Photos/Getty Images)

According to a new DNA analysis, the first modern Britons, who lived 10,000 years ago, had dark skin and curly hair.

The analysis was conducted on the oldest complete skeleton in Britain, known as Cheddar Man, who was unearthed in Gough’s Cave in Somerset over a hundred years ago.

It had been widely assumed that Cheddar Man had light skin and hair because he lived shortly after the last ice age, when people from continental Europe first came to Britain. However, the DNA analysis painted a picture of an early Briton with brown to black skin, blue eyes, and dark, curly hair.

Breaking with traditional assumptions

The findings are groundbreaking not just because of what they reveal about Cheddar Man himself but because of what they say about Britons at that time.

“It really shows up that these imaginary racial categories that we have are really very modern constructions, or very recent constructions, that really are not applicable to the past at all,” said one of the people who worked on the project, Tom Booth, an archaeologist at the Natural History Museum.

Yoan Diekmann, a computational biologist at University College London, also noted that the findings suggested that the feeling that being British and being white were tied together was “not an immutable truth. It has always changed and will change.”

The island nation was settled sporadically between ice ages, but it was in the age of Cheddar Man that the settlers became permanent residents. Most of the people claiming British ancestry were descended from the settlers of Cheddar Man’s time.

According to The Guardian, scientists theorize that Europeans gradually became lighter-skinned as an adaptation to absorb more Vitamin D through sunlight.

Britain’s Channel 4 will air a documentary on how the analysis was completed, called First Brit: Secrets of the 10,000 Year Old Man, on Feb. 18.

Teen uses last breath to identify man who killed her for turning down his advances


A Brooklyn teenager used her dying breaths to tell police the name of the man who shot her for spurning his advances.

Last year, Shemel Mercurius, 16, was allegedly shot by Taariq Stephens, 25, who Mercurius said wanted to date her. She had turned him down, and he showed up at her apartment to shoot her three times with a machine gun.

Mercurius had been babysitting her 3-year-old cousin at the time that Stephens showed up at the apartment, according to testimony given on Monday by the cops who responded and stayed with Mercurius as she died.

“There was a 3-year-old male child … covered in blood crying next to the victim,” said Sgt. Ryan Habermehl.

Although Habermehl called EMS immediately, it took them 20 minutes to arrive as Mercurius struggled through her final breaths.

Officer Kyle Thomas Daly also testified that he found Mercurius on a toy car, leaning against the wall.

“I put on gloves, took her off the car and laid her down and began rendering aid … she regained consciousness, gave me her name and date of birth,” he said.

The dying teenager drifted in and out of consciousness but told the police that she had rejected Stephens after the two of them had met a week before her murder at a daycare and exchanged phone numbers.

Stephens could be hit with 25 years to life in prison for second-degree murder and weapons charges if he is convicted.


Also: Keaton Jones’s mom doesn’t feel Confederate flag makes her racist

A 10-Year-Old Was Already Suing the US Government Over Climate Policy. Then Climate Change Really Hit Home. Posted 3 February 2018 5:00 GMT

This story by Deepa Fernandes originally appeared on PRI.org on January 23, 2018. It is republished here as part of a partnership between PRI and Global Voices.

Ten-year-old Levi Draheim is a whizz at math, even though he doesn’t particularly like it. He plays a steady Dvořák’s “Humoresque” on the violin and he has a pet crab, JJ. Like most kids, Draheim hates cleaning his room.

Yet Draheim isn’t like most 10-year-olds in one main way — he’s suing the United States federal government for violating his constitutional rights by supporting the continued use of fossil fuels that contribute to global warming.

Draheim lives on a barrier island on the state of Florida’s central east coast. Sea level rise projections combined with beach erosion escalation means his home will likely be sitting in water in 30-40 years and his island will likely be completely submerged by the end of the century. It’s a reality even most adults in threatened Florida cities aren’t doing much about, which makes this child’s activism even more unusual.


The changing climate is something Draheim has witnessed first hand. When Hurricane Irma ripped through Florida in September 2017, it hit his town of Satellite Beach pretty hard. A week after the hurricane, came a torrential downpour that flooded many streets. Draheim and his family had to evacuate and his street flooded.

“It was so deep that … it was like up to the like middle of the car,” he said.

Draheim’s school also flooded pretty badly and had to close.

Before the flood, Draheim went to school three days a week and was homeschooled the other two. Going to school was a highlight because he got to hang out with other kids. But he won’t get to see these kids as much anymore. The school was damaged beyond repair. So his mom, Leigh-Ann Draheim, has to homeschool him full time for now.

But that’s the least of her worries.

“Our whole street was under water, we had sandbags out and things like that,” she said. “We’re worried that if it rains hard then we’re going to have that issue again and again.”

The family lives on what’s called a barrier island, a long thin strip of sand off the mainland. Projections for sea level rise are not good for this part of the Florida coast.

“The barrier island will go away eventually because it’s at sea level,” Leigh-Ann said. Draheim jumped in to explain more.

“Well, there’s like these maps and stuff like that and it shows that this whole entire street will be completely under water. We’re zero feet above sea level. So even if the polar ice caps melt a little bit it will go into the ocean which is going to go into the Indian River Lagoon which is going to flood our home,” Draheim said.

One natural protection against rising sea levels are solid sand dunes, but even those are eroding in Satellite Beach.

Draheim wanted to show me how the sand dunes, which make like a wall on the Atlantic side of the island, are getting eaten away.

He and his mom took me to a part of the beach where the dunes are pretty eroded.

“The sign right here says Keep Off the Dunes,” Draheim said.

Draheim doesn’t just talk about climate change, he’s also trying to fight it. Among other things, he and his mom have helped with dune restoration work, planting a type of grass called Sea Oats in the sand.

”[Sea oats] are what really holds the dunes together, like with erosion, the sea oats are all that holds it in, really,” Draheim said.

But it’s not all work and no play. Draheim can ride his bike to the beach, he boogie boards when he wants. He loves his life here.

Yet there’s no denying he’s living the impacts of sea level rise and extreme weather. In many ways, he was a natural to join the 20 other kids from around the country suing the federal government over not doing enough to stop climate change. Of the group, he’s the youngest.

“I think climate change is basically like a national disaster, and it’s going to affect everybody,” Draheim said. “Like in Florida you can see obvious effects, like two hurricanes in the same year and we had to evacuate for that, and beach erosion, stuff like that.”

In this case, Draheim actually doesn’t have it quite right. Scientists don’t think climate change is causing more hurricanes. But there is evidence that in general, it’s making them and other storms worse.

Draheim is not just a cute young face for the movement. He’s constantly trying to learn more, he said, so he can do more. He listens to the news, pushes his mom to teach him climate concepts at home, and he listens intently when his older plaintiff compatriots talk.

Draheim joined the youth lawsuit by nonprofit, Our Children’s Trust, after his church minister told his mother about it. Leigh-Ann asked Draheim if he wanted to be involved and the then 9-year-old didn’t hesitate.

Draheim and his mom are members of a local Unitarian Universalist church. It’s a pretty relaxed, liberal church. During the mass, Leigh-Ann is barefoot and Draheim bounces a ball the entire service. At morning tea after mass, the congregants discuss Draheim’s activism with pride.

He’s one of the only kids at church, but he’s treasured.

The trial is slated to begin February 5, 2018. Draheim said whether they win or lose, he for one hopes that US President Donald Trump is watching.

“It’s kind of hard that the most powerful person in the world denies that climate change is ever a problem and ever will be a problem,” Draheim said. “And so, it’s just kind of hard.”

Whatever happens, Draheim said he’s going to keep fighting. He doesn’t want his island paradise to disappear.

Then he shoots off, razor wheels attached to his shoes, and lands under a blackberry tree where he fills his mouth with sweet, juicy berries.

Nina Paley’s ‘Seder-Masochism’ Film Explores Patriarchy in the Book of Exodus Through Animated Egyptian Idols

Global Voices interviewed American free culture activist and filmmaker Nina Paley about her new animated film “Seder-Masochism.” It is loosely based on the Book of Exodus from the Torah/Bible and exposes the veiled patriarchy in the religious text.

Global Voices interviewed American free culture activist and filmmaker Nina Paley about her new animated film “Seder-Masochism.” It is loosely based on the Book of Exodus from the Torah/Bible and exposes the veiled patriarchy in the religious text.

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Paley is the director of the 2008 full-length animated film “Sita Sings the Blues” which she released to the public domain in 2013. The film narrated the Indian epic poem Ramayana by using the 1920s jazz songs of Annette Hanshaw. It brought Paley worldwide fame because of its feminist interpretation of the epic and her long battle against the copyright claims tied to the songs of Annette Hanshaw used in the movie. Paley had to pay a negotiated amount of at least US$50,000 by loaning the sum. She eventually reclassified the film’s license from Creative Commons Attribution-Share-alike 3.0 Unported (CC-BY-SA 3.0) to Creative Commons CC0 (equivalent to public domain).

In an interview with Jewish podcast station Judaism Unbound, Paley said that “Seder-Masochism” is her take on the Exodus, which she first learned during Passover Seders. The Passover Seder is a Jewish ritual that involves the retelling of the liberation of Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. She added in the interview that “she identifies herself as a “born-again atheist” and explains the ways in which her recent study of the Book of Exodus has left her uncomfortable.

Several songs and scenes from the film “Seder-Masochism” have been uploaded by Paley to the Internet including the song sequence “You Gotta Believe” which turns Egyptian stone goddess idols into flash animation. It features Moses and “singing” ancient goddesses who find themselves about to be defeated by patriarchy.

The goddesses in flash animation can be downloaded on Wikimedia Commons.


‘I left BBC for $162,000 drug job’ – Former Ghanaian journalist opens up

A former Ghanaian BBC journalist has opened up on why he left the promising international career to become a drug dealer, commanding over $162,000, an equivalent of GHS728,336 in 1982.

Although he was satisfied with his BBC job at the time, Paa Joe Odonkor said his lifestyle was “so big” that he had to look for a different source of income to sustain it.

And it was drug peddling that came to mind, the journalist-turned drug peddler said in an interview with SVTV Africa.

“My first assignment as a drug dealer was an Indian hemp and I made $4,000 and my second trip I made $8,000 so I said to myself that I will do it on my own and not for others,” Mr Odonkor got attached to the new business because it gave him what he wanted.

Just four trips to Italy, Switzerland and USA made him a “big boy” who lived largely as at December 1982 when many of his colleague journalists in Ghana did not have the financial muscle.

“I don’t take the taxi because I felt taking a taxi is a humiliation. I changed cars every two months… from Jaguar Xjs1, I brought Lincoln continental and the only car I never brought here was Bentley and Rolls Royce,” he said.

With money coming in daily, Paa Odonkor was ushered into a highflying lifestyle.

“I’ve never flown on using Zongo [section] on an Air-craft before, not even Ghana Airways. I go with Swiss Air or Pan Am and always Business class,” he said.

“I flew from Britain that is London to New York with Concord. I paid $4700 to go from London to New York which under normal circumstance if you go with VC10 or the Boeing 747 will take you about 6hours but with the Concord, it will take you three and half hours,” he added.

But his life’s second turn-around after the first one at BBC was when he was arrested following a massive clamp down on drug lords in Africa.

“I was busted in March 1984 and that was the biggest catch of cocaine from the continent of Africa. I was arrested for carrying 142 tonnes of cocaine,” he said.

Paa Odonkor said his passport was confiscated and he was jailed for drug trafficking.

But after his release, the journalist was abandoned by his friends and women who became constant visitors at his residence.

“I lost all my friends. As for the women, when you have the deeper pocket and have lots of dollars they call you honey but when you get broke and develop holes in your pocket, they make themselves conveniently unavailable… they vanish,” the then BBC star said holding tears in the socket of his eyes.

The frustration of losing one’s friends had a toll on him, forcing the journalist to start using the drugs such as cocaine, something he has warned the youth to desist from.

With a loving family and siblings who are well placed in society, the former journalist is on the path to building a new life for himself.

“My elder brother is a pilot with America Airways, the second one is an artist in the UK. I’ve one sister who is very famous, her daughter was Miss Ghana 2003 winner but then who wants her uncle to be like this,” he said.

But his family has been supportive and he has now reunited with his wife whom he abandoned when he was into drugs. He is yet to re-establish contact with his son, Paa Joe Odonkor said.

“Life is about what you make it… I wanted to be rich and I became fabulously rich but then what news will it make when you are young and rich but getting to your 60s, you look like an AIDS patient or you look like a 75years old man,” he said.

FILTH ENGULFS ACCRA – Australian High Commissioner

The filth that engulfs Accra, even in so-called affluent and well planned areas, has caught the attention of the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes, who has asked Ghanaian authorities to up their game to meet President Akufo-Addo’s promise to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa by 2020.

The High Commissioner, who appeared shocked with the filth very close to the High Commission in Cantonments, took to Twitter to vent his frustration.

Sex video girl is 20 years old, not 16 – GNAT

GNAT Exams

Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has revealed that the lady in the latest viral sex video involving the Head Teacher of Edumanu D/A Basic School, is 20 years old and not 16 as reported.

A video involving Head Teacher of Edumanu D/A Basic School allegedly having sex with one of his pupils at Breman Edumanu in the Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District of the Central region went viral over the weekend.

Speaking to Ekourba Gyasi on Atinka AM Drive, the General Secretary of GNAT, David Ofori Acheampong stated that report available to them (GNAT) indicates that the parents of the girl in the video are aware of the sexual relationship between the head teacher and the student.

According to him, the girl in question is a 20 -year -old Senior High School (SHS) student and not a pupil of Edumanu D/A Basic School as reported by the media.

He added that although the act is against the principles of the Ghana Education Service (GES), this is an issue of morality and that there is little the service can do since the lady in question is not a student in the head master’s school. He, however, stated that the issue is still under investigations.

“In this particular matter, it is more of an issue of morality since the student is not directly under the head teacher. My understanding is that a gentleman who felt jilted by the lady in question circulated the video to disgrace her”, he stated.

He added that the head teacher is permitted to take a legal action if he feels his privacy has been invaded by person involved in the circulation of the video.

Understanding Temperament

t’s often said that a key to being a great leader is temperament. That’s why leadership programs conduct tests like Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Keirsey Temperament Sorter to help people pinpoint their psychological profiles so they can work better with others. The social and emotional skills that provide the foundation for effective leadership – and effective individuals, citizens, and workers – are being laid in the first years of every child’s life.

Temperament can be defined as the way a young child acts and responds to different situations, caregivers, and strangers. It’s apparent from birth, and it’s unconnected to the kind of parenting we receive or the environment in which we live. Every parent knows – and every caregiver can attest – that each child is different. These differences are largely a matter of different temperaments.

Research suggests that 65 percent of children fall into three basic clusters of temperament:

Easy children (40 percent of all children) are not easily upset and have regular eating and sleeping habits. Difficult children (10 percent of all children) are fussy and fearful and often have irregular eating and sleeping habits. Slow to warm up children (15 percent) are withdrawn, slow to adapt, and somewhat negative in mood.

Children with difficult temperaments are at higher risk for social and emotional problems. It’s those problems that can create barriers for a child’s classroom learning, the ability to create relationships, learning to read, and successful careers.

Temperament tends to be stable throughout life–parents can’t fundamentally change their child’s temperament. A mismatch between a child’s temperament and a parent’s expectations is a common cause of conflict between a parent and a child and continuing negative behavior by the child.

However, sensitive and nurturing parenting can minimize the risks of social and emotional problems. Parenting that recognizes and makes allowances for children’s temperaments can minimize conflict and buffer children from negative social-emotional outcomes. For example, positive parenting appears to help babies with difficult temperaments become more cooperative and exhibit more self-control in their second year.

If a child is anxious or withdrawn in a new situation, we can encourage them to explore it rather than be over-protective. If a child is unafraid and takes too many risks, we can lovingly and calmly set firm boundaries and consistent schedules. If a child is impulsive, we can praise the behaviors we like and be gentle with discipline. Regardless of the kind of temperament a child has, we can help him understand how it affects his feelings, his behavior, and his relationships with others.

Understanding temperament can help parents fine-tune their parenting approaches to their child’s unique needs. It can also ensure that parents don’t blame themselves or their child for behavior that is normal for the child’s temperament.

On this, science and conventional wisdom agree: a child’s temperament can’t be changed, but children of any temperament can be guided toward positive social and emotional outcomes when parents and caregivers provide a great deal of support and affection, set limits, and respond consistently to children’s needs.