An elementary school principal in Michigan is under investigation for authorizing a field trip last week for 30 black students to meet with an African-American rocket scientist. Students who are not black were excluded from the outing -- a possible violation of a state law that bans racial favoritism in public schools.
"The district is investigating the allegations of violation of the State of Michigan Proposal 2," a spokeswoman for the Ann Arbor, Mich., school district told FoxNews.com. "There was no ill-intent or malice in the principal and teachers planning this field trip," she added.
The principal, Mike Madison, who is black, said the trip was part of an effort to close the achievement gap between black and white students. But some parents whose children were not included say it clearly was illegal.
The controversy began last week when the 30 students, members of an African-American academic support group, were taken to hear the rocket scientist, Alec Gallimore, speak at the University of Michigan, where he is an aerospace engineering professor and propulsion lab director.
The goal of the trip, Madison said, was to close test score gaps and inspire the students to consider careers in the sciences.
But parents of students who were excluded protested, and the children who went on the trip were booed by their classmates when they returned to school.
Earlier this week, Madison tried to quash the controversy by sending a letter home to parents, in which he wrote:
“In hindsight, this field trip could have been approached and arranged in a better way.
"But as I reflect upon the look of excitement, enthusiasm and energy that I saw in these children’s eyes as they stood in the presence of a renowned African American rocket scientist in a very successful position, it gave the kids an opportunity to see this type of achievement is possible for even them.
“It was not a wasted venture," he continued, "for I know one day they might want to aspire to be the first astronaut or scientist standing on the Planet Mars....
“The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students, as has been reported, but rather to address the societal issues, roadblocks and challenges that our African-American children will face as they pursue a successful academic education here in our community.”
But Madison's explanation only fueled the controversy, and parental complaints turned into allegations that the school had violated Proposal 2, a newly enacted Michigan law that bans racial preference in public schools.
"If it was directed, guided, organized by the school district, they cannot say they are doing a field trip today for blacks only, or for whites only, or for Hispanics only or for Asians only," Leon Drolet, the former chairman of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, told the Detroit Free Press.
But district spokeswoman Liz Margolis said that bridging the gap in test scores between white and black students was a serious issue that legitimized the trip. Plus, she said, the field trip was paid for by a private donation.
"We don't feel that it at all violates (Proposal 2), but frankly, as with any group of students, if we identify a group of students that need support, we would be addressing that," Margolis told the Free Press.
"But we also have to have better education for our parents so they know why it's being done," she said.
A parent-teacher meeting to discuss the issue is scheduled for Thursday night.
Tell us what you think Edgers!!!!
Bun B feat. Gucci Mane Yo Gotti Countin Money
This track is off of Jadakiss latest mixtape "The Champ Is Here 3". What do ya think Edgers?!?!
01 I Think She Likes Me feat. Nicki Minaj
Raw materials that were to be used to make several lots of the Tylenol products for children and infants that were recalled over the weekend were contaminated, the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday.
Johnson & Johnson recalled about 1,500 lots of bottled products, including pediatric versions of Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl. The company's McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit said it was withdrawing the over-the-counter products, starting late Friday, because of manufacturing problems at its Fort Washington, Pa., plant.
What parents should do as Tylenol announces the recall of 1,500 batches of children's and infant's products. Video courtesy of Fox News.
The FDA inspected the manufacturing plant during a routine visit between April 19 and April 30.
Agency inspectors found that raw materials set aside for use to make several lots were contaminated with gram-negative bacteria, according to the inspection report. Such organisms are so named because they don't pick up the purplish dye used in the test to distinguish them from gram-positive bacteria. Both kinds of bacteria can cause infections.
FDA officials said the company may have used the contaminated inactive ingredients in manufacturing, but the company's testing of finished products didn't turn up contamination.
"The findings are serious, but we cannot say yet whether further action by the FDA is warranted," Deborah Autor, the FDA's director of compliance, said in a conference call with reporters.
Some of the liquid products may contain a higher concentration of their active ingredient than they should, while others may contain inappropriate levels of inactive ingredients or tiny metallic particles left as a residue from the manufacturing process, according to the company. The FDA report cited 46 consumer complaints regarding "foreign materials, black or dark specks" that were reported to the company between June 2009 and April 2010.
A spokeswoman for J&J's McNeil unit said the company has halted production at one plant. Other plants also make the medicines, and there are lots from those plants that weren't recalled and remain on store shelves. The spokeswoman declined to comment on the cost of the recall to the company or the source of the raw materials.
In a separate statement, she said that the J&J unit's own reviews had turned up some of the quality issues that the FDA observed and that McNeil won't restart operations at the Fort Washington plant until it fixes the problems and can be assured of product quality.
"We have no higher concern than providing parents with the highest quality products for their children," the company's statement said.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the potential for harm is remote. Still, she urged parents to avoid giving the medicines for precautionary reasons. "There are many alternative versions of these medicines available in generic form," she said.
To assist parents, the company has set up a hot line at 888-222-6036 and a website at www.mcneilproductrecall.com.
In this teaser to The UrbanDaily’s exclusive interview with video directors Coodie & Chike, the lucky cameramen behind Erykah Badu’s “Window Seat,” answered the question that’s been on everyone’s mind: Who the hell has the unedited version of that video??
They also share who helped them link with Erkyah to get the video done in the first place…
There’s a piece in today’s Times examining the relationship between Magnum condoms and hip-hop. Like Cristal before it, an “unsolicited lift by hip-hop artists” (i.e., rappers name-checking Magnums in their lyrics) has boosted sales of the brand by 14 percent.
Trojan, which owns Magnum, has decided to capitalize on all this free advertising by turning it into not-free advertising. The company has hired Ludacris as a spokesman for Magnum’s first ever ad campaign, which will include print, online, and radio ads, as well as a contest soliciting the best Magnum-themed lyrics. But what are the best Magnum-themed lyrics that already exist?
They are also hosting a $5000 contest to see who can come up with the best Magnum jingle. Go to www.magnumlivelarge.com for details. I'm sure there are alot of ladies who are with me on this visual DAMN!.......Ms. Jai '10
Police have found a condom in the Holiday Inn hotel room where former New York Giants star Lawrence Taylor allegedly committed third-degree rape of a 16-year-old Bronx girl early this morning.
TMZ reports that Ramapo supervisor Christopher St. Lawrence, investigators found LT asleep inside the room when they first arrived to the hotel.
TMZ also says that cops retrieved a condom from the room as well as other evidence when Taylor was taken into custody.
Cops have confirmed that the 16-year-old victim at the center of this case is a runaway who was reported missing in March and had been taken in by a pimp, who along with another person, was arrested upon their return to New York City this morning.
According to CBS 2, former New York Giants star Lawrence Taylor was arrested for rape in New York. The 51-year-old Taylor was taken into custody by Ramapo police after being accused of rape by someone at the Holiday Inn Holidome Hotel in Suffern.
Charges have yet to be filed against the Hall of Fame linebacker and recent contestant on “Dancing With The Stars.” A press conference is expected later this afternoon.
A Facebook group accused of "praying" for the death of President Barack Obama has raised controversy online, with many calling for Facebook to remove the group as "offensive speech."
The group, which lists its location as "Marysville, OH, 43040," currently has over 1 million members--Facebook users who say they "like" the group. It includes an album of anti-Obama imagery uploaded by the group's members--what Facebook labels "fan photos--that show the president against a communist flag, juxtaposed with insulting and derisive captions, or even a cartoon "associating Obama to Hitler."
The group is called, "DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN."
Geekosystem notes that the title is "likely a riff on a letter circulating New Jersey teachers' unions earlier this month that employed similar language with respect to (Republican) governor Chris Christie. The president of the New Jersey Education Association went on to issue a formal apology for the email."
Another group, "Petition to remove Facebook group praying for President Obama's death," has been created to denounce the anti-Obama group and advocate for its removal. The group, which has just over 650,000 members, is asking users to "Please act to encourage facebook to remove the page praying for the death of President Obama," and lists three steps Facebook users can take.
Facebook has repeatedly come under fire for hosting Facebook pages many find inappropriate and offensive.
Geekosystem observes, Facebook's procedure for dealing with potentially offensive groups is pretty murky. Facebook has stated in the past that it takes seriously the free speech of its groups, even potentially offensive ones: A number of Facebook groups praising Joe Stack, the man who crashed a small plane into a government building in February, are still alive and well.
Controversy erupted in September 2009 after users discovered a Facebook poll that asked whether President Obama should be killed.
The death toll in three states has risen to 31 from a massive weekend storm system that devastated parts of the Southeast, authorities said Thursday.
Twenty-one people have been confirmed dead in hard-hit Tennessee.
One of those deaths was from a tornado in Hardeman County in the western part of the state that was spawned by the heavy storms, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
The same storm system killed six people in Mississippi and four in Kentucky, emergency management officials said.
The death toll could rise as rescue crews continue to search for several people who have been reported missing, including two kayakers in Kentucky and several people in Tennessee, officials said.
The waters had receded in much of the city of Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, six days after the record-setting rains swelled rivers to historic levels and flooded several neighborhoods.
Nashville's major business and government district, Metro Center, partially reopened at noon Thursday. Business owners and workers were allowed access to their properties at Metro Center, though the area was still closed to the public.
Other parts of downtown were also reopened Thursday to residents and shop owners, the Nashville mayor's office said.
As of 9 a.m. Thursday, the Cumberland River, which cuts through Nashville, stood about 2 feet above flood stage, and the water continued to recede.
"Nashville has obviously been hard-hit, and it's a well-known city, but there are so many other counties in the state and areas ... that have been hit very hard as well," Gov. Phil Bredesen told CNN from Nashville on Thursday morning.
"A lot of people who didn't have flood insurance, because they never thought floodwaters would ever come anywhere near their home, are really looking at a total loss of their home," he said. "It's very tough on a lot of people right now."
President Obama has declared 10 Tennessee counties disaster areas, he said.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said that his agency was looking to add more counties to the federal disaster declaration.
The flooding was one of the biggest responses FEMA has made under his leadership, Fugate said at a news conference Thursday.
He asked those affected by the flooding to contact FEMA to verify the damage and apply for federal aid, if possible, he said.
As the floods recede, Bredesen said, people are facing the damage the waters have caused.
"We're going to get through this," the governor told CNN. "This is a very resilient state."
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean was also optimistic Wednesday night.
"We are coming out of this thing," Dean said. "This has been devastating, but right now we're going to be focused on getting our city back up and working. "
The iconic Country Music Hall of Fame is also expected to reopen before week's end.
Nashville "will remain Music City and we will go forward doing what we've been doing," Dean said.
The mayor estimated the flood damage to his city to easily top $1 billion.
One of the city's main water treatment plants remained closed because of the flooding Thursday, prompting the city to tell residents to put off washing dishes and limit toilet flushing.
"Citizens are using water at a greater rate than we can treat it and pump it out to the community," said Sonia Harvat of Nashville's water department.
See photos as the cleanup begins
Harvat said "assessment and repairs are proceeding well at the K.R. Harrington Water Treatment Plant."
"There is still a significant amount of inspection, repair and testing to accomplish before the plant can be placed back in service and operations evaluated," she said in an e-mail to CNN.
The city would be forced to rely on bottled water unless more people started conserving, officials said.
Bredesen warned residents to be wary of con artists looking to capitalize on the flood response.
"There are always people who come in and do these scams of charging people -- and they seem to prey on elderly people an awful lot -- just charging people an awful lot to do something," Bredesen said. "(They say) 'I'm going to fix your house, you have to do it or the state's going to tear it down, and it's like $20,000. Write me a check or give me cash.' "
"People have lost everything," said singer and Nashville resident Kenny Chesney, who flew home to check on his house.
The damage Chesney saw from the air while flying in was nothing compared with what he's seen on the ground, he said.
"I didn't know what to think. I was numb to it all," he said.
The road leading to Chesney's 40-acre, waterfront property was under five feet of water, accessible only by a motor boat.
"I lost a lot but not near as much as a lot of people," he said.