And now the most scintillating two minutes in television: the latest from Special Report's "Political Grapevine."

Soaring suspensions

A new study indicates the so-called zero tolerance policies against violence or threats of violence in schools has done nothing to improve school safety, but has sent student suspensions soaring.  The Justice Policy Institute says 64,000 students from kindergarten to 12th grade were suspended last year.  That's double the rate of the 1970's, despite the fact that reported crime in schools is about the same as it was then.

And juvenile homicide rates stand at the lowest they've been since 1966.  Meanwhile, a study from Alfred University found that fear of violent crime in schools has risen, even though the rate of such crime has not. 

Goodbye Donald, hello Deanna

And speaking of schools, some parents at Marie Murphy Middle School in Wilmette, Illinois were surprised to receive a notice from school officials that the principal, Donald Reed, had undergone a sex change and would "return to school as a woman known as Deanna Reed."  The notice referred to the change as "gender reassignment."  Some parents were furious at having to explain such a thing to their children, so the school system has now hired a clinical psychologist to help in the process. 

Easy transition

Elsewhere, Randey Michelle Gordon, formerly Randy Michael Gordon, reported no such problems after returning to work as an art teacher at Eastchester High School in the New York suburbs.  The 52-year-old Gordon, who had a sex change operation three months ago, said students "see it's the old me.  I'm the same person, heart, mind and soul.  The gender thing should not make a difference.  And it hasn't."  Gordon told The New York Post that what most interested her faculty colleagues was how she had got her weight down from 230 pounds to 170.  She's 5 foot 9.

Clothes make the man... er, woman

Meanwhile, Richard Ward, also known as Sarah West, has sued United Airlines, because, he says, it wouldn't let him take his connecting flight from Omaha on his way home to London until he changed out of his female garb into men's clothing.  Ward said in the suit that he showed United's staff a letter from his doctor that explained that it was normal for him to  dress as a woman because he was being treated for "male-to-female transsexualism." 

Ward says United told him he couldn't fly until he looked like his passport, which showed him as a man.  In addition, said Ward, United's staff caused him "humiliation and embarrassment" by referring to him as "Mr. Ward."

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