A New York schoolteacher was removed from her classroom after she told her second-grade class that "Arabs" were responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and that Arab-Jewish violence is tearing apart the Middle East, reports the New York Post.

The parents of seven Arab children in Deborah Schwartz's Brooklyn class complained to the Board of Education, and the 17-year veteran was accused of "verbal corporal punishment" and removed from class with the blessing of Schools Chancellor Harold Levy, who has made a priority of fighting anti-Arab "bias."

If found guilty by an arbitrator in what is bound to be a politically charged hearing, she could lose her license to teach.

Estranged at Cornell

"Underrepresented" minority students at Cornell University feel so estranged by the racially insensitive environment there that they took to the streets to demand more minority recruitment, more funding for ethnic studies and facilities and better social conditions, reports The Ithaca Journal.

The students are upset that while total minority enrollment at the university is about 28 or 29 percent, so-called "underrepresented minorities" — a category that includes black, Hispanic and American-Indian students — make up only about 11.5 percent of the freshmen class.

The students are also angry that the school cut by a third its planned $3 million expansion of the Africana Studies and Research Center. Don Ohadike, director of the center, said university officials expect him to get by with only $2 million, which is not enough to add a theater space, expand the library and conference room and create storage space and faculty offices.

The march carried added urgency because of a recent incident in which a Latino student was pepper-sprayed and arrested by Cornell police at a party, as well as a report of a hate crime involving a female undergraduate student.

Revisionism 101

New guidelines on the teaching of history in New Jersey public schools include no mention of America's Founding Fathers nor of the Pilgrims or Mayflower, and replace the word "war" with "conflict," reports The Washington Times.

Also gone are most references to the inhumane treatment many American soldiers endured in wars overseas during the 20th century, even though the proposed standards specifically note that students should identify slavery, the Holocaust and modern Iraq as examples "in which people have behaved in cruel and inhumane ways."

New Jersey educators say teachers shouldn't have to be reminded to mention George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin when teaching U.S. history, but others call such omissions "historical irresponsibility" in the name of political correctness.

Some other states also omit references to the Pilgrims in their standards, referring to them instead as early settlers, early Europeans, European colonizers, or newcomers.

"[The word] Pilgrim implies religion," said Brian Jones, vice president for communications and policy at the Education Leaders Council in Washington. "It's getting more difficult to talk about the Bible and the Puritans."

Mad Science

A Colorado school district that removed a third-grader's science fair project from a school fair because it was deemed hurtful to minority students has revised its anti-discrimination policy to prevent a repeat incident, reports The Associated Press.

The student's project involved two Barbie dolls of different skin colors. She asked schoolmates and adults to select the prettier one. She found that adults chose based on the doll's costume, while the children mostly selected the white Barbie.

A Boulder Valley School District principal removed the display last year saying it did not conform to the district's nondiscrimination rules. After working with the American Civil Liberties Union, the district changed the standards for violating the policy and established procedures for investigating complaints.

Mesa Elementary, the student's school, chose not to hold a science fair this year.

Gender-Neutral Bible

America's best-selling modern Bible is getting an update using gender-neutral wording, despite past criticism of that idea from conservative Christians, reports the AP.

The new revision, called "Today's New International Version (TNIV)," will replace gender-specific phrases with more inclusive ones, says the Colorado-based International Bible Society (IBS), which will publish the new version.

Examples of some changes from 1978 to 2002: "sons of God" to "children of God" in Matthew 5:9, and "a man is justified by faith" to "a person is justified by faith" in Romans 3:28.

The New Testament of the latest version goes on sale in April with the full Bible including Old Testament books expected by 2005.

To read the Fox version of the story, click here.

Highway Signs

The California Department of Transportation was forced to remove U.S. flags from highway overpasses throughout the state after a U.S. district judge sided with two anti-war protesters who complained because they were not allowed to hang their own diatribes, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte told Caltrans that it's all or nothing for freeway signs. He was ruling in the case of two Santa Cruz women, Amy Courtney and Cassandra Brown, who hung anti-war banners on a freeway overpass that were subsequently removed by a police officer.

A Caltrans representative said no unapproved signs, including the flag, will be allowed on overpasses from now on. "We're disappointed," said spokesman Dennis Trujillo. "We thought the state statutes allowed for the flag to be displayed, but the judge has ruled otherwise. We will comply."

From the Central Servers:

Bill A. in Houston writes:

Talk about changing statues to reflect our diversity, what about the carved busts of those dead white guys on that mountain in South Dakota? How come no one has complained about that?

Ed J. in Cincinnati writes:

I must say that I see no reason whatever to name a highway after a traitor to this country such as Jefferson Davis. I don't hear you harping to have a "Benedict Arnold National Trail" or a "John Walker Lindh Rest Area" set up on the nation's highways. Jefferson Davis is certainly no better than these two treasonous individuals.

Dale M. in Oklahoma City writes:

If any team of any kind anywhere in the world wants to name themselves "Old Bald Headed Sedentary White Men" I will be honored and grateful. I would be a proud mascot!

Greg B. in Green Bay, Wis., writes:

I am wondering if San Diego State University's penchant for realism in its mascot will include half time human sacrifices? Then again that may be the only way this new mascot could possibly do anything to fire up a crowd.

Glen Y. writes:

I live in the great state of Washington and in the Seattle area. It is so refreshing to see one of our elected leaders coming up with his own solution to cure our traffic mess, renaming Highway 99. What a stroke of genius!!. And people say there are not competent people in politics. I think it ought to be renamed and a new monument put in place of the old one. An idea for the name could be something like "Gridlock Highway" and the monument could be something like a statue of a state representative with his head up his butt.

Dave A. from Baker City, Ore., writes:

I am dismayed that the film studio is going to change to plot line of Sum of All Fears to reflect white thugs instead of Arab thugs. Thank goodness it is still OK to portray white people as evil or else we couldn't have any more villians!

Scott B. writes to correct us:

In the paragraphs concerning "Sum of All Fears" and the change from Arab villains (like the book) to Neo-Nazi, you are indeed correct. The change was made. The part you have wrong though is the timing. Hollywood long ago decided against using the original villains, and this is described in detail on any of a bunch of move preview websites, such as Coming Attractions by Corona.

Monte B. in Williston, N.D., writes:

I wonder what the FAA and DOT officials expect airport security workers to do when alerted about a possible terrorist attack from an Arabic Islamic Fundamentalist group if they can't specifically target those who look or sound Arabic?

What if the alert is for a neo-Nazi white supremacist group? Do they still check all the non-whites to see if they are members? Discriminating, i.e., making deliberated choices, is a necessary and everyday part of life.

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