Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 14

Elementary Students Taken Ill After Googling ‘ISIS’ In Class

By Ryan Herling

With ISIS currently dominating the news, it’s no surprise that even young kids would let curiosity get the best of them and decide to do a quick Google search on the topic.

However, this week some elementary school students got more than they bargained for when they googled “ISIS” during class and ended up seeing disturbing photos of the dead body of Goto Kenji, the Japanese journalist who was murdered by ISIS in Syria last month. Among the students who viewed the pictures, 11 reportedly became physical ill.

On 2ch, where such shocking and disturbing content is often found and distributed, many users voiced the opinion that that these kids were too weak and that viewing such gross images was necessary to build up a tolerance to whatever nastiness these kids might encounter in real life.

Full story at Japan Crush (February 2015)

Pakistan's cartoon 'Burka Avenger' swoops into India to empower girls

The Emmy-nominated "Burka Avenger" series started in Pakistan in August 2013 and has since launched in Afghanistan, winning global accolades including the Peabody Award, International Gender Equity Prize and Asian Media Award. (AP Photo)

Reuters, New Delhi

A female cartoon superhero who dons a burka to tackle crimes against girls and other social ills is bringing her message of women's empowerment to India, the creator of the Pakistani children's series said.

The Emmy-nominated "Burka Avenger" series started in Pakistan in August 2013 and has since launched in Afghanistan, winning global accolades including the Peabody Award, International Gender Equity Prize and Asian Media Award.

Its main protagonist, a teacher called Jiya - who tackles everything from the ban on girls going to school, to child labour to environmental degradation - was named as one of the most influential fictional characters of 2013 by Time magazine.

The series' creator and director Haroon Rashid said "Burka Avenger" would launch in India in April with the Zee Network and will be broadcast in four languages - Hindi, English, Tamil and Telegu.

"It is launching on the ZeeQ channel which is a children's edutainment channel so it is the perfect fit for 'Burka Avenger'," said Rashid in a statement late on Monday.

"We are rolling out a worldwide launch for the 'Burka Avenger' series this year so it is fantastic that one of the first territories is India where we are able to reach such a large audience."

The protagonist of the cartoon is Jiya. (Image:

Media pundits say the series immediately struck a chord in Pakistan where Taliban militants have prevented thousands of girls from going to school and attacked activists campaigning for their education.

Full story at HindustanTimes (April 2015)

Failing the Entire Class

By Scott Jaschik

Irwin Horwitz had had enough. His students, he thought, weren't performing well academically and they were being disruptive, rude and dishonest. So he sent the students in his strategic management class an email:

"Since teaching this course, I have caught and seen cheating, been told to 'chill out,' 'get out of my space,' 'go back and teach,' [been] called a 'fucking moron' to my face, [had] one student cheat by signing in for another, one student not showing up but claiming they did, listened to many hurtful and untrue rumors about myself and others, been caught between fights between students…."

Horwitz said he would fail every single student. "None of you, in my opinion, given the behavior in this class, deserve to pass, or graduate to become an Aggie, as you do not in any way embody the honor that the university holds graduates should have within their personal character. It is thus for these reasons why I am officially walking away from this course. I am frankly and completely disgusted. You all lack the honor and maturity to live up to the standards that Texas A&M holds, and the competence and/or desire to do the quality work necessary to pass the course just on a grade level…. I will no longer be teaching the course, and all are being awarded a failing grade."

The same day Horwitz sent a similar email to the senior administrators of the university telling them what he had done, and predicting (correctly) that students would protest and claim he was being unfair. The students are "your problem now," Horwitz wrote.

The university has said that Horwitz's failing grades will not stand.

A spokesman for the university said via email that "all accusations made by the professor about the students' behavior in class are also being investigated and disciplinary action will be taken" against students found to have behaved inappropriately. The spokesman said that one cheating allegation referenced by Horwitz has already been investigated and that a student committee cleared the student of cheating.

However, the spokesman said that the across-the-board F grades, which were based on Horwitz's views of students' academic performance and behavior, will all be re-evaluated. "No student who passes the class academically will be failed. That is the only right thing to do," he said.

Full story at Inside Higher Ad (April 2015)

Shanghai investigates teacher after images of her umbrella-holding student go viral

Shanghai authorities this week launched an investigation into a set of photos that blew up on social media, showing a student holding an umbrella for his teacher while on a school excursion.

The images, posted to Weibo on April 30 by user @hellhell, show the boy lifting the umbrella over the woman's head as she walks along in sunglasses, fanning herself off. Everywhere the woman went, it seems, the boy was sure to follow.

After the images went viral online, the boy's teacher was accused of abusing her power by using the student as her personal umbrella stand.

The Baoshan education department confirmed that the woman is indeed a teacher at the Gucun Central Primary School, but insisted that the doting student's umbrella holding was purely voluntary.

The department issued a statement saying that it had reminded teachers to discipline themselves and look out for their students. The school also said in a statement that it had spoken to the teacher about the matter. “We held a meeting with all our teachers and asked them to learn from the incident,” it said.

The teacher later apologized in a tear-filled interview with local reporters, confirming that the child held the umbrella up for her during a school trip to Peace Park on April 30 and that she did not object.

Full story at Shangaiist (May 2015)