Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 65

Principal loses job, retirement pay for coffee theft at store

By Takae Kumagai and Haruka Suzuki

KOBE--A junior high school principal lost his job and retirement pay, believed to be around 20 million yen ($135,000), as punishment for overfilling his coffee at a convenience store in Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture.

But critics have questioned the prefectural board of education’s decision to apply the most severe penalty available, saying it is akin to giving a “death sentence” for an offense of little monetary loss.

According to the board, the principal paid 110 yen at the counter of a convenience store to buy a regular-size coffee at a self-service coffee machine on Dec. 21.

However, a store clerk noticed that he filled his cup by pressing the button for a large coffee, which costs 180 yen.

When confronted, the 59-year-old principal of the city-supported school admitted to cheating on his coffee purchase. He also admitted that he had done this twice before at the same store.

Police sent files on the suspected theft to the Himeji branch of the Kobe District Public Prosecutors Office.

Prosecutors acknowledged that he committed the theft, but decided not to indict him.

At an interview by board officials, the school head reportedly said he did it “on the impulse of the moment” and he was “truly sorry” for his misconduct.

Full story at The Asahi Shimbun (February 2024)

Teacher hosts sword fights in class, sending bloodied teen to hospital, lawsuit says

By Julia Marnin

A high school teacher brought swords into class and had students sword fight in New Mexico, according to a lawsuit. Screen grab from video provided by attorney Jessica Hernandez

A student remains “scarred and disfigured” since her sophomore year of high school, when her teacher told students she brought a “surprise” into chemistry class, according to a lawsuit filed by her family.

The teacher revealed she had two swords, including a “katana-style sword,” in the science classroom at Volcano Vista High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 2, 2022, the lawsuit says.

Then, she instructed the students to fight each other with the weapons, in pairs, according to a complaint filed Feb. 23.

The teacher no longer works for the school, as she was fired two months later on July 30, 2022, Monica Armenta, the executive director of communications for Albuquerque Public Schools, told McClatchy News on Feb. 27.

The student, who was 16 when she was injured in class that day, initially recorded a video of a duel between two male students, the lawsuit says.

In the video that was provided to McClatchy News, the students are seen wielding the swords in the center of the classroom. One makes repeated advances toward the other as their blades continuously clash, according to the footage, which was filed as an exhibit in court.

When the video starts, the teacher yells “go” and is seen supervising the situation as a timer is displayed on a projector behind the students. At the end of the video, the teacher tells one of them, “you’re definitely dead.”

Full story at The Sacramento Bee (February 2024)

83-year-old woman proves it's never too late to go back to school

Kim Jeong-ja, left, 83, the oldest person to take the 2024 College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), takes part in an entrance ceremony for Sookmyung Women's University in central Seoul on Monday. Kim will become a freshman majoring in social welfare at the university’s Future Education Institute. Born in 1941, Kim had to flee when the 1950-53 Korean War broke out around the time she entered elementary school. [NEWS1]

Kim Jeong-ja, 83, the oldest person to take the 2024 College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), matriculated at Sookmyung Women's University in central Seoul on Monday.

Kim will major in social welfare at the university's Future Education Institute.

Born in 1941, Kim had to flee when the 1950-53 Korean War broke out around the time she was in elementary school.

To achieve her lifelong dream of completing her higher education to live a life without regret, she pursued studying hangul at Yangwon School, a lifelong education center for housewives, in 2018 and continued her studies at Ilsung Women's Middle School and High School in Seoul.

She raised three children and also has overcome back surgery.

Kim chose Sookmyung Women's University because it is the college her granddaughter graduated from.

"My granddaughter boasted every day that her school was the best," Kim said.

Her granddaughter jokingly told her, after hearing news of her acceptance, "Now you are my junior."

Full story at Korea JoongAng Daily (February 2024)

Former Utah school bus driver accused of setting bus on fire with students onboard

By Eric Levenson

Michael Austin Ford lit a fire under the dashboard of his school bus in April 2023 but continued driving "undeterred by both open flame and smoke billowing past his face," according to federal prosecutors. Photo Credit: United States District Court of Utah

(CNN) — A former school bus driver in Utah faces both federal and state arson charges for allegedly lighting his school bus on fire in two separate incidents, including at least once with students onboard.

Michael Austin Ford, 58, of West Valley City, was indicted by a federal grand jury last month on two charges of arson of a vehicle of an organization receiving federal funds, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah. He has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges, according to the court docket.

One incident stems from February 2022 when the US Attorney’s office alleges he set a Granite School District bus on fire with 42 children inside and while driving in traffic. He used an ignition device to start the fire and continued to drive the bus while smoke blew past his face toward where the children sat in the back, according to the US Attorney’s Office, which said the incident was captured on video.

Over a year later, in April 2023, he again set a school bus on fire and continued driving in traffic as the smoke billowed past him, according to the office, which said this incident was also captured on video. A detention memo filed by prosecutors says video also shows him attempting to tamper with the surveillance system and covering up the camera above the driver’s seat.

Ford was arrested days later in April 2023 by Granite School Police and questioned about the fire but was released, according to the prosecutor’s office.

While the investigation was ongoing, his home and personal vehicle were severely damaged by fire in October 2023, the second time his home had serious fire damage, and he acknowledged two other personal vehicle fires, according to the memo. Further, Ford acknowledged to investigators his involvement in three other bus fires in which he was driving, dating back to around 2001 or 2002, 2016 and 2017, according to the memo.

Ford was arrested again on felony state charges in October 2023, according to a state docket report. Ford has been ordered detained ahead of his federal trial, set for April 29 in Salt Lake City, the prosecutor’s office said.

Full story at CNN (March 2024)

Protesting students use pickup truck to batter down doors at National Palace in Mexico City

FILE - A man pulls a cart full of merchandise past the National Palace in Mexico City, Dec. 5, 2019. Protesters commandeered a pickup truck Wednesday, March 6, 2024, and used it to ram down the wooden doors of the National Palace where the president lives and hold his daily press briefings, before they were driven off by security agents. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Protesters commandeered a pickup truck Wednesday and used it to ram down the wooden doors of Mexico City’s National Palace.

They battered down the doors and entered the colonial-era palace, where the president lives and hold his daily press briefings, before they were driven off by security agents. The palace is a historic structure dating back to the 1700s, and was built on the site of the Aztec emperors’ palace.

The demonstration, like many others over the years, was called to protest the abduction and murder of 43 students a decade ago.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called the protest a provocation, and claimed the demonstrators had sledgehammers and blowtorches.

“This is a movement against us,” López Obrador said. “The plan is to create a provocation.”

But the president also attempted to downplay the seriousness of the protest, saying “The door will be fixed, it’s nothing.”

Full story at AP News (March 2024)

College Student Accused of Killing 6 People, Including 4 Young Children

Febrio De-Zoysa, 19, is charged with six counts of first-degree murder

By Liam Quinn

Ottawa murder investigation. Photo:Patrick Doyle /The Canadian Press/AP

A college student in Canada was arrested and charged with six counts of murder after he allegedly killed six people, including a mother and her four young children, the Ottawa Police Service says.

The student, identified in reports from the CBC, Reuters and NBC as Febrio De-Zoysa, 19, is believed by police to be a Sri Lankan national studying in Canada.

The six victims, who were also from Sri Lanka, were identified as 35-year old mother Darshani Banbaranayake Gama Walwwe Darshani Dilanthika Ekanyake; her four children Inuka Wickramasinghe, 7, Ashwini Wickramasinghe, 4, Rinyana Wickramasinghe, 2. and 2-month-old Kelly Wickramasinghe; and Amarakoonmubiayansela Ge Gamini Amarakoon, 40, an acquaintance of the family living in the home.

Ottawa murder investigation. Photo:Patrick Doyle /The Canadian Press/AP

Police say an “edged weapon” was used in the killings. De-Zoysa was also charged with one count of attempted murder, police say.

Full story at People (March 2024)

Elementary School Principal, 59, Accused of Asking Teen Girls to Go Skinny-Dipping at His Home

A 59-year-old Arizona elementary school principal was arrested after allegedly posting online ads asking teen girls to go skinny-dipping with him

By Christine Pelisek

Photo: Pinal County Sheriff's Office

A 59-year-old Arizona elementary school principal was arrested on Tuesday after allegedly posting online ads asking teenage girls to go skinny-dipping with him at his house, PEOPLE confirms.

Karl Judd Waggoner is held on the suspicion of luring and aggravated luring of a minor. He remains in the Pinal County jail in Arizona in lieu of a $100,000 bond and is awaiting formal charges as the county attorney reviews the case, authorities say.

It was unclear Wednesday if he has retained an attorney.

Law enforcement began investigating Waggoner, a principal at Four Peaks Elementary School in Apache Junction, Arizona, after a detective with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office came across an online ad on Craigslist asking for teen girls to come out to a skinny-dipping party at Waggoner’s home in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona.

A sex crimes detective then posed as a 14-year-old girl in order to engage Waggoner, who allegedly had “sexually inappropriate conversations, discussed engaging in sexual acts with the undercover detective and provided sexually explicit photos,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb tells PEOPLE.

“Our detective found the ad last week,” Lamb explains, alleging, “All through this holiday weekend, he [Waggoner] was posting online and soliciting for young girls. We decided to move on it Tuesday morning and we picked him up near the school.”

Full story at People (March 2024)

MOE takes action following death of vocational college student

By Fahmy A Rosli

Muhd Nazmie Aizat Muhd Narul Azman (inset) was found by the on-duty warden yesterday. - Pic courtesy of police

KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Ministry will provide full cooperation regarding the case of a male student who died after allegedly being beaten by classmates at a vocational college in Lahad Datu, Sabah.

In a statement today, the ministry said it has taken action by providing welfare assistance to the victim's family.

It said the ministry had also offered psychosocial support to the families of the victims, students, teachers, and all of the college community.

"The Education Ministry expresses condolences and sympathy to the family of Muhd Nazmie Aizat Muhd Narul Azman, a vocational college student in Sabah who passed away on Friday.

"At the same time, the MOE calls on all parties to respect the privacy of the victims' families.

"The ministry does not tolerate bullying in any educational institution under its jurisdiction," it said.

Full story at New Straits Times (March 2024)

School with no pupils to close by end of month

By Thomas Barrett

The school has faced dwindling numbers in recent years and currently has no pupils

A tiny school in North Yorkshire will officially close for good at the end of March.

North Yorkshire Council's executive approved the decision to close Fountains Earth Church of England Primary School in Lofthouse in Upper Nidderdale.

The school has faced dwindling numbers in recent years and currently has no pupils.

The council's executive member for education Annabel Wilkinson said "no-one wants to close a small school" and it was a "very hard decision."

Fountains Earth is part of a federation of schools, but only 10 students were enrolled in 2022.

Back in 2017, when the school was rated good by Ofsted, there were 22 pupils.

Early last year, the school’s governing board approached the council to request consultation on a proposal to close it.

It came after chair of governors Abi Broadley said they had "exhausted all options" to save the school.

In the meeting of North Yorkshire Council's executive, councillor Greg White said for rural schools to remain open, residents needed to “breed and have children”.

Full story at BBC News (March 2024)

Leyton PE teacher who had sexual relationship with pupil banned from the classroom for life

She struck up a relationship with the girl, who was under 18, while working as a PE teacher

By Ellis Whitehouse

Erin Hebblewhite, who previously taught in Leyton, can never be a teacher again (Image: Met Police)

A PE teacher from a school on the Essex border who had a sexual relationship with a pupil has been banned from ever returning to the classroom after she was jailed for two years. Disgraced sports teacher Erin Hebblewhite, now 32, will never teach again after a teaching misconduct panel banned her from returning to the profession for life.

The verdict, which was handed down by a panel at the Teaching Regulation Agency earlier this month, follows Hebblewhite being jailed for two years and being given a ten-year restraining order after she admitted seven criminal charges involving her abusing her position to groom and sexually abuse a teenager. The offending took place while she was a teacher at Connaught School for Girls in Leyton.

The victim, under the age of 18, said this was the first time she had ever kissed anyone and also said she lost her virginity to Hebblewhite in a restaurant bathroom, The Mirror previously reported. All of the charges of sexual activity with the girl, including kissing on the premises of the school, took place in the same year Hebblewhite was put forward for a teacher of the year award.

Gossip had spread during the course of the relationship, and - believing the rumours to be untrue - the school even warned Hebblewhite to be "careful" otherwise she could "get into trouble". The offending came to light when the teen's phone was seized by her mother and a family member found explicit messages, despite pleas from Hebblewhite for the girl to delete them.

Now, following a misconduct hearing, which Hebblewhite did not attend, the tribunal panel found four allegations proved in Hebblewhite's case; two allegations of sexual activity with a child under 18, sexual activity in the presence of a child, and making an indecent photograph of a child.

In his conclusions, decision maker Marc Cavey said: "The panel finds that the conduct of Ms Hebblewhite fell significantly short of the standards expected of the profession. The findings of misconduct are particularly serious as they involve direct sexual activity with a child which included the making of indecent images and ultimately led to a sentence of imprisonment."

Full story at Essex Live (March 2024)