School district fires firm after student is pepper sprayed

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) -- A school district in South Carolina has fired a private security firm after an officer twice pepper sprayed a high school student. Orangeburg 5 spokesman Bill Clark said Friday the district ended its contract with DTH Protective Services. He says officers employed in schools are supposed to de-escalate situations, not cause disruptions.

Principal says she regrets decision about 'smash space'

KENSINGTON, Md. (AP) -- An elementary school principal in Washington, D.C.'s suburbs is rethinking her idea to set up a "smash space" designed to let teachers hack away at a chair to relieve tension. Kensington Parkwood Elementary School Principal Barbara Liess said in a letter sent home to parents Wednesday that she regrets her decision.

Police search for teacher charged with child sex abuse

LEXINGTON, S.C. (AP) -- Police are seeking an elementary school teacher who has been charged with sexually assaulting a student. The State reports ( 40-year-old Hianlucas Isturiz Rodriguez was a Spanish teacher for kindergarten students at Red Bank Elementary School. The Lexington County Sheriff's Office said in a release Thursday that Rodriguez is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual conduct with a child at the school.

Officials look into South Carolina high school student death

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A South Carolina high school student collapsed and died in a classroom, and authorities are trying to determine why it happened. Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said 16-year-old Davis Allen Cripe of Chapin died at a hospital after he collapsed at Spring Hill High School on Wednesday. Watts said an autopsy conducted Thursday did not reveal the cause of death, which means more tests will be conducted.

N Carolina class-size decrease fix now state law

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Easing class-size mandates in North Carolina's early grades next fall by phasing them in instead over two years is now the law. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper signed Thursday the compromise legislation from Republicans an hour after it received final General Assembly approval by the House.

Study: DC voucher program shows poorer math results

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Students attending private schools in the nation's capital through a federally funded voucher program are doing worse in math compared to their peers, according to a government study released Thursday. The findings added fuel to one of the most heated debates in the education community: whether taxpayer money should be used to pay for private schools. Critics jumped on the study to reiterate that vouchers don't work.

Lawmakers would let NC towns create separate charter school

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- North Carolina legislators want to allow two suburban Charlotte towns to create their own charter schools for residents separate from one of the country's largest public school districts. The House on Thursday voted to authorize the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill to open charter schools that give students living in those towns priority enrollment. Current law allows any student admission to charters, but lotteries are held when demand exceeds space.

Sickly snake slithers into elementary school classroom

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) -- A sickly snake that slithered into a classroom at a New Jersey elementary school has been turned over to a rescue center. Third-graders at Riverside Elementary School in Princeton found the 4-foot-long (1.22 meter) boa constrictor on Tuesday. Principal Valerie Ulrich tells ( ) the snake was in poor health and lucky to be alive.

Trump: Nothing more important than being a teacher

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump has recognized the National Teacher of the Year, and says nothing is more important than being a teacher. Sydney Chaffee, a humanities teacher at Codman Academy, a public charter school in Boston, holds the honor for 2017. Trump says it's "really something special" that the winner is from a charter school. Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated, and Trump supports creating more of them.

The Latest: North Carolina governor warns of flooding risks

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Latest on flooding in North Carolina (all times local): 6:20 p.m. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is telling residents not to drop their guard over flooding despite the first sunny skies in several days. Cooper issued a statement on Wednesday saying forecasters are still predicting some rivers could crest as late as Monday and that people need to remain alert for more flooding.

The Latest: San Diego school official sees Muslim bullying

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The Latest on a campaign against Islamophobia in San Diego public schools (all times local): 7:30 p.m. A board member of San Diego public schools says bullying of Muslim students across the country is pervasive and underreported. Kevin Beiser says the San Diego Unified School District's effort to fight Islamophobia and promote understanding of Muslim culture is modeled on an earlier campaign he advanced to protect LGBT students.

San Diego schools defend effort to fight Islamophobia

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- One of the nation's largest school districts is defending its campaign to fight Islamophobia and promote understanding of Muslim culture against critics who say it is favoring a religion. Kevin Beiser, vice president of the San Diego Unified School District board, said Tuesday that the effort is modeled on a plan he advanced several years ago to protect LGBT students. He said bullying of Muslim students is pervasive and vastly underreported.

North Carolina class-size proposal phases in lower caps

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- Republicans late Monday unveiled compromise legislation to prevent North Carolina school districts from potentially having to cut supplemental programs or that could cause crowding in other classrooms next fall. The measure is intended to meet more slowly a mandate to reduce average class sizes in early grades.

Massachusetts charter school teacher is Teacher of the Year

BOSTON (AP) -- A Massachusetts high school teacher who was chosen National Teacher of the Year on Thursday is believed to be the first from a charter school to win the award. Sydney Chaffee, who teaches at the Codman Academy Charter Public School in Boston, was selected for the honor by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Education secy, teachers union chief meet on school tour

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the head of a national teachers union sought to find common ground as they toured public schools in Ohio, but differences remained. The school visit came just months after American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten fiercely opposed the nomination of DeVos, a longtime advocate of charter and private schools. In the past Weingarten has accused DeVos of feeling "antipathy for public schools.

South Carolina editorial roundup

Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers: ___ April 18 The Aiken Standard on BLRA reform: Last week's briefing about how the recent Westinghouse bankruptcy will impact construction of two nuclear reactors -- and ultimately the ratepayers of South Carolina -- raised more questions than it answered. We still don't know whether Westinghouse will remain for the long haul at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Facility. We don't know if the project will be completed.

Playground case touches on separation of church and state

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court signaled Wednesday that it will decide an important case on the separation of church and state in favor of a Missouri church that wants state money to put a soft surface on its preschool playground. The case is being closely watched by proponents of school vouchers, who hope a broad ruling would remove obstacles to voucher programs in some states.

US students satisfied with life, but some foreigners happier

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The good news: American high school students are generally satisfied with their lives. But many of their peers in other countries are happier. Asked to rank their life satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 10, American 15-year-olds gave an average mark of 7.4, according to a study conducted by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which was released Wednesday. American students scored close to the average of 7.