Florida lawmakers have given every resident the right to formally challenge the use of specific books in the state's public schools. The new law compels administrators to hold a public forum on any book that any challenger claims is "not suited to student needs." Critics say this vague standard could be used to intimidate teachers and to ban classic novels and textbooks about climate change, evolution, and history.
An Ohio city councilman is looking to impose a "three strikes" limit on saving opioid addicts from overdoses, to lower costs. Middletown councilman Dan Picard proposed that first responders not dispense the lifesaving drug Narcan to addicts if they overdose more than twice. "This is just costing us too much money," Picard said.
A Pennsylvania high school valedictorian had his microphone cut off in the middle of his speech when he began criticizing the school's "authoritative nature." Peter Butera received a standing ovation from fellow students when the principal ordered him off the stage for saying that administrators suppressed student expression. "Cutting the microphone," Butera said, "proved my point to be true."
A Pennsylvania radio host resigned after his bosses ordered him to stop criticizing President Trump. WTPA's Bruce Bond said his general manager told him "it is not permissible on WTPA airwaves to talk disrespectfully of the president," and that angry listeners had threatened "advertiser boycotts." Bond chose to quit, saying he couldn't "walk on eggshells" every time politics or Trump came up.
A New Jersey high school edited out several pro-Trump messages from the student yearbook. Wall Township High School junior Grant Berardo wore a "Make America Great Again" shirt for his class photo, but was depicted wearing a blank T-shirt. His was one of at least three profiles to be edited. School district officials said they were investigating a "possible violation of First Amendment rights."
A Chicago artist is being called "a disgrace" for depicting God as a black woman. Harmonia Rosales' Creation of God shows a white-haired black woman reaching down from the clouds to touch the hand of a younger black woman — a variation on Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. On Twitter, critics objected to the race of the deity, calling Rosales' work blasphemous and "disgusting."
Saturday night marked the inaugural Taco Trucks at Every Mosque event, uniting Southern California's Muslim and Latino communities at the new Islamic Center of Santa Ana. The idea — the brainchild of Orange County activists Rida Hamida and Ben Vazquez — is partially a response to the election of President Trump, which has left both America's Muslim and Latino communities feeling besieged, and the name is a play on the campaign promise/threat from a Trump organizer, Marcos Gutierrez, that if Trump didn't win, "you're going to have taco trucks on every corner." But it's more than that, also, reports Anh Do at the Los Angeles Times.
Serving halal tacos to Muslims and Latinos after daily fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is a way to build bridges between the two growing communities. "The purpose of this month is to give charity, to grow our character, and our inner lives and to nourish our soul through service," says Hamida. "What better way to do that than by learning from one another?" Vazquez, a local history teacher, adds: "We have a saying — la cultura cura — the culture cures. There's nothing better than two sides coming together to cure evil thoughts about each other."
About 400 people attended the first Taco Trucks at Every Mosque event. The group Resilience OC, which helped coordinate the meet-and-greet, says more are planned in Anaheim, Irvine, Mission Viejo, and other Southern California locales. Read more at the Los Angeles Times. Peter Weber
A police officer in Florida demanded to know if an injured cyclist was an illegal immigrant before offering assistance. "You illegal? Speak English? Got ID?" the Monroe County sheriff asked Marcos Huete as he was lying next to his bicycle after being hit by a pickup truck. Huete, who is from Honduras, was issued a $75 fine for causing the accident, hospitalized, and later detained by border officials.