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California student wears KKK costume for school project

A California high school student who wrote about a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan for a history project sparked outrage when he came to school dressed in the conical hood, white fabric mask and flowing robes of the group, KABC reported.

>> Read more trending news

Photos of social media captured a high school freshman dressed in KKK garb at Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in Wilmington, California. Students at the school said the photos were taken June 8.

The school has a 96 percent minority enrollment, CNN reported.

The student’s history project was about Hiram Wesley Evans, a dentist who was the Klan’s leader from 1922 to 1939. While other students also dressed in costumes to depict historical figures, students at the school were taken aback by the KKK outfit, which they said was approved by the teacher.

"He wore it like throughout the school, like in nutrition, lunch, things like that. I don't think that's appropriate," Lance Dantignac told KABC.

"It made me feel like unsafe and threatened," Eliza Dumag told the television station.

Students said the history teacher approved all choices for history projects and costumes that are worn, but added that the approval of a KKK member was troubling.

"It kind of rattled me. It was hard to believe that she would allow a klansman to walk around from her approval,” Trinity Young told KABC. “So, we asked her, and she said that, she compared the Klan to the Black Panther Party, which in my opinion are two different things. So yeah, it was troubling."

In a statement, officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District apologized and did not approve of the costume.

"L.A. Unified and Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy understand the extreme sensitivity around this issue and do not condone or support this type of re-enactment," said district officials, who added that they have begun an investigation.

5th-grader makes heartbreaking speech to school board on bullying

On Thursday night, fifth-grader Delanie Marcotte smiled at her New Hampshire school board as she sat a table before them. 

Delanie unfolded a piece of paper and began to read her statement. 

Before the Timberlane Regional School Board Thursday night, Delanie tearfully asked what the members were doing to protect her from bullies. 

>> Read more trending news 

“I have been threatened to get shot in the head by an AK-47 and buried in my back yard,” Delanie said. “I have been asked by the mother of my bully during a school field trip why I tried to get her son in trouble.” 

After Delanie read her statement, she looked up at the school board, who thanked her for speaking.

One board member commented on her bravery, but offered no response. 

WFXT reached the superintendent’s office by phone, who said the superintendent had no comment. However, Dr. Earl F. Metzler later sent a statement to WFXT, saying, "Student voice is one of my goals posted on the web site for 17/18 and a powerful way for students to tell us what we need to hear." 

"We have a process defined by the law and SB policy to follow," the statement continued. "I am monitoring the process and will participate when appropriate." 

Delanie’s father, Todd Marcotte, posted video of the school board meeting to his Facebook page, which has drawn support from all over the country. 

Here is Delanie’s full statement:

“I’m here to talk about a problem that means a lot to me – bullying. Bullying is a problem in our school. I am a victim of it. My parents have contacted the school about it, but it continues. It happened to me and my classmates. I have been asked by the mother of my bully during a school field trip why I tried to get her son in trouble. I have been threatened to get shot in the head by an AK-47 and buried in my back yard and many other things. I ask you what are you going to do to protect me and my classmates against bullying. I am here to stand up for every kid that gets bullied.”

The full meeting can be watched below. Delanie’s statement begins at 3:30. 

Texas teen who was paralyzed walks at graduation ceremony

A Texas teen who was paralyzed last summer vowed she would walk for her graduation. Thursday night, she made good on her promise.

>> Read more trending news

Morgan Coultress graduated from Health Careers High School in San Antonio and got a standing ovation from the crowd and her fellow students, KSAT reported.

Coultress underwent thyroid surgery for a genetic disease, but complications caused her to lose her ability to walk, the television station reported.

After beginning therapy, she was able to walk without crutches. Her next goal is to compete in cross country events again, KSAT reported.

A month ago, Coultress was featured in a viral video when she walked to surprise her prom date.

>> Watch: Texas teen walks for first time in months, stuns prom date

Tarik Garcia, her friend and prom date last month, said Coultress’ positive attitude has helped her.

“She's always been a super positive person. She's one of the best people I know. She has not a single bad bone in her body,” Garcia told KSAT. “After seeing her struggle through so much and finally being able to do what we talked about so many months ago.”

Photographer accused of scamming a dozen brides also ripped off school, woman claims

Less than 24 hours after a dozen brides came forward and said they had lost thousands of dollars to Alphonso Morris, with A&T Enterprise, for wedding photography they never got, the founder of Academy of Scholars, a private school in Arlington, Florida, claimed Morris also ripped her off.

>> Watch the news report here

“At this time, it needs to be stopped. There’s too many people that trust him,” Shevonica Howell said.

>> Read more trending news 

Howell said she hired Morris in 2016 to be the band director at her school.

“I did see some red flags, I’ll be honest, on the background check, but things happen,” Howell said.

But she said that after he didn’t show up to work for 19 of the 44 instructional days, he was fired.

“He probably had about 10 kids based on how many times there was a birth or a death. I just couldn’t understand that,” Howell said.

When he left, she said, he took all the band equipment that was donated to the school.

She said she then found out he created a GoFundMe account with the school’s logo asking for donations.

“To scam the community, kids that look up to him – I don’t understand that,” Howell said.

Howell said she went to police and never heard from Morris again.

The Better Business Bureau has created a file on Morris’ businesses to help warn others.

“To hear that there were dozens of people scammed by this company and we weren’t reflecting that was disheartening,” said Shannon Nelson with the Better Business Bureau.

ActionNewsJax also found Morris was connected to another business called Snap It Photography.

A lawsuit was filed that claims Morris didn’t show up to photograph an event and it states, “This young man turned out to be a con artist."

The BBB wants people to contact the agency with complaints against Morris.

ActionNewsJax tried to contact Morris again but couldn’t get in touch with him.

Woman graduates from Naval Academy 5 years after struggling to get ex-NFL player dad's signature

Florida's military community has a new addition: Ashanti Curry of Jacksonville graduated last week from the United States Naval Academy.

>> Watch the news report here

ActionNewsJax first introduced you to Curry when she was 17 years old and her dream of attending the Naval Academy almost didn't happen.

>> On ActionNewsJax helps Naval Academy hopeful get dad's signature for admission

Her smile says it all. It’s even more of an accomplishment when you consider what it took to get her here.

In 2013, the honor student faced losing her academy acceptance because it required both parents’ signatures.

Her father, former Jacksonville Jaguars player Eric Curry, was never in her life and had an arrest warrant out for unpaid child support. Her attempts to get him to sign all failed.

>> Read more trending news 

“This man has never made one decision in my life, but the most important decision that needs to be made he has that in his hands. I was very upset,” Curry said at the time.

It took phone calls to Eric Curry, his attorney, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s office and eventually a temporary stay of his arrest warrant.

But finally, Curry got the signature she needed.

Now, five years later, she's graduated from the Naval Academy. Her first salute was to her stepfather, a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Curry is now writing the next chapter to her story, a story of service that Jacksonville and our country can be proud of.

Curry's mother contacted ActionNewsJax’s Paige Kelton on Facebook this weekend with pictures and two words that were a reminder of the power one person’s story can have. The picture was of Curry’s graduation, the words – “thank you.”

Woman who went into labor during Harvard Law School final graduates

Nothing was going to stop Briana Williams from achieving her dream, not even going into labor during a final exam. 

All the hard work finally paid off for the single mother, originally from Atlanta, as she walked across the stage recently to receive her degree from Harvard Law.

Williams finished her final exam while in labor last year. This year, she carried her baby girl, who wore a cap and gown that matched her mother’s, USAToday reported.

She posted to Instagram about how difficult the past year had been, trying to finish law school while raising a newborn.

>> Read more trending news 

Williams said she had dreams of becoming a lawyer and her first choice for the degree was Harvard Law. But the hard work of getting a degree at the prestigious school was made more difficult trying to balance school, work and her baby. 

“I didn’t tell anyone that I had a baby,” Williams told USAToday. “I never missed any activity because I didn’t want anyone to think that me having a baby was holding me back.”

Three and a half weeks after she had Evelyn, Williams started a summer job. She would use what time she could, like lunch breaks, for Evelyn’s checkups.

Williams is moving to the West Coast to follow her career. She was offered a job in the litigation department in a Los Angeles law firm, USAToday reported.

And to those who find themselves in a similar situation of caring for a child while still trying to achieve their dreams, Williams says: “Try as hard as you can to do what you have to do ... Eventually you’re going to receive the glory from that. And not only that, your child is going to be even more appreciative of you and the sacrifices you made.”

Ex-resource officer at Parkland school reflects on lack of response: 'I have to live with that'

The former school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who did not enter the building where a mass shooter killed 14 students and three adults at the South Florida school on Feb. 14, expressed regret in his first public interview that he did not intervene.

>> Read more trending news

“Knowing what I know today, I would have been in that building in a heartbeat,” Scot Peterson told NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie on Today, in an interview that will air Tuesday and Wednesday on the morning program.

The interview will be aired two  days after graduation ceremonies were held at Stoneman Douglas. Four of the students killed were seniors.

Guthrie asked Peterson if he could acknowledge that “You missed it,” referring to his response when Nikolas Cruz entered the building in the South Florida high school and opened fire.

“I have to,” Peterson said. “I have to live with that. You know, how could I not?

“I mean, I'm human … in the perfect world, oh, I would have said, ‘Oh, yeah, I know there was a shooter in there. Let me go to the third floor. Find this person.’”

>> Jimmy Fallon surprises Parkland students at graduation 

Peterson, 54, began working at the Parkland high school in 2010. He spent nearly three decades with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

After the incident, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel criticized Peterson’s lack of action and suspended the deputy without pay. Peterson then decided to retire.

His actions were criticized by students and parents, and President Donald Trump called Peterson “a coward.” 

The father of Meadow Pollack, who was killed in the Valentine’s Day shooting, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Broward County that included Peterson as a defendant.

Man armed with sword robs Pittsburgh bar

A man armed with a sword robbed a bar early Monday morning in a Pittsburgh neighborhood, police said.

>> Read more trending news

The robbery was reported shortly before 2 a.m. at Brook-line N Sinker in the Brookline neighborhood.

Police said the sword-wielding man robbed the business before running away.

No injuries were reported.

Police have yet to identify a suspect.

Massachusetts graduate gets diploma, is surprised by father's return from overseas

Massachusetts high school graduate got quite a surprise when he received his diploma on Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

In a video posted by Marshfield Student Broadcasting, Marshfield High School senior Tyler Solomon was reunited with his father after receiving his diploma Saturday afternoon.

Solomon's father made the surprise return trip from a yearlong deployment overseas, and surprised his son on the football field where graduation was held.

Kindergarten class starts each day with handshake

If only our country worked like this kindergarten class. Ashley Taylor’s class starts their learning day the same way every day.

Taylor picks one of her students at Keene Elementary School in Texas to give a handshake to each and every classmate as they enter the room, CBS News reported.

She says the daily greeting could help her students’ development.

>> Read more trending news 

Taylor posted one of the daily hellos to her Facebook page where it has gone viral. She added the caption, “When I see the direction the world is heading, it reminds me what I am doing WILL make a difference.”

While the daily hello could be considered a bright spot, she said there’s meaning behind it, that it teaches her students good manners and that “someone is on their side,” Taylor told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“The school shootings have been a real eye opener,” She told the newspaper. “Maybe if some of those kids had felt like someone was on their side, things would have happened differently. I understand there are lots of factors that play into those situations. But what if, you know?”

“Sadly, lots of kids (of all ages) come to school looking for the positive interaction that they may not have experienced at home. Life can be hard for kids but it shouldn’t be at school,” Taylor told The Star-Telegram.


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