Do yourself a favor and take a few minutes out of your busy schedule being an adult to watch the infectious enthusiasm of Kevin Rodriguez.
And why’s Kevin so excited? He’s starting the fourth grade! With all the responsibilities of adulthood, it’s easy to forget that there was a time when something so simple could bring us so much joy. Kevin talks about the fourth grade with the same kind of excitement adults use when talking about happy hour.
Throughout the short and sweet interview with Austin’s FOX 7, Kevin’s precociousness shines as he talks about all the important issues affecting his world: learning more, summer vacation, and the independence that comes with getting older.
“My mom thinks I’m a baby so I can’t walk to school sometimes and also she thinks I need protective gear when I need to ride a bike. I know how to ride a bike already even without protective gear!” Kevin told FOX 7.
At a young age, Black women are often given the instruction to not allow “anyone to touch your hair” by their mothers or fathers. The direction is often given as a sort of shield. Don’t let anyone touch your hair can mean ‘don’t let anyone ruin the hard work I put into it’ but more underlining is the notion to not allow anyone to make you feel “other” because your hair is different from their own.
A father from Michigan has a new reason for delivering this message to his 7-year-old daughter.
On March 24, Jimmy Hoffmeyer’s daughter Jurnee came home from her school, Ganiard Elementary, with the right side of her hair sheered off by a classmate. According to USA Today, Jurnee’s schoolmate cut off two to three inches of Jurnee’s hair. That same day, Hoffmeyer brought Jurnee to a local hair salon to fix her hair. The stylist cut Jurnee’s hair in an asymmetrical cut and also provided the little girl with free haircuts until her hair finally grew back in length.
All seemed to have been fixed.
Then, two days later, Jurnee returned home from school with her hair cut on the other side.
Jurnee told her father that the school’s library employee cut off the other side. In an attempt to get answers, Hoffmeyer attempted to contact his daughter’s school over the phone. After several calls and no answers, he contacted the police.
According to USA Today, the Mount Pleasant Police Department told the oultet that Hoffmeyer contacted them but never filed a police report.
Hoffmeyer went onto tell USA Today that an assistant at Jurnee’s school apologized to him for the incident before explaining that the school’s principal would not be able to speak with him until after spring break because he was out of the office. “On April 5, he said he received a call from the principal and was told the librarian would receive marks on her report but did not have the authority to do anything further,” reports USA Today. “Hoffmeyer said he received a call 45 minutes later from the district’s superintendent, Jennifer Verleger, who offered to send Jurnee an apology card in the mail.”
In response to the offer, Hoffmeyer said “An apology card to a 7-year-old who is humiliated and has to be around her classmates like this?”
The Mount Pleasant School District released a statement to parents that claimed “a student asked for her hair to be cut both times, first by a classmate and later by a library employee.”
The released letter was signed by Verlege and stated that Jurnee’s teacher knew that the library employee planned to cut her hair.
Both Jurnee’s teacher and the school librarian apologized for their actions.
Hoffmeyer, who is biracial told USA Today that “his classmate who cut his daughter’s hair and the librarian were both white, but he is trying hard not to make this situation about race. Jurnee’s mother is white.”
“It’s hard to come to any decision when you don’t have answers to why it was done,” Hoffmeyer told the outlet before revealing that he unenrolled Jurnee from her elementary school and she is now attending Vowles Elementary School.
Like students around the world, kids in Mexico have been forced to take school online or tune into programming on public TV in order to learn. But that’s just the kids who are lucky enough to have access to Internet or a TV. Many students live in rural areas and lack the adequate resources to continue their studies amid the global pandemic.
But thankfully, there are many good samaritans out there (aka compassionate teachers) who have invented their own ways to bring the classroom to kids wherever they are.
A Mexican teacher was gifted a decked out pickup truck by Nissan.
Since schools were forced to close last year in April, Aguascalientes special education teacher Nallely Esparza Flores, has been driving four hours a day to educate students one-on-one at their homes from her truck bed, outfitted with a small table and chairs.
News of her project spread across social media, eventually reaching the corporate offices of Nissan México. This week, the company surprised Esparza with the gift of a new pickup truck specially outfitted with a small open-air mobile classroom built into the truck’s bed.
“Today I feel like my labors and the help that we give each day to children and their families is unstoppable,” she said on Twitter Wednesday, sharing photos of her new vehicle. “My students no longer have to take classes in the full heat of the sun,” she said.
Nissan representatives said they decided to give Esparza the adapted NP300 model, 4-cylinder truck after hearing her story because she was “an example of perseverance and empathy.”
“When we learned about the incredible work of this teacher, we got together to discuss in what way we could contribute to this noble work,” said Armando Ávila, a vice president of manufacturing.
The mobile classroom is pretty legit and will allow Esparza to continue her good deed.
The decked out Nissan pickup truck has three walls (the other is a retractable sheeting) and a ceiling made with translucent panels to protect teacher and student from the elements while letting in natural light.
It also has retractable steps for easy access to the classroom, electrical connections, a whiteboard and an easily disinfected acrylic table and benches that are foldable into the wall to provide space. The table also has a built-in plexiglass barrier to allow social distancing.
Access to education in Mexico is highly inequitable.
Esparza, like many teachers across the country, found that not all distance learning was equal. Many of her students in Cavillo were from poor families without internet access. So she used social media networks to keep in touch with such students via cell phones, but even that was not necessarily an available option for all — and not ideal. Finally, she decided to solve the problem by hitting the road in her pickup truck.
According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), only 58% of students in Mexico had a home computer – the lowest percentage among all OECD countries. And only about one third (32%) of the school computers in rural schools in Mexico were connected to the Internet, compared to more than 90% for schools located in urban areas.