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Posted: Dec 31, 2003 18:53

JANUARY 2004

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NYC SHED STUDENTS TO CUT FAILURE RATE
(July 31, 2003) The New York Times, www.nytimes.com, reported concerns that “Growing numbers of students – most of them struggling academically – are being pushed out of New York City’s school system and classified under bureaucratic categories that hide their failure to graduate.” The official dropout rate is put at about 20%, but estimates are that the percentage is closer to 25 to 30 percent. According to the story, that compared to a graduation number of 34,000, while in 2000/01, there were 55,000 students discharged.

STUDY FINDS SWEATING MIGHT BE GOOD FOR MIND
(August 18, 2003) The United Press International, www.upi.com, reported a study presented by Stephen Comant, a doctoral candidate at the Oklahoma State University at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association that suggested the 24 participants who “underwent sweat therapy reported more relaxation, stress relief and a feeling of accomplishment from sweating it out…[and] the sweating group found the counseling more beneficial than those who just received counseling. The sweaters also characterized their group interactions better than the counseling-only group.”

AUTISTIC BOY’S DEATH AT CHURCH RULED HOMICIDE
(August 26, 2003) CNN, at edition.cnn.com reported a pastor was arrested after an eight-year-old autistic boy suffocated and died during a prayer service. His mother, the pastor and other church members restrained the boys hands and feet as they tried to heal him of “spirits.” A neighbor said the child’s mother was as an over zealous church convert who once said that the evil spirit had spoken through her son at church. The death was ruled a homicide.

SHOOTING SENDS SCHOOL DISTRICT INTO LOCK DOWN
(September 4, 2003) Keys to Safer Schools, www.keystosaferschools.com reported the Adams County School District, near Denver, Colorado went into a level two lock down after a shooting killed one student and wounded another in a park across from Adams City High School. In August, another Adams high school student was sentenced to two years in the Colorado Division of Youth Services after pleading guilty to shooting five times at a classmate during a dispute in February.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS FOR DEPRESSION
(October 2003) Psychiatry Drug Alerts, www.alertpubs.com, reports in a preliminary study the addition of omega-3 fatty acids improved antidepressant response in a small group of patients. It was published in European Neuropsychopharmacology 2003;13 (August):267-271, and was funded by the National Science Council and China Chemical and Pharmaceutical Company.

WHY GOOD GIRLS LIKE BAD BOYS
(October 28, 2003) The NewsReleaseWire, www.expertclick.com the initial attraction to a bad boy may be his (pseudo) confidence, energy and spontaneity, which reported allows the woman to experience a freedom she’s never known before. It can also inspire a woman's desire to be less inhibited. The unspoken hope is that he is not really bad but that he is strong. The problem is that bad boys may have a greater potential to treat others badly. If he is angry, has no conscience, is a substance abuser or doesn’t have the ability to be truly intimate, the woman will eventually be hurt and/or abandoned.

NO RIGHT ANSWERS FOR TEENS AND ANTIDEPRESSANTS
(November 9, 2003) The Washington Post, www.washingtonpost.com, reported on the ambiguity of a connection between antidepressants and teen suicides. In the Oct. 27 “FDA Talk Paper,” the FDA acknowledged there was no data to date, to suggest a relationship between antidepressants and increased suicidal thoughts or actions, but also cautioned it was not possible to rule out an increased risk of these adverse events for any of these drugs. Also reported the same day was “FDA Cautions on Antidepressants and Youth; Doctors Warned About Potentially Higher Suicide Risk for Those Under 18 on the Drugs.” “As we recognize this is a serious illness, we need a better understanding of how to use the products we have.”

$38 MILLION AWARD UPHELD IN TEEN'S BOOT CAMP DEATH
(December 03, 2003) The Star-Telegram carried the story, “$38 million award upheld in teen's boot camp death." It describes a Tarrant County jury award to the parents of Bryan Alexander, 18, who died at a boot camp while serving a six-month sentence for a drunken driving arrest.

STUDENT SELF-HARM: A SILENT SCHOOL CRISIS
(December 3, 2003) Education Week, (December 3, 2003) www.edweek.org, reports “Young people who intentionally harm themselves, typically by cutting open their skin, are physically acting out extreme emotional distress. Experts say the behavior is becoming more prevalent among teenagers, forcing administrators, teachers, and other school staff members to confront the disturbing issue.” Clinical Psychologist Tracy Alderman says “The stereotypical self-injurer is bright, sensitive, helpful to other people, the caretakers of their friends and family, good listeners, above-average students, and invisible.”

DOES KINDERGARTEN NEED COPS?
(December 7, 2003) Time Online, www.time.com, reported on the increasing numbers of kindergarten and first grade students exhibiting aggressive behavior. In a survey done by Partnership for Children, a child advocacy group in Tarrant County Texas, the preliminary finding showed that 93% of the 39 schools surveyed said kindergarteners have “more emotional and behavioral problems” than were seen five years ago. (Pay subscription required.)

RELATIVES BURY GIRL WHO DIED AT BOARDING SCHOOL
(December 11, 2003) KATU News, www.katu.com carried the story, “Relatives bury girl who died at boarding school,” which described the death of Cindy Gilbert Sohappy. The 16-year-old-girl died at Chemawa Indian School near Salem, Oregon, after she had been drinking and was placed in a holding cell at Chemawa, one of five off-reservation boarding schools operated by the Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs. They are awaiting results of toxicology tests to determine cause of death.

FAMILIES ALLEGE ABUSE AT EDWIN GOULD ACADEMY
(December 12, 2003) The online service www.JournalNews.com, in White Plains New York, reported “Six former and current students of Edwin Gould Academy in Spring Valley are suing the school, charging that staff punched, choked and slammed them against walls, smoked dope in their presence and came to work drunk.” The school is “publicly funded as a special school district of New York state… for troubled, abandoned and abused children in Spring Valley.” The School Principal said “he could not comment on the suit as neither he nor the school had been served any papers. He said any complaints against staff were turned over to state investigators as part of regular school policy.”

IF THE RATINGS ARE SO GOOD, WHY ARE KIDS' VIDEO GAMES SO BAD?
(Dec 12, 2003) Shum Preston, of www.commonsensemedia.org, a media watch newsletter, reported two studies that say the ratings systems are working, yet they are not stopping kids from playing M-rated extremely violent and highly sexualized games. 87% of kids play video games regularly and their average age is 13-1/2 years old. 96% of all boys play video games with a hearty 78% of girls playing as well. 87% of boys play M-rated games, as do 46% of girls. 77% of boys own M-rated games, and only one in five kids reported their parents had stopped them from purchasing a game because of its rating. The rating system “lets kids play games that feature ritual slayings and sex with prostitutes without actually informing their parents (or the kids) of the actual content…it simultaneously lulls the parents and exposes kids to super-violent, highly sexualized content at thirteen years of age.”

STUDENT ‘SEX BRACELETS’ AN URBAN LEGEND?
(December 12, 2003) CNN, at www.cnn.com, reported “jelly bracelets” are making a comeback with teens and some grade-school kids, but with a twist. In some parts of the U.S., they’re calling them “sex bracelets” - with various colors supposedly representing promises to perform sex acts in a game called “Snap.” But a website dedicated to exposing urban legends, www.Snopes.com, deemed the validity of sex bracelets “undetermined.” “Every now and then, I get a note from kids saying it is true,” said Barbara Mikkelson, co-founder of Snopes.com. “But I also get a lot from kids who are outraged that adults think they would do this. To them, [the bracelets] are just a fashion statement.”

BRITISH IGNITE DEBATE IN U.S. ON DRUGS & SUICIDE
(December 16, 2003) New York Times, www.nytimes.com, reports British regulators, after “reviewing 11 studies of the drugs in treating depressed children and adolescents,” concluded that “for most of the medications, the potential for harmful side effects - including suicidal thoughts and behavior, as well as hostility - was greater than the evidence for their effectiveness.” Doctors should not prescribe the medications except in certain circumstances, the regulators said. Some experts said the British regulators did not give proper weight to the high frequency of suicidal thoughts and attempts among depressed adolescents in general. A study in 2000 by Norwegian researchers of nearly 10,000 children ages 12 to 20 found 30%t of those who met criteria for a diagnosis of depression at the beginning of the study had made a suicide attempt two years later. Some anecdotal evidence suggests that suicidal or aggressive behavior, if it is tied to the drugs, occurs within the first weeks after the drug treatment is started. It was also suggested that “some incidents may occur in children who are taking their medication irregularly or who have just stopped the drug.

FEDS ALLEGE YOUTH CAMPS ABUSE
(December 18, 2003) CBSNEWS.COM, www.cbsnews.com, reported the US Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit Thursday against the state of Mississippi, alleging abuse of juvenile offenders at two state-run facilities. This resulted from a year long investigation of the Oakley Training School in Raymond and the Columbia Training School in Columbia.




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