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The Skanner Black History Month
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Oregon Denies Permit for Pipeline Before Federal Decision

Oregon's Department of Land Conservation and Development says a proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay would have significant adverse effects on the state's coastal scenic and aesthetic resources, endangered species and critical habitat

Rep. Blumenauer Joined by Sens. Markey, Sanders, and Warren to Introduce Bill to Hold Big Oil Companies Accountable

"Amidst the growing climate emergency, closing this loophole is a small step we must take to hold Big Oil accountable and to protect our communities," said Blumenauer. 

Trump Appointees Weigh Plan to Build Pipeline in Oregon

If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the project, which lacks state permits, it would likely set up a court battle over state's rights

Oregon Lawmakers Ask U.S. Attorney to Investigate Whether Local Police Violated Black Man’s Civil Rights

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said this racial targeting of Michael Fesser "reflects the worst abuses of African-Americans in our nation’s modern history"

NEWS BRIEFS

OneUnited Bank Launches New Limited-Edition Harriet Tubman Card

OneUnited Bank, the largest Black-owned bank in America, introduces the new limited-edition Harriet Tubman Card in celebration of...

Oregon House Votes to End Driver’s License Suspensions for Failure to Pay Fines

Bipartisan Vote Underscores Consensus for Reforms, Makes Way for Senate Action ...

Black History Month 2020: “African Americans and the Vote”

In our celebration of Black History Month 2020, the DPO Black Caucus looks forward to the screening of the award-winning documentary,...

Battle Ground High School Senior Wins Regional Poetry Out Loud Competition, Advances to State

Judges evaluated student performances on criteria including voice and articulation, evidence of understanding, and accuracy ...

DOJ to Investigate Wrongful Arrest of Black Man in Oregon

The decision comes a week after U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer urged a federal probe into...

Man pleads guilty to helping suspect in deputy shooting

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) — A Kalama man pleaded guilty this week to assisting the escape of the man who killed Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier in April. The Daily News reports Matthew Veatch, 26, pleaded guilty in Cowlitz Superior Court to rendering criminal assistance,...

Person in custody after gun incident near courthouse

OREGON CITY, Ore. (AP) — A man is in custody Thursday after police say he was waving a gun and threatening bystanders near Clackamas County’s courthouse.Oregon City police said there was a report of a person “menacing with a gun” at the courthouse, which is located on...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Democrats try to blunt strong California showing for Sanders

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California is the largest prize in the calculations of any Democratic presidential candidate, but it rarely seems that way.But no one is underselling California this time. Bernie Sanders has been working the state for months, organizing intensively among Latinos and...

Tech boom, suburban growth drive Nevada's Democratic shift

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Twenty years ago, long before Nevada was part of the early presidential selection process, the phone typically rang unanswered at Washoe County Democratic Party headquarters in Reno during mid-term elections."We had a small conference room and a tiny reception area, but no...

Woman pleads guilty to crash that killed white supremacist

NEWPORT, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky woman pleaded guilty on Thursday to manslaughter in a car crash that killed a white supremacist leader.Emily Sherry, 24, entered her plea in the April 2018 death of Robert Ransdell, 37. Sherry was driving under the influence on Interstate 275 when she veered...

ENTERTAINMENT

Success of 'To All the Boys' puts stars on Hollywood's radar

NEW YORK (AP) — The 2018 release of the Netflix teen rom-com "To All the Boys I've Loved Before," changed the lives of its stars, Lana Condor and Noah Centineo, by putting them on Hollywood’s radar."People are taking me more seriously," said Condor, a 22-year-old Vietnamese American....

No conspiracy this time: Dan Brown writing children's book

NEW YORK (AP) — Dan Brown's next book will have a lighter, more musical touch. The “Da Vinci Code” author is working on a picture story, “Wild Symphony," scheduled to be published Sept. 1. Rodale Kids, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, announced the...

Review: A CGI canine yearns to be free in 'Call of the Wild'

Does the dog movie have any new tricks? Do we want it to?For the most part, we want our dog movies like our pooches: comforting, obedient and slightly slobbery. “The Call of the Wild,” the latest adaptation of Jack London’s 1903 novel, is all those things but adds a new twist....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

TV analyst? Spokesman? Freed ex-governor goes job hunting

CHICAGO (AP) — Job wanted: Ex-governor and ex-con with strong speaking skills and good hair seeking...

Wrestler adds to abuse allegations against university doctor

ANN ARBOR, Michigan (AP) — An Olympic wrestler on Thursday accused a University of Michigan doctor of...

German gunman calling for genocide kills 9 people

HANAU, Germany (AP) — A German who shot and killed nine people of foreign background in a rampage that...

Amid protests, Portugal lawmakers vote to allow euthanasia

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal’s parliament voted Thursday in favor of allowing euthanasia and...

South Sudan rival leaders agree to form coalition government

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — South Sudan’s rival leaders on Thursday announced they have agreed to form...

Turkish soldiers killed in Syria amid threats of escalation

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Two Turkish soldiers were killed Thursday in an airstrike in northwestern Syria,...

McMenamins
Geoff Mulvihill the Associated Press

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) -- Teachers hurled insults like "bastard," "tard," "damn dumb" and "a hippo in a ballerina suit." A bus driver threatened to slap one child, while a bus monitor told another, "Shut up, you little dog."

They were all special needs students, and their parents all learned about the verbal abuse the same way - by planting audio recorders on them before sending them off to school.

In cases around the country, suspicious parents have been taking advantage of convenient, inexpensive technology to tell them what children, because of their disabilities, are not able to express on their own. It's a practice that can help expose abuses, but it comes with some dangers.

This week, a father in Cherry Hill, N.J., posted on YouTube clips of secretly recorded audio that caught one adult calling his autistic 10-year-old son "a bastard." In less than three days, video got 1.2 million views, raising the prominence of the small movement. There have been at least nine similar cases across the U.S. since 2003.



"If a parent has any reason at all to suggest a child is being abused or mistreated, I strongly recommend that they do the same thing," said Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association.

But George Giuliani, executive director of the National Association of Special Education Teachers and director of special education at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., says that while the documented mistreatment of children has been disturbing, secret recordings are a bad idea. They could, he said, violate the privacy rights of other children.

"We have to be careful that we're not sending our children in wired without knowing the legal issues," Giuliani said.

Stuart Chaifetz, the Cherry Hill father, said he began getting reports earlier in the school year that his 10-year-old son, Akian, was being violent.

Hitting teachers and throwing chairs were out of character for the boy, who is in a class with four other autistic children and speaks but has serious difficulty expressing himself. Chaifetz said he talked to school officials and had his son meet with a behaviorist. There was no explanation for the way Akian was acting.

"I just knew I had to find out what was happening there," he said. "My only option was to put a recorder there. I needed to hear what a normal day was like in there."

On the recording, he heard his son being insulted - and crying at one point.

He shared the audio with school district officials. The superintendent said in a statement that "the individuals who are heard on the recording raising their voices and inappropriately addressing children no longer work in the district."

Since taking the story public, Chaifetz, who has run unsuccessfully for the school board in Cherry Hill and once went on a hunger strike to protest special-education funding cuts, said he has received thousands of emails.

At least a few dozen of those he has had a chance to read have been from parents asking for advice about investigating alleged mistreatment of their children.

It's easy, he tells them.

"It was a simple $30 digital audio recorder. I just put it in the kid's pocket," he said. "Unless they're looking for it, they're not going to find it."

With more parents taking such action, he said, fewer educators may get out of line with the way they treat students who cannot speak up for themselves.

"For the tiny percentage of teachers that do it, I hope that they live in fear every day that a kid's going to walk in with a recorder," he said.

He gives just one caveat: "Make sure it's legal in your state."

Laws on audio recordings vary by state, but in most of the U.S., including New Jersey, recordings can generally be made legally if one party gives consent. Over the past decade, courts in New York and Wisconsin have ruled that recordings made secretly on school buses were legal, finding that there is a diminished expectation of privacy for drivers on the bus.

The recordings have led to firings in several states, criminal convictions of bus employees in Wisconsin and New York, and legal settlements worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in Ohio and Missouri.

Even if it is found to be legal, the recording could have a chilling effect on classrooms, says Giuliani, of the special-education teachers' group. Teachers could worry that every one of their words could be monitored. And a recording could be edited to distort the teachers' meaning.

He said that the rise of the secret recordings suggests it's time to discuss a way to make sure the most vulnerable children are not being mistreated in a more formal way.

"In classrooms where children are nonverbal, unable to communicate, defenseless," he said, "we should start to have a discussion of whether cameras in the classroom are necessary."

That's a move that the National Autism Association's Fournier also says is needed.

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AP News Researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.

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Follow Mulvihill at http://www.twitter.com/geoffmulvihill

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