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Delaware may let students ‘choose’ their race, gender without parental consent

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A proposal that would let students in Delaware as young as 5 choose their own race and gender-identity – without approval from their parents – has sparked a bitter battle in the First State. 

On one side are parents who say they want a more welcoming climate for their transgender or non-binary children. On the other side are parents who say the proposal infringes on their basic parental rights.

Under Regulation 225, schools would be required to provide access to facilities and activities that are consistent with a student’s gender identity—regardless of the child’s sex at birth. That includes bathrooms, locker rooms, team sports and adhering to the child’s preferred name. Under the proposal, students could also choose their own race.

What has rankled some parents is that the new regulation does not require schools to inform parents of the child’s decision. Instead, the policy advises administrators to assess the child’s well-being before disclosing the information to the child’s parents.

While a growing number of states are imposing rules to protect transgender students, Delaware’s proposed rules go further – letting a child decide, even if the parent disagrees with the decision.

“The regulation isn’t about keeping a secret, it’s about what’s in the best interest of the child,” said Mark Purpura, president of Equality Delaware. “The reality is there are children living in fear who do not feel comfortable coming out to their parents as gay or transgender.”

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States that have some protections for harassment and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

 (Human Rights Campaign)

But some say this is yet another example of government overreach. They say parents should be involved in making such a critical decision involving their children.

“I would be livid if the school allowed my daughter to make such a significant decision without me,” said Terri Hodges, president of the Delaware PTA and committee member.

Hodges said she does not oppose the regulation but feels that alienating parents is not the right way to carry it out.

“I want to protect children,” she said, “but we can’t pick and choose when to engage parents.”

The state’s proposal drew more than 11,000 public comments in the form of letters, emails and online submissions— the majority opposing the new rule.

If approved, the regulation would protect 19 characteristics—protections that expert David Cohen, professor of law at Drexel University, said are not represented in the current federal anti-discrimination policy.

“Title IX does not explicitly cover gender,” said Cohen. “All it talks about is sex discrimination – and not every court, administrator or administration interprets gender identity as sex.”

delaware schools

Governor John Carney’s office released the following statement: “This regulation is about providing guidance that will help school districts ensure that all children feel safe and comfortable at school. It was drafted by a development team that included parents, educators, school district leaders, students, and school board members from across the state.”

Delaware’s governor, John Carney, felt strongly that more could be done to protect students from bullying and discrimination, and in 2017 urged the DDOE to enact a policy.

But last month at the committee’s final public meeting, a crowd of more than 250 people packed the auditorium of Delaware Technical Community College to express their opposition.

Delaware State Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, said the proposed regulation is onerous, excessive and confusing. He said the current anti-discrimination policy is concise and efficient, and replacing it with a multi-page regulation is a distraction.

“This is taking our eye off the ball,” Collins said. “We have one school that has a 3-percent math proficiency and there are issues educating our kids [across the state].”

But Andrea Rashbaum, a parent of a transgender child, said parents can’t expect a child to learn if they don’t feel safe.

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Andrea Rashbaum with her daughter, Maddie, and her husband.

“We have to take these worries off their plates,” Rashbaum said. “Similar to how hungry children can’t perform, a child who feels unheard and misunderstood can’t focus on reading or math scores.”

Rashbaum believes that a state regulation would put every child on an even playing field.

“Right now gender and race identification are handled on a school-by-school basis,” Rashbaum said. “One school will help a child grow to have dignity and the other less educated school [in the same district] can squash a child’s self-worth.”

If approved, Delaware would be among 18 states and the District of Columbia who have implemented anti-harassment regulations based on gender identification and sexual orientation.

Delaware is one of the first states to draft a proposal to explicitly acknowledge gender identification in schools as a protected characteristic, and violators – it’s unclear if would target teachers or administrators – could be prosecuted.

After a public hearing period, the Department of Education will approve or deny the regulation.

Talia Kirkland is a multimedia reporter based in Philadelphia, Pa.

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Plane carrying aviation students crashes in Ukraine killing 22 | World News

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A military transport plane carrying students from an aviation school has crashed in northeastern Ukraine, killing at least 22 people on board, officials have said.

The Antonov An-26 had been trying to land during a training exercise when it burst into flames just a mile short of a military airport on Friday evening.

General Staff of the Armed Forces Ruslan Khomchak said that, as well as those killed, at least two people were critically injured.

A total of 27 people were on the plane, according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine.

Most of those on board were students from the Kharkiv University of Air Force, which is run by the country’s defence ministry.

Deputy Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko posted video showing the plane in flames with smoke billowing upwards.

Other pictures showed rescue workers inspecting the wreckage near Chuhuiv, about 250 miles east of Ukraine’s capital Kiev.

The cause of the crash is being investigated but one pilot reported the failure of one of the plane’s two engines, according to Oleksiy Kucher, the governor of the Kharkiv region.

He told Interfax Ukraine this would not have been a critical situation for an experienced pilot.

Some of those on board managed to jump out of the plane as it flew at low altitude, he added, something confirmed by a witness on the Ukraine 24 news channel.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will visit the scene on Saturday.

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Breonna Taylor: Armed civilians are demonstrating their power in wake of decision over her killing | US News

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Louisville is a tinder box of rage and frustration.

Protesters have been taking to the streets for 121 nights since Breonna Taylor was killed.

This week the city has been in a state of emergency, roads closed and businesses barricades. Military personnel line the streets, armoured vehicles patrol the airport and protesters hold vigil at a square, waiting for curfew to fall before they march.

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There have been tense stand-offs in Louisville
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Protesters are armed and demonstrating their power

But there’s another group who’ve started to make their presence felt in the past few days – loaded with rifles and army fatigues they look like active military personnel.

But they are in fact a far-right group who call themselves the Oath Keepers, described by the Southern Poverty Law Centre as one of the largest radical anti-government groups in the US.

We find them in the car park of a hotel. There are about 30 of them and the protesters marching by are immediately aggravated by the sight of them.

The anti-government group insists they’ve been invited here by business owners. The founder, Stewart Rhodes tells me: “We’re here to protect businesses and apartments. We’re also here protecting residents.

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“We don’t want to say who they are or where they lived because they’re afraid. We’re protecting life and property.”

The crowd that’s started to form around them is clearly incensed.



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There are tense exchanges playing out everywhere as the two sides face off.

One member, George Douglas Smith Jr, tells me he won’t raise his gun unless damage is done. He said: “What they do in their organisation is fine. Unless they try to turn the buildings down.

“I made a solemn oath to the store owners that I won’t let that happen even if this crowd beats me downs and kill me.”

It is an austerely incongruous sight, but it’s become painfully commonplace in the pockets of tension around America that seemingly keep emerging. A nation where heavily armed civilians feel emboldened to demonstrate their power.

It constantly feels like the mood and risk can radically shift at any moment.

The protesters eventually make their way out of the car park, many encouraging each other not to rise to the bait.

For another two hours, they walk around Louisville. They eventually make their way to a church where they’re welcomed in and offered refreshments.

The police keep watch on the edge of the grounds. It is a far less disparate and chaotic scene than some of the skirmishes and arrests we witnessed the night before, when two officers were shot.

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But it’s a constant game of cat and mouse that’s hard to imagine any resolution to right now.

Twenty five minutes out of town, we meet neighbours of Breonna Taylor who were there the night she died. They’re incredulous at the grand jury’s decision not to charge any officers with her killing.

Deja Moore lives opposite Breonna’s apartment. She tells me there were gun shells all around her door and she could see Breonna’s body.

The attorney general said the police announced their presence. But Deja is emphatic that she and others didn’t hear it.



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She is exasperated at the lack of progress on racial justice in America, but defiant too.

“Honestly a change needs to come. Whether they like it or not it’s going to turn violent. We’re upset, angry, disappointed and if they won’t change it we will,” she said.

Quite what the change looks like in a country where it’s proved so illusive, is very unclear.

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Evel Knievel’s son sues Disney over Toy Story 4 character | Ents & Arts News

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Evel Knievel’s son is suing Disney over a daredevil character in the animated film Toy Story 4.

Kelly Knievel has held the publicity rights to his father’s name since 1998, according to his US District Court filing in Las Vegas.

The federal trademark infringement lawsuit claims that Disney-owned Pixar did not ask permission to use his father’s likeness when creating the character Duke Caboom.

American daredevil Evel Knievel (1938 - 2007) makes a motorcycle jump over thirteen AEC Merlin buses at Wembley Stadium in London, 26th May 1975. The stunt ended in a crash in which Knievel broke his pelvis. (Photo by Kypros/Getty Images)
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One of Evel Knievel’s most famous stunts was at Wembley Stadium in London in 1975

Knievel is seeking damages of more than $300,000 (£235,000) over allegations including false endorsement and unjust enrichment.

The 60-year-old said: “Evel Knievel did not thrill millions around the world, break his bones and spill his blood just so Disney could make a bunch of money.”

Duke Caboom, voiced by Keanu Reeves in last year’s film, was a 1970s toy who rides a motorbike and is “Canada’s greatest stuntman”, the lawsuit said.

Knievel was famous for stunts such as a motorbike jump over a row of buses at Wembley Stadium.

He was seriously injured many times during 75 motorbike jumps, but died from lung disease in 2007.

An Evel Knievel toy was released in 1973 with a white helmet and jumpsuit, with a motorbike that could be propelled with a wind-up device.

Disney and Pixar released a similar Duke Caboom toy along with Toy Story 4.

The toy also featured in McDonald’s Happy Meals.

Evel Knievel was seriously injured many times during 75 motorbike jumps
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Evel Knievel was seriously injured many times during 75 motorbike jumps

The lawsuit claims consumers and film reviewers “universally caught on to the connection”, despite the film company and Reeves avoiding any comparison.

Jeffrey R Epstein, corporate spokesman for The Walt Disney Co, described Knievel’s claims as meritless, saying the film company will defend itself vigorously.

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