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Tough kindergarten justice in Texas

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Having signed up for a bunch of education-related news services, I received an email item about a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, a group with which I’d probably be BFF if I was living in the 13 Colonies.

Anyway, the ACLU has come to the defence of a student in Texas banned by his school district for refusing to cut his hair......a kindergarten student....a native American kindergarten student whose family was following its heritage and tradition in letting his hair grow......and these educators in Texas booted him out of school until he gets a haircut.

Yes, in 2009.

What on Earth were these people thinking?

And another segue to more emails......

I’m not sure how I ended up on this firm’s mailing list, but I received an email from a communications company in New York City, inviting me to a news conference in NYC this past Wednesday — though, alas, not offering to cover my flight and accommodation to cover it.

Keep in mind that this is a public relations specialist in the heart of Manhattan. The invite was headed by: NEW YORK CITY ARE DENTISTS GOING GREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then it went on to tell me that ONE OF THE NATIONS FIRST WATER FREE, GREEN-ECO FRIENDLY TOOTH BRUSHS THAT WILL SAVE THE AVERAGE NEW YORKER OVER 2 GALLON’S OF WATER A DAY IN THE BATHROOM WILL BE INTRODUCED IN NYC.

Sigh.

OK, let’s try counting. We’ll even pass on the extra spaces between some words. I’m thinking these communications specialists should have said ‘nation’s’, ‘water-free’, ‘green eco-friendly’, ‘brushes’, ‘more than two’, and ‘gallons’. And doesn’t ‘in the bathroom’ sound just a tad awkward?

But I can certainly see why I’m not in the professional public relations business. I just don’t use Engli’sh real good enough.

And in yet another topic.....when I was in Upper Canada, the traffic lights in both Muddy York and Brampton, as well as parts of Mississauga, have an extra box below the walk/don’t walk sign. It’s a countdown clock, letting pedestrians know how many seconds remain before the light turns red. But it’s also a huge help for motorists approaching an intersection and seeing whether they have time to clear it before the lights change.

So, what do you think, Sam? Worth checking out? No, I won’t charge a consultant’s fee, just my being ever-helpful to our elected officials.

Moving right along.......Sunday morning I was at U of M before dawn to ref soccer, and drew nine-year-old girls this time. So I’m issuing my pre-game instructions, and after having a boy or two throw bodychecks last weekend, I reminded the girls that there’s no body contact, and unlike outdoors, you can’t go shoulder-to-shoulder as you can outdoors.

And one nine-year-old says, "We can’t?!?!?! Then what’s the point?"

And, finally, I want to apologize to those of you who’ve made it this far. I’m afraid that I remain the only journalist in North America not working on a Tiger Woods story.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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