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Does a checklist add too much pressure for first day of kindergarten?

They have picked out the perfect backpacks and matching lunchboxes. The lists of school supplies have been purchased, labeled and stacked, and they’re ready to head to class.

But is your new kindergartner really ready to head to school?

In 2016, a Reddit user, identified as Lucas Hatcher by "Today," posted a photo of a kindergarten checklist on the website. He titled the thread, "I have failed to prepare my son for Kindergarden (sic)."

>> Read more trending stories  

It didn’t have simple kindergarten expectations like using the restroom by oneself and sitting still for a short period of time.

Instead, it contained tasks like writing one's name, knowing 30-plus letters -- meaning upper and lower case -- counting to 10 or more and cutting correctly with scissors.

Hatcher titled the photo, "I have failed to prepare my son for Kindergarden (sic)."

Hatcher said he focused on the 30-plus letter requirement, since the alphabet has only 26 letters. But according to "Today," many people reacted to what they thought was the extreme nature of the requirements.

"Today" reported that, according to another Redditor, the school their son attends expected him to read fluently by the end of the year. 

"Today" contacted Tom Arnold, the principal of Ooltewah Elementary School, the school that sent out the list posted by Hatcher. Arnold said the checklist, which also included a list of fees and supplies needed for the year, was sent to provide guidance so parents could get their children ready for school.

Educational psychologist Michele Borba told "Today" that Ooltewah's list is comparable to what is expected across the country because of competitive preschools that start teaching academics earlier than in decades past.

Early school starts may be hazardous to kids' health, CDC says

Students throughout the ages have been saying that school starts too early, but according to one report, they may be right. 

A 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that students are not getting enough sleep due to classes that start before 8:30 a.m.

>> Read more trending stories  

It's those early starts that are making it difficult for teens to get the sleep they need, leaving them chronically sleep-deprived and exhausted.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that teens ages 13 to 18 get 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, their natural sleep rhythms make it difficult for them to fall asleep before 11 p.m.

Because of the lack of sleep, teens who get too little sleep are more likely to be overweight or depressed. They may also do poorly in school and try tobacco, alcohol and drugs, according to AASM.

Two-thirds of teens say they get less than eight hours a sleep a night, according to the CDC

Middle school teacher accused of drunkenly biting 14-year-old girl underwater at lake

A Georgia school district confirmed Friday that one of its teachers is the man accused of drunkenly biting a 14-year-old girl’s buttocks at Lake Lanier Islands on July 4.

>> PREVIOUS STORY: Man charged with sexual battery after allegedly biting teen girl underwater

Jonathan William Herbert, 30, has been a teacher at Snellville Middle School since Aug. 1, 2016, said Gwinnett County Public Schools spokesman Bernard Watson.

Watson said the district opened an internal investigation following Herbert’s arrest.

The Braselton girl was swimming at the Buford beach when Herbert allegedly swam under the water and bit her in front of multiple beachgoers, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. 

>> Read more trending news 

Investigators said they don’t think he has any connection to the girl or her family.

Herbert faces charges of sexual battery against a child under 16, second-degree cruelty to a child, battery and public drunkenness.

He was booked into jail on Thursday and bonded out later that day, according to the Hall County jail.

Texas 7th-grader with autism gets perfect score on standardized math test

A Texas seventh-grader with autism loves video games, sushi, and math.

>> Read more trending news

And in math, Cade Elias is a star student.

The 13-year-old’s ability in math is unparalleled in the Frisco Independent School District, because he got every question correct on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) program, WFAA reported.

His mother, Renee Elias, was stunned. 

“I said ‘You got a perfect score on the math STAAR (test).’ And he said, ‘What?!,” Elias told WFAA.

“She looked at the actual percentage and she almost fell out of her chair,” Cade said.

“I did. I just about fell out of my chair,” Elias said.

Cade said the test was not that tough. 

“Some parts were hard but most of it was easy,” he told WFAA.

During summer vacation, Cade said he plays an app called Prodigy Math, the television station reported.

According to the Frisco ISD, 4,677 seventh-graders took the math portion of the STAAR test this spring. Of that number, only 5 percent -- 235 students -- got every question right, WFAA reported.

“For someone like this child who started as non-verbal who went all the way up to acing the STAAR test in seventh grade -- gives hope and lets people know our children can move along that spectrum and can start with low-functioning and go up to higher-functioning. It takes a lot of education, a lot of therapy, a lot of hard work on their part, but it’s possible,” Nagla Moussa, board member of the National Autism Association of North Texas, told WFAA.

“I’m a very proud mom. I couldn’t be more proud. It’s a big accomplishment,” Elias said about her son. “This is an indication that we’re gonna get there, and he’s gonna be fine.”

Georgia teacher’s request for funeral: Backpacks with school supplies

After decades of service to her students, one metro Atlanta teacher had one final lesson to impart.

Tammy Layne Waddell died June 9 at Northside Hospital Forsyth after a prolonged illness. At her funeral June 12, dozens of backpacks filled with school supplies lined the pews.

>> Read more trending news 

The donated supplies were Waddell’s last request to honor her lifelong passion for helping children in need, according to her family.

“My cousin, a teacher, wanted backpacks with supplies brought to her funeral instead of flowers for needy students,” Brad Johnson said on Twitter. “Serving others to the end.”

Johnson shared photos of the backpacks and of Waddell’s fellow teachers, who served as honorary pallbearers at the funeral, he said. 

Over her career, Waddell worked as a paraprofessional and a teacher at Sawnee Elementary, Cumming Elementary and Haw Creek Elementary in the Forsyth County school district, according to her family.

Johnson’s initial tweet has since been shared more than 2,500 times, garnering praise for Waddell and her legacy as an educator.

Former students who left condolences on an online guestbookdescribed Waddell as a compassionate and inventive teacher who encouraged students to do their best. 

“The best teacher ever I’ve ever had,” one student wrote.

Diplomas temporarily stripped from 2 students who wore military cords at graduation

Two North Carolina students said they had their diplomas taken away because they wore military cords around their necks at graduation.

>> Woman graduates from Naval Academy 5 years after struggling to get ex-NFL player dad's signature

The two graduates wore the special cords during graduation to symbolize their enlistment in the U.S. Army.

Their celebration turned to punishment after they wore their cords Friday at West Bladen High School in Bladen County, located in eastern North Carolina.

A school administrator said they broke the rules because their cords weren't pre-approved.

>> Read more trending news 

"Ms. Kelly came up to them and asked them if she could see the diplomas, and they handed them to her and she kept them," a mother, Wendy Paris, said. "I don't have a problem with rules and policies, but some of them are ridiculous."

Paris said she was able to get her son's diploma back the day after graduation.

Elementary school’s name changes from honoring Confederate general to honoring Barack Obama

Elementary school students will be attending a new school but in the same building when they return to class in the fall. 

The Richmond School Board voted 6-1 Monday to rename J.E.B. Stuart Elementary School to Barack Obama Elementary School. It was the city’s only school named in honor of the Confederacy, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

The lone holdout, Kenya Gibson, had asked for a delay of the vote because there were no local names being considered in the school’s renaming. Gibson represents the 3rd District where Barack Obama Elementary School is located.

>> Read more trending news 

This isn’t the first school named for the country’s first African-American president. A new elementary school in New Haven, Connecticut will be named after Obama. Another school in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is also named for the 44th president, the Times-Dispatch reported.

A school in Mississippi changed its name from Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, to Obama.

The Richmond School Board said it will cost the district $26,000 to make the change, including new signage, new mats with the name written on them, new stationery, business cards and other office supplies and T-shirts for faculty, staff and students, the Times-Dispatch reported.

'At Last': School receptionist celebrates summer break with viral intercom serenade

A school receptionist's stunning ode to summer is going viral.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to USA Today, Regina Ballard, who works at North Lincoln High in Lincolnton, North Carolina, took to the school intercom Wednesday to welcome summer break with a joyful rendition of Etta James' "At Last."

The performance, which was captured on video, quickly made the rounds on social media.

>> Read more trending news 

"I love my job, y'all, but I look forward to summers when I can spend time with my grands & family, it is...At Last!!!" Ballard, 57, wrote Wednesday in a Facebook post that racked up more than 11,000 shares and 620,000 views by Sunday morning.

>> Watch the video here

Ballard told USA Today that she's "blown away" by all the attention.

Read more here.

Massachusetts teacher apologizes for insensitive LGBTQ tweet

A Massachusetts gym teacher has apologized for an insensitive comment he posted on Twitter. 

>> Read more trending news

Hingham High School physical education teacher Jon Rice replied to a tweet the Boston Red Sox posted on June 7 about LGBTQ Pride month.

Rice replied to the post, “Nothing to be proud of here Red Sox. We don't need rainbows on the pitcher’s mound. ... what's next rainbow uniforms? Rainbow home plate? Rainbow monster?”

Rice has since removed his comment and made his Twitter account private. 

Some members of the Hingham High School community expressed their concerns about the post, which got the attention of school leaders.

“They were perceived by a number of readers as inappropriate at best and possibly homophobic,” Superintendent Dorothy Galo said in a statement. 

Galo said she and Principal Rick Swanson were disappointed by Rice’s lapse in judgment. She called Rice a respected teacher and noted the high school faculty and students made great strides this school year to create a more welcoming and respectful environment for all students.

“I know that apologies can't erase the upset that individuals reading the posts may have felt or the resulting negative attention to our school's culture and climate that so many students and staff have worked hard to improve,” Galo said. 

Swanson sent a letter to students, parents and teachers on Thursday to address the controversy. 

Swanson’s letter read, in part, “In apologizing to me (Wednesday) night, and to his students [Thursday], this teacher acknowledged a ‘very poor choice of words’ that failed to convey the message he had intended to deliver.” 

Included in the letter was an apology from Rice. "I am truly sorry for making a statement that clearly offended and hurt people,” he said. “I respect and value all of my students, and I deeply regret making statements that might suggest otherwise."

Galo said she acknowledges Rice’s “sincere and prompt response by removing the objectionable posts and taking full responsibility for trying to mitigate the unintended emotional harm that has resulted.”

California student wears KKK costume for school project

A California high school student who wrote about a former imperial wizard of the Ku Klux Klan for a history project sparked outrage when he came to school dressed in the conical hood, white fabric mask and flowing robes of the group, KABC reported.

>> Read more trending news

Photos of social media captured a high school freshman dressed in KKK garb at Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy in Wilmington, California. Students at the school said the photos were taken June 8.

The school has a 96 percent minority enrollment, CNN reported.

The student’s history project was about Hiram Wesley Evans, a dentist who was the Klan’s leader from 1922 to 1939. While other students also dressed in costumes to depict historical figures, students at the school were taken aback by the KKK outfit, which they said was approved by the teacher.

"He wore it like throughout the school, like in nutrition, lunch, things like that. I don't think that's appropriate," Lance Dantignac told KABC.

"It made me feel like unsafe and threatened," Eliza Dumag told the television station.

Students said the history teacher approved all choices for history projects and costumes that are worn, but added that the approval of a KKK member was troubling.

"It kind of rattled me. It was hard to believe that she would allow a klansman to walk around from her approval,” Trinity Young told KABC. “So, we asked her, and she said that, she compared the Klan to the Black Panther Party, which in my opinion are two different things. So yeah, it was troubling."

In a statement, officials from the Los Angeles Unified School District apologized and did not approve of the costume.

"L.A. Unified and Harbor Teacher Preparation Academy understand the extreme sensitivity around this issue and do not condone or support this type of re-enactment," said district officials, who added that they have begun an investigation.

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