Perspective | It’s time we stopped with the phrase “gifted and talented”

By Stephanie Sprenger
@mommyforreal

Last week, I saw two toddlers wearing “Genius” T-shirts. When I saw the first one, I smiled, as I undeniably have a soft spot for ironic baby clothing. But when just hours later the second “genius” came waddling along, it gave me pause. I know these clever shirts proclaiming that our children are “brave like Daddy” or “sassy like Mommy” are just supposed to be funny and cute. Yet I feel slightly troubled by what lies under the surface of our attempts to label our children with myriad superlatives.

The “Genius” one left a distinctly bad taste in my mouth, and after a few days of pondering, I realized why. It was a tiny incarnation of the “gifted and talented” program, which is a concept I’ve been struggling with as a parent.

When I was in 5th grade, I was selected to participate in TAG (yes, talented and gifted), a program that took place during two hours of every Friday afternoon. I recall playing challenging brain games that required teamwork and higher-level questioning, completing independent study projects, on one occasion making a collage about photography (hmmm), and then trotting merrily back to class with my other above-average classmates.

I moved the following year, and was placed in a similar program with a different name: Alpha. Was it, shudder, because we were “alpha students?” It was my first and last meeting. Although I carried straight A’s—aside from my B in P.E.—after a snide comment from one of my fellow Alpha students, I chose never again to participate in a gifted and talented program.

Over the years, I’ve heard it referred to as ULE—Unique Learning Experience—and Exceptional Learners, but where I live now it’s straight up “GT—gifted and talented.” My experience with GT as a parent of non-GT students has been eye-opening.

When my oldest daughter, now 13, was in Montessori preschool, the staff provided a parent meeting where we could ask questions about kindergarten and elementary school options. Hands shot up all around the room: “Tell us more about the GT programs in the district.” “When can we test for GT?” Aside from the occasional inquiry about bilingual education programs, it was pretty much the same: How do we get into the GT program?

My husband and I raised our eyebrows at each other. Who knew that all this time our precocious little darling had been surrounded by entirely gifted students? Over the next few years, acquaintances would ask me when I was getting my daughter tested for GT. “I’m not,” I usually replied simply. The high-pressure program was not something I wanted for my child, who now is a 4.0 honor roll student in middle school. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure she qualified for GT; her grades have much more to do with her personality and determination. But the entire operation left a bad taste in my mouth.

Semantics matter to me, perhaps more than most people. Don’t even get me started on my hang-ups about the word “blessed.” To me, being “gifted and talented” sounds a whole lot like being bestowed with a well, gift, that others were not granted. It’s pretentious, and slightly obnoxious.

However, the value of these programs is undeniable. There are students whose needs are not being met in a one-size-fits-all curriculum: a multitude, and not just the above average variety. It is difficult to comprehend the challenge of teachers who must constantly adapt their learning experience to the diverse group of students they teach. These programs are absolutely essential and provide a much-needed, enriching, stimulating education for the kids who are becoming bored in their classrooms, who are potentially even causing problems because they aren’t being challenged.

The future of New York City’s public gifted and talented programming is now in the spotlight, thanks to the mayor-appointed School Diversity Advisory Group’s recommendation that the existing GT programs be replaced by magnet schools. A group of gifted education teachers have instead called for an overhaul and reform of the system instead of elimination, which they hope may affect other GT programs around the country. But perhaps there is more fundamental reform required than altering the selection process and addressing the issues of economic privilege and racial segregation.

Perhaps what we really need to address is what we call these programs and the way parents conceive of them. The pressure behind TAG, including the language we use to describe it, needs to change. So too the frenetic rush to test our kids, not necessarily because we want to accommodate their learning style, but because of the proclamation that they are gifted and talented and therefore destined for a higher purpose, will lead to a breeding ground of stress, anxiety, and self-esteem issues. And what does it do to the kids who are excluded from this elite group?

I often cringe when I hear someone counter the name of these kind of programs with the sentiment that “All kids are gifted and talented in their own way.” Because it sounds so trite—the equivalent of a participation award. And yet. At the risk of revealing myself as a special snowflake kind of person, I do believe all children are gifted and talented. Whether they are athletic, artistic, deeply empathetic, or bold leaders, or simply themselves. Platitudes be damned, they are all gifted and talented in their own way.

It’s time to change the labels of these advanced or specialized learning classrooms to reflect that. Our children are paying attention, and they can absolutely read between the lines. What kind of message do we want to send them?

Stephanie is a writer, mother of two girls, early childhood educator and music therapist, and Executive Producer of Listen To Your Mother Denver and Boulder.

Image: an actual shirt that was given to one of our editor’s children.

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Mariska Hargitay Learns Elizabeth Taylor Was One of Her Biggest Fans

Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay comes from a Hollywood family. Her parents were movie stars Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay so, she certainly grew up meeting a famous celebrity or two. But she was still floored recently to find out that a Hollywood legend admired her acting.

Mariska Hargitay Gets A Shock

Model and businesswoman Kathy Ireland recently posted on Twitter something that she was too shy to tell Hargitay when she saw her at an airport. She took the opportunity when Hargitay posted her own tweet to promote the new SVU episode and responded with a fun fact.

“Twitter, did you know @Mariska was Elizabeth Taylor’s favorite actress?” Ireland tweeted. “True. They met when ET was filming ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ when Mariska was a child. Elizabeth loved you Mariska & never missed an episode of yours Wanted to tell you at the airport–was too shy! xo.”

Hargitay responded by simply saying she’s “floored” to learn that the violet-eyed legendary Oscar winner was an admirer of hers.

Hargitay was born on January 23, 1964, and the film version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf was released on June 22, 1966, so, it’s likely that Taylor met Hargitay when she was still sleeping in a crib each night!

A Past Connection

Taylor shared with Us Weekly in 2011 her admiration for Hargitay and revealed that she knew Taylor’s children. “I’m mad for Law & Order and have seen every single episode,” Taylor told Us. “My children and Mariska Hargitay, a dazzling actress, played together as kids.”

While Taylor never appeared on Law & Order or any of the brand’s spinoff series, she did appear on television later in her career on such series as General Hospital, The Simpsons, The Nanny, Murphy Brown, and the TV mini-series North and South: Book 1 and the TV-movie Malice in Wonderland.

Taylor passed away on March 23, 2011, at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She was 79 and died of congestive heart failure, surrounded by her children Michael Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Todd, and Maria Burton. Taylor also had 10 grandchildren. Law & Order: SVU airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

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Matt Damon says 2011 film ‘Contagion’ predicted pandemic as he reveals stepdaughter had COVID-19

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Matt Damon revealed that his stepdaughter got the coronavirus while going to school in New York City at the onset of the worldwide pandemic.

The actor, 49, appeared for an interview on Ireland’s Spin 1038 “Fully Charged” radio show where he revealed the news of his kid’s illness. The actor has been stuck in Ireland, specifically the small Dublin suburb of Dalkey, for several weeks after travel restrictions took effect while he was there to shoot a movie.

Speaking to hosts Graham O’Toole and Nathan O’Reilly, Damon revealed that his stepdaughter Alexia, 21, was at school in New York City and had the coronavirus along with her roommates a few weeks ago. Alexia is the daughter of Damon’s wife, Luciana Barroso, from a previous relationship.

“Our oldest daughter is in college. Obviously that’s been shut down. But she’s in NYC and she had COVID really early on along with her roommates and got through it fine,” he revealed to the hosts. “So… I shouldn’t say our whole family is together. Of our four kids, we’ve got the three younger ones and our oldest one, we’ll reunite with her at the end of the month. But everybody’s OK.”

Matt Damon revealed that his stepdaughter had the coronavirus.
(Dominique Charriau/WireImage)

Damon’s stepdaughter appears to be out of the woods in terms of her battle with COVID-19. As a result, the actor noted that he’s relieved to be able to reunite with her in Los Angeles in an environment where people finally understand what they’re dealing with.

“Obviously for Luci’s mom and my mom, it’s scary for that generation,” he told the hosts. “I think we’ve all got the message now. Everybody is doing the isolation and social distancing and hand washing and kind of everything we can to mitigate this but it’s frightening, certainly, for our parents.”

The hosts couldn’t help but bring up the parallels of the coronavirus pandemic to a 2011 movie Damon starred in called “Contagion” in that depicted what turned out to be a surprisingly accurate response to a global pandemic. In the movie, Damon plays a father who loses his wife to the illness and must protect his only daughter from it at all costs.

“Anybody who said you couldn’t predict this, I mean, just look at ‘Contagion.’ Ten years ago we made a movie just talking to experts and asking them how this would look and kind of how this would go down,” Damon said.

The actor concluded by noting that he hopes the COVID-19 pandemic will prepare the world for similar outbreaks that may come in the future and be more severe.

“It’s upsetting, the whole thing is just… it’s tragic, you know? And sad,” he told the hosts. “I hope some good can come out of it. I hope that. Luckily, this isn’t as lethal as it might have been, so maybe this is a really good dry run for the big one that might come. Because these things do come along every few decades… best to be ready for it.”

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New Harry and Meghan film to show couple’s ‘escape’ from royal duties | London Evening Standard

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A new film is set to show how Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, left their royal duties behind and began a new life overseas.

The film, tentatively entitled “Harry and Meghan: Escaping the Palace”, is being developed by Lifetime and will be the studio’s third movie about the royal couple, TVLine reported.

It will show “the couple’s controversial conscious uncoupling from the crown, after the birth of their son Archie,” according to the official synopsis.

“The movie details the struggles of the new parents and unique challenges of being part of the royal family, which ultimately led Harry and Meghan to give up their royal ties to forge a new life on their own terms,” the synopsis continued.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Reuters)

No release date or budget has been confirmed.

The film will be released straight to television, like the first two films “Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance” and “Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal”.

The first movie tracked the start of the couple’s relationship and the second showed the period before and after their wedding in 2018.

Harry and Meghan said that they would step back from royal duties in January 2020 and work to become financially independent.

Meghan Markle and baby Archie (PA)

Other members of the royal family were said to be “disappointed” and “hurt” by the news.

The royal couple first left the UK for Vancouver with their baby son Archie, who recently turned one. They then moved to Los Angeles, where the Duchess of Sussex was brought up.

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Five new laws that could affect your rights at work in 2020 – Somerset Live

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The year 2020 is set to see a range of new laws come into effect.

Here are five key employment law changes that could affect you at work, as explained by Abigail Hubert of Birketts LLP to The Gazette.

From how holiday pay is calculated – to the leave you can expect when you are grieving – these are worth knowing.

Improved rights for agency workers

‘Swedish Derogation,’ also known as ‘pay between assignments’ contracts would previously see agency workers agree a contract that would remove their rights to equal pay with permanent counterparts after 12 weeks working on the same assignment.

From April 6, these will no longer be permissible and agency workers who have been in their employment for 12 weeks will be entitled to the same pay as those on permanent contracts.

Agency workers will have more rights

As well as this, all agency workers will be entitled to a key information document that more clearly sets out their employment relationships and terms and conditions with their agency.

Agency workers who are considered to be employees will be protected from unfair dismissal or suffering a detriment if the reasons are related to asserting rights associated with The Agency Worker Regulations.

Holiday pay calculations changing

From April 6, the reference period to calculate a ‘week’s pay’ for holiday pay purposes will be extended from the previous 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks.

This could affect employees who work variable hours seasonally.

New parental bereavement leave

In September 2018, a new workplace right for paid leave to be given to bereaved parents was officially enshrined in law.

The first of its kind in the UK, the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 is expected to come into force in April 2020 and will give employed parents the right to two weeks leave if they lost a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Employed parents will also be able to claim pay for this period, subject to meeting eligibility criteria.

New right to a written statement of terms

Currently, employees who have been continuously employed for more than one month must be provided with a written statement of terms within two months of employment commencing.

From April 6, all new employees and workers will have the right to a statement of written particulars from their first day of employment. Additional information will have to be included as part of the extended right.

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Accountability for tax shifting

At present, the IR35 rules apply where an individual personally performs services for a client through an intermediary. If the services were provided under a direct contract, the worker would be regarded for tax purposes as being employed by the client.

Currently, it is the intermediary’s responsibility to determine whether IR35 applies.

From April 6, changes to IR35 rules will be implemented for medium and large businesses in the private sector and will largely mirror changes that took effect in the public sector in 2017.

Under the new regime, for all contracts entered into, or payments made on or after April 6, the onus will shift from the intermediary to the end user client to make a status determination.

Responsibility for accounting for tax and national insurance will shift to the party who pays for the individual’s services, known as the ‘fee-payer.’

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Familie review – Milo Rau’s soulful hymn to life on the brink of death | Stage | The Guardian

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It is a dark winter’s night in Belgium, a country where the suicide rate has been called “dismally high”. Suicide is an awkward subject, but director Milo Rau is not one to shy away from society’s ugly corners. Mesmerising and alarming, Familie completes a trilogy that began with Five Easy Pieces, in which children told the story of child molester Marc Dutroux, and La Reprise, which reconstructed the murder of Ihsane Jarfi in a random act of homophobic violence.

This play also takes its template from real life. In 2007, the four members of the Demeester family were found hanged in their Calais home. They had a meal ready to eat and left no sign of struggle. The only clue to the joint suicide of this comfortably off family was a terse note: “We messed up. Sorry.”

It’s not much to go on, but Rau turns the enigma into a strength. Working with a mix of professional and amateur actors in accordance with his 10-point Ghent Manifesto, he enlists a real family to imagine the fateful final night. Prominent Belgian actors An Miller and Filip Peeters are joined by their teenage daughters Leonce and Louisa Peeters, plus dogs Billy and Bobby, in an evening not of histrionics and grinding of teeth (for that, Rau would direct you to Romeo and Juliet), but of heartbreaking banality.




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The production it most closely resembles is Vanishing Point’s Interiors, a dark domestic comedy performed behind the windows of a single-storey house that turned the audience into unwitting voyeurs. Likewise, Anton Lukas’s realistic set for Familie allows dad to get on with the cooking, mum to call her parents and the kids to do their English homework as if, for the most part, we’re not there. Moritz von Dungern’s deftly integrated live video projections pull us closer to their everyday routines. One section is called “Killing Time”.

By rights, a play shorn of everything we expect of a night out – drama, conflict, debate – should be excruciating, but such is the guilelessness of the four actors, the apparent spontaneity of their stage life and the excruciating tension of knowing their fate, that the mundane becomes riveting. In its opening and closing sequences, the cunningly crafted piece reels off lists of private pleasures: watching movies on a rainy day, doodling during a phone call, reading Harry Potter… On their own, they are whimsical and insignificant, but cumulatively, they are the reason we keep on keeping on, our way of defying existential despair.

We love this family in the way we love the talking heads on Gogglebox, not for their exceptionalism but the very reverse: their ordinariness and lack of pretence. That we are seeing enactments of real family relationships in parallel to the true-life tragic tale adds to our distress.




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Rau does not concern himself with fathoming a meaning behind the suicides; there is no “to be or not to be” dilemma. He accepts the Demeesters’ actions are unknowable. Even with more information, we would still find their deaths inexplicable. Where would guessing get us?

Instead, he offers us a kind of dark, secular mass, at once a celebration of all life has to offer in its smallest, most trivial moments, and a painful recognition that sometimes it can be too much. Performed at the stately pace of a slow piece of Bach, Familie is assured, soulful and unnerving.

At NTGent, Ghent, Belgium, until 22 May.

In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 and the domestic violence helpline is 0808 2000 247. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14 and the national family violence counselling service is on 1800 737 732. In the US, the suicide prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and the domestic violence hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org

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Prince William and Kate Middleton thank public for ‘lovely messages’ as they celebrate ninth wedding anniversary | London Evening Standard

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have marked their ninth wedding anniversary with a throwback photo of their glittering wedding day.

William and Kate married at Westminster Abbey on April 29 2011 – with an estimated two billion people tuning in to watch the televised service around the world.

Kensington Palace relived the royals’ special day with a Twitter post thanking the public for their well-wishes.

Alongside a snap of the beaming bride and groom they wrote: “Nine years ago today — thank you for all your lovely messages on The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding anniversary!”

Now parents to three children – George, Charlotte and Louis – the couple will celebrate the day with none of the fanfare of the original event.

While once crowds lined the streets of London to wave on the wedding procession, the pair will enjoy the occasion from the comfort of their home in Norfolk, as the nationwide lockdown continues.

The family are staying at Anmer Hall, from where the duke and duchess have continued to work remotely.

William’s wedding to his former university flatmate was one of the highest profile events of 2011.

Some 2,000 guests filled Westminster Abbey to see the future king marry Kate – making her an HRH, a duchess and a future queen.

The grand affair featured two dresses, two receptions, a carriage procession through central London, flypasts and two kisses on the Buckingham Palace balcony.

The bride wore an intricate lace gown designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen for the service, while the groom was dressed in the red tunic of the Irish Guards.

After the service, the newlyweds travelled in an open-topped carriage for the 15-minute journey from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace, with more than a million people lining the procession route.

Much attention was given to Kate’s sister Pippa for her figure-hugging bridesmaid dress, with a Facebook page set up in honour of her bottom.

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‘My bears are my lifeline’: the adults who sleep with soft toys | Global | The Guardian

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If you share your bed with a furry friend well into adulthood, don’t be ashamed – sleeping with soft toys is more normal than you might think. “It’s very common,” says Prof Bruce Hood of the University of Bristol, who has researched our attachment to childhood toys. He tells me that about one in three of the people he has questioned still sleep with teddies, and that it is probably more common for women, as it is more socially acceptable for them to do so.

Why are we hanging on to our cuddly toys? “My hunch is that it’s to do with sleeping practices,” Hood says. In western cultures, we tend to separate children from their parents after the first year – after which they sleep on their own, and self-soothe using blankets and soft toys. “These become part of the sleep ritual.”

It is not unusual for your attachment to soft toys as a sleep aid to persist into adulthood. A survey carried out last year found that 44% of adults have held on to their childhood teddies and dolls, and as many as 34% of adults still sleep with a soft toy every night. Meanwhile, researchers at VU University Amsterdam found that cuddling a soft toy can have a beneficial effect for people with low self-esteem, helping to alleviate their anxieties around death.

“It’s about having a sentimental attachment to things,” Hood says. “It’s completely normal for adults to continue to have these childish attachments.”

He doesn’t see any harm in sleeping with a teddy, provided you’re not obsessive about it. “They provide emotional comfort.” Plus, it is more hygienic than sleeping with a pet. Just don’t forget to bung your teddy in the wash from time to time.

We spoke to three Guardian readers about their furry friends.

Jeff Annells, 68
Receptionist from Banbury




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It all started when my uncle won me a big old bear called Brumas, when I was about five. He was named after the famous polar bear who was born into captivity at London zoo. I used to cart Brumas everywhere with me – until one day his head fell off. That sounds very traumatic, but it wasn’t that bad.

When I grew up, I started collecting teddy bears. I have about 60 Steiff and Charlie Bears. I pass out thinking about how much money I’ve spent on them – probably £20,000 over my lifetime.

My favourite bear is a 6ft-tall Charlie bear that I call Big Fella. He’s one of only 100 made worldwide. He cost me about £3,000. Everyone who comes to my house gets a photo with Big Fella. He stands in my corridor. When I was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in 2014, Big Fella came into his own. Having cancer is like living in a parallel universe. Everyone is going about their business and you have this thing hanging over you. You never get a break from cancer.

I’m often in a lot of pain. No matter how bad the pain is, I always say good morning to Big Fella when I wake up. My bears are my lifeline. I can say anything to them. I wake up and say: “Christ, I’m in agony this morning.” No one else needs to know that. I say it to Big Fella, and then I get myself ready and go to work and sit on reception smiling at everyone. They’re none the wiser.

I worry a lot about who will inherit Big Fella if I pop my clogs. I keep threatening people with it, saying: “I’ve left you Big Fella in my will.” A look of horror appears on their faces. Seriously, though, I would love for Big Fella to go a children’s hospice. I like the idea of the children being able to confide in him, like I have.

Emily Dove, 26
Personal assistant from Leeds




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I got Ted as a present for my 18th birthday from my auntie. He’s a brown teddy bear, about 12 inches tall. I have other soft toys that sit on top of my wardrobe. But Ted is the one who hangs out in my bed and comes with me when I go on holiday.

Ted and I have been to Glastonbury together six times. He normally stays in my sleeping bag. It’s nice to be able to get back to the tent late at night and have a cuddle, especially when it’s quite cold. Last year, going into Glastonbury, Ted got properly searched – I think security thought he was a drug mule! They gave him a good squeeze. Luckily, he didn’t get picked apart or anything like that.

A big part of my love for Ted is that I find it very comforting to cuddle him when I’m going to sleep. He’s been a big part of my bedtime routine for the past nine years. I just like having something to cuddle. I need to have something soft to hold by my body. Recently, I went to London for a few days, and I forgot Ted, so I had to cuddle a pillow instead. It wasn’t the same.

I haven’t had any bad feedback from partners. If they did say anything, I’d say that it’s Ted’s bed as well! I think everyone should have a soft toy of their own. It’s a constant, comforting presence in your life. And if you have a relationship and it ends, at least you still have a teddy to cuddle.

Chris Kirton, 33
Call-centre worker from Sunderland




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My girlfriend, Becky, got me into soft toys. She’s a huge soft toy fan – I’m always buying her birthday or Christmas presents from Build-a-Bear Workshop. I spend a fortune in there! When she moves in with me next year I think my spare bedroom will become a bear sanctuary.

There is so much pressure on us all to be adults, and it’s not always the nicest world to live in. It’s nice to forget about your worries for a little while and be a child again.

I bought Squishy for myself from Morrisons last year. He is your classic teddy bear. I bought him as a bit of a joke, initially.

When I’m at home on my own, I’ll talk out loud to Squishy. Just general stuff, like: “What am I going to do today, then?” It’s just a bit of fun. If I’m watching TV or texting people, I’ll have Squishy under one arm.

I enjoy the absurdity of talking to my teddy bear. My job is often very stressful – I’m always having to apologise when I’ve done nothing wrong, and deal with angry, rude customers. After a tough day at work, I can get home and be daft for a few minutes. It takes my mind off things.

Becky and I had been thinking about getting a pet, but I didn’t want to leave an animal unattended at home. Having soft toys gives you some of the comfort of an animal, without the responsibilities associated with it.

Additional reporting by Rachel Obordo

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NJ school teacher yells at students she hopes they die ‘painful death’ from coronavirus for playing at park

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Virtue-signaling vigilantes of “Coronaville” are out there roaming the streets looking for victims.

In Trenton, NJ, one such patrolling, self-appointed warden of the peace was caught on video screaming at a group of teens playing football in a park and telling them she hopes they “get coronavirus” and “die a long, painful death.”

The most interesting thing about it all is that the woman is a long-time public school math teacher at Steinert High School in Trenton.

According to The Trentonian, Nicole Griggs has been a school teacher in the district for 15 years, including time at a local middle school. A freshman at Steinert told the reporter that he and a group of friends were playing ball on Thursday when Griggs began to yell at them from behind a fence.

Watch for yourself …

One of the students filmed the incident and posted it to Snapchat. Another student shared the clip on TikTok with a caption of “Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her damn mind how tf is she a teacher #coronavirus.”

Griggs, who was recognized by the students and according to property records lives close by the park, was apparently out walking her dog when she came upon the heinous display of juvenile lawlessness on the playing field.

The captured video shows the teacher asking them if they need her to yell “loud enough so you can hear me over your music. Parks closed. You will get arrested if the cops come.”

“Wait, can we go over there?” one of the teens asks before Griggs loses her grip.

“Parks closed,” she yelled. “The whole area. Get it through your thick head.”

From there, she blamed the kids for the pandemic.

“You are the reason we are in this situation,” she accused. “You are the problem, not the solution.”

At that point, she seemed to notice that she was being recorded. Rather than using a logical, reasoned approach one might expect from a mathematics practitioner, Griggs went all polynomial on the young people.

“Go ahead keep recording. Who are you going to show it to? Post me on social media,” she yelled. “You’re the idiot doing the wrong thing. I’m just trying to save your ass and save your life. But die, OK? I hope both of you get the coronavirus. I hope you both die a long, painful death.”

Nice.

The Steinert freshman told the newspaper that Griggs threatened to call police and that a cop did show up and warned them to leave the park. They did leave and they said that they now know it was wrong to be there. Nonetheless, he said that he was shocked that a teacher would say that she wished death on them.

“When she said that, I was shocked,” the student said. “I didn’t know someone would say something like that, especially a teacher. She should be smarter with her words.”

Trenton Mayor Jeff Martin was made aware of the video and said that nobody should be “wishing death or harm on people.”

“This is a very serious thing,” he said. “We’ve got at least 50 people who have actually died from it, 50 families. It’s not something to joke around about. Teacher or not, it’s unacceptable.”

The paper noted that the township had at that point a total of 724 cases of COVID-19 and 51 deaths.

Schools superintendent Scott Rocco commented that the district will investigate. “We will address the issue immediately,” he said.

Griggs a serial quarantine enforcer?

The Trentonian found evidence that Griggs apparently has a habit of trying to intimidate others into lockdown compliance. Earlier in the month, Griggs proudly posted to Facebook that she had “wished illness on” a young couple with a two- to three-year old daughter for daring to allow the girl to use a slide at a local park’s jungle gym.

The paper reported:

In an April 6 post on the Facebook page of Nikki Leigh, which Griggs appears to operate under an alias, she says: “We are surrounded by idiots!!!!!! Rode our bikes near Kuser Park this afternoon and what to [sic] we see but a younger couple with their daughter maybe 2/3 years old UNDOING the caution tape around the jungle gym so she could slide. I totally called them out on it, wished illness on them and commented that it was scary to even think they were parents. Their response: ‘We were going to put it back.’”

Staff Writer

Victor Rantala is an Army vet who lives in Minnesota, he is a former intelligence analyst and business owner, and is an NRA Life member who is officially retired but has yet to slow his roll.

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Coronavirus update: One death and five more Covid-19 cases | Stuff.co.nz

There has been another Covid-19 related death in New Zealand.

The woman in her 70s was one of the residents from an Auckland rest home transferred to Waitakere hospital.

Director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield also announced there are five more cases, bringing the total number of people affected by Covid-19 to 1445.

SCOTT HAMMOND/STUFF
Leaves gather at Witherlea School, Marlborough.

This included two confirmed cases, and three probable cases. 

Education Minister Chris Hipkins joined director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield for the daily Covid-19 briefing on Tuesday.

Cabinet decided the country would stay in level 4 until 11.59pm on Monday April 27.

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Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said The current plan is for schools to be able to re-open for a Teacher Only Day on April 28 as part of their preparation, and the Government expects those who need to attend, to be able to from 29 April 29.

​Hipkins discussed the rules around schools during alert level three and explained what will be happening this week, in the lead up to schools opening safely.

  Under alert level 3, most children will be learning from home still. Schools will only be open for families that need to have their children at school, he said.

“Education for students in years 11 to 13 will continue remotely,” Hipkins said.

Universities will be mostly remote, only allowing staff and students to only attend when crucial – such as hands on research.

“If students went home to join their family bubble, they must stay home.”

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From next Wednesday, some schools will be welcoming back students.

Referring to early childhood concerns, Hipkins said he would continue to talk with the sector and provide further guidance.

“We’ve reached the point where the director-general of health is confident there is no widespread community transmission … so the chance of it coming through the gate or door is low,” he said.

The public health advice said it was safe for children to learn together, though Hipkins acknowledged that maintaining physical distancing would be difficult.

As leader of the House, he also gave an update about what will happen when Parliament sits again next week.

Christopher Furlong
Schools and early learning centres can be accessed this week for cleaning, maintenance and any other preparations.

This week, businesses will be allowed to get ready to open, such as re-entering premises to receive stock if necessary, but will have to stick to social distancing and their bubbles.

The same principle applies for preparing schools.

Schools and early learning centres can be accessed this week for cleaning, maintenance and any other preparations.

The current plan is for schools to be able to re-open for a Teacher Only Day on April 28 as part of their preparation, and the Government expects those who need to attend to be able to do so from  April 29. 

However, Ardern acknowledged it may take a bit longer for some schools and early learning centres to be ready.

During level 3, the Government still wants the vast majority of children and young people learning from home. 

The official advice is for children who can stay at home should, and so should at-risk students.

Early childhood centres, and schools right up to year 10, will physically be open for families that need them.

Ardern said children should still learn from home if they can – except for those situations where it was not possible.

For example, parents who cannot manage the kids as well as work. Those who do go to school will be kept within one bubble while there.

She was not expecting large numbers of pupils to be in attendance.

Bloomfield said international evidence and New Zealand’s experience so far shows that Covid-19 does not affect or infect children and teens in the same way as adults. There were low infection rates, they don’t become too unwell and don’t tend to pass the virus to adults.

School principals said they are still awaiting guidance on what level 3 will look like in the classroom. 

Senior ministry officials met with education unions and school associations early on Monday to discuss those guidelines. 

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