August 17, 2001 1 min read

Fighting Words

“We only meant to rob the store; we didn’t want to kill him.” An appropriate topic for teenagers? Not according to an irate parent at Springfield High School in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, who complained after teacher John Zappacosta gave kids the option of writing a first-person essay inspired by the statement. Zappacosta, described in the Philadelphia Inquirer as “an otherwise outstanding teacher” by his assistant principal, apologized.

Security Sack

Fearing that kids might pack weapons along with their lunch, the Chicago Board of Education is spending $58,000 on mesh backpacks for all 2,700 students at Carl Schurz High School on the city’s northwest side, the Chicago Sun-Times says. The see-through bags, which allow security workers to detect banned items, are just the latest in Chicago safety measures since the shootings at Colorado’s Columbine High.

Volatile Reaction

While there may be no use crying over spilled milk, a student at Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington, Massachusetts, has decided it’s worthwhile to sue over a spilled chemical—especially since it was splashed on her. Dara Kerns, 16, is suing science teacher Gary Gaines for allegedly pouring liquid nitrogen on her legs during a classroom demonstration, then refusing to let her visit the school nurse when she complained of pain, the Boston Globe reports. Gaines, whose attorney claims the incident was an accident, no longer works at Minuteman.

Special Hanks

Last spring, Tom Hanks donated $125,000 to help restore the theater at his alma mater, Skyline High School, the Associated Press reports. In return, the Oakland, California, school will honor Hanks’ request to name the theater after Rawley Farnsworth, a retired Skyline drama teacher who directed Hanks there in the 1970s, years before the actor stepped into fame—and pumps—in his first TV hit, Bosom Buddies.