Friday's show updated you on the British schoolteacher who was arrested in Sudan for letting her 7-year-old students name a class teddy bear "Mohammed": Gillian Gibbons was found guilty of insulting religion and sentenced to 15 days in prison. Her lawyer says she will be forced to leave Sudan afterward.
It wasn't as severe a sentence as she could've received, but we'd like to know what you thought of it...
There are a lot of freedoms taken for granted in the U.S. Sometimes, we don't even realize this until we see those same freedoms restricted somewhere else. Take the second report in Wednesday's show for example: A British schoolteacher working in Sudan was arrested because she allowed her students to name a teddy bear "Mohammed."
Sudan's government says some of the Muslim students' parents were offended, apparently because they felt this was an insult to their religion. And because northern Sudan is under Islamic law, the teacher could be jailed or beaten for the incident. (This week, she was charged with inciting religious hatred.)
Now we have the freedom in America to name the class pet, for example, whatever we want. But imagine how it would be if your teacher – or you, for that matter – could be arrested, jailed or beaten for picking a name that someone else found offensive.
Reporter Chris Lawrence really nailed it in Tuesday's show: "Biodegradable, compostable bag" really doesn't have the same ring as "plastic" when you're at the store. As a former grocery store bagger (it was my very first job), I have to say that plastic bags are easier to pack and carry than paper. On the other hand, I can't count the number of plastic bags I've seen on the side of the road.
It's not known exactly how long it takes for these things to decompose - estimates I found ranged from a hundred years to thousands. One thing that seems certain: The plastic bags we use now are likely to be around a lot longer than we are. But the biodegradable bags mentioned in today's show cost more, and that could spell out higher grocery prices if they appear at a store near you. So the question is this: Would you be willing to pay more for the biodegradable stuff? And if so, how much more would you be willing to pay?
When I was a little kid, my friends and I focused on two big questions every December: "What do you want for Christmas" and "What did you get for Christmas?" We only hoped the answer to the second question would be the same as the first, never really knowing how blessed we were.
I don't think I still own a single toy I got for one of those childhood Christmases. Heaven only knows what happened to my 10-speed bike or radio-controlled dune buggy or Omega Supreme, the biggest Transformer I'd ever laid eyes on. That isn't the stuff that sticks. The picture of my mom in front of the Christmas tree lasted a lot longer. We can still read the thank you letters from some troops we sent care packages to.
Now I'm not gonna get all sappy on you, but I'd like to know what you think is the greatest holiday gift EVER. Name something - large or small, expensive or free - that you think captures the true spirit of the season, regardless of what you celebrate. And we may feature your comment on an upcoming broadcast of CNN Student News!
First off today, I want to thank all of you who've been commenting on our blog. We want this to be a place where your voice can be heard, and it always makes us glad to see that you're logging on and typing in your opinions. (The teachers who've taken the time to enter their students' comments get an honorable mention here!)
Second, I want to wish all of you an awesome Thanksgiving holiday. I always viewed this time as the first real break of the school year; it gives you a chance to catch your breath and hopefully catch up with your family and friends. The turkey package we whipped up for Tuesday's show was meant to be a goofy sort of send-off, and I hope it gave you something to smile about before you left for the holiday. Who knew that Ben Franklin loved turkeys? I didn't think that anyone could be so enthusiastic about something that gobbles.
To say today's report on the death of Megan Meier is tough is an understatement. She's the 13 year old Missouri girl who committed suicide after being harrassed on MySpace. The worst part of the story: the cyber-stalker's profile was a creation of the parent of another teenager. We were shocked when we heard about this story, but we realized it is an important one to tell. It highlights the importance of keeping personal information close to the vest when you go online. Not everyone is what they appear to be. An important lesson to learn. We hope our discussion questions will help your class talk about the story, and help put it in the context it deserves. Let us know how the discussion went in your class.
I first noticed cliques at a dance in 7th grade. Our hair was huge; we reeked of cologne; we thought Bon Jovi songs were romantic. But there was something else I noticed: Most of my classmates were permanently attached to small groups all around the gym. I felt kind-of like a pinball bouncing from place to place because so many of my friends belonged to different cliques.
Thursday, we heard about a school that tried to break up cliques by requiring students to share their lunchtime with different people than usual. Would this work for you? If you're in a really tight group of friends, would you be willing to leave them to spend time with others? And would people have fun or just sit quietly, wishing they were somewhere else?
There's no doubt that it's a scary subject, but MRSA cases are unusual, and as we said Wednesday, there is an antibiotic that can treat them. Like a lot of stories we cover, hearing about MRSA may make you uncomfortable – imagine how I feel when I report on it! But freaking you out is definitely not our goal.The idea is alertness: If you know what to watch out for, you'll know how to stay safe. So today's question is...
Are you at all concerned about this infection? Do you plan on following any of our prevention tips, or do you just feel that it won't affect you or your school?
Friday's show wasn't the first time we've done a special piece for Veterans Day. When searching our library for the World War I and World War II footage that we used in the Fast Facts, I came across a report we filed back in 2003.
However, this was the first time we asked you to contribute to Veterans Day through I-Reports. And I thought the material you sent in was excellent. They not only gave you the chance to be featured on our program; they added a personal touch from you that lets the nation's veterans see they have support across the board.
I'm sure Mr. Bohannan, Mr. Nadjowski, and Mr. Gerhardt are proud. We're certainly proud of them, and I'm proud of you.
On Tuesday, we aired an interesting report about the writers' strike in the entertainment industry. Some entertainment execs said they were covered; between stockpiled scripts and reality shows, there wouldn't be much of a break in their programming. Of course, that didn't go for late-night TV.
But let's imagine for a moment that this strike were to affect every show you normally watch. Could you live without television? If there were nothing on but reruns, would you watch them anyway, or would you spend more time reading, playing sports, watching DVDs, gaming, picking on your little brother...?