Tuesday, November 23, 2004

In the News

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orange County Library System is barring "unaccompanied" adults from lingering in the children's areas of its 14 branches, a policy that is among the first of its kind in the nation.

As of Nov. 1, adults without children may select items in the children's section, but they cannot read books or loiter in the department, said Marilyn Hoffman, community-relations coordinator.

Hoffman said a specific incident did not lead the county's library board of directors to enact the rules. But Orlando police arrested a man in August after a 15-year-old girl said he tried to molest her at the downtown library. Earlier, the February rape of a girl in a Philadelphia library bathroom underscored the issue of library safety.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland public school students are free to thank anyone they want while learning about the 17th century celebration of Thanksgiving — as long as it's not God.

And that is how it should be, administrators say.

Young students across the state read stories about the Pilgrims and Native Americans, simulate Mayflower voyages, hold mock feasts and learn about the famous meal that temporarily allied two very different groups.

But what teachers don't mention when they describe the feast is that the Pilgrims not only thanked the Native Americans for their peaceful three-day indulgence, but repeatedly thanked God.

Brown, a former social studies teacher, said she was surprised to hear schools aren't teaching about the Pilgrims' faith in God.

Teaching about a secular Thanksgiving counters the holiday's original premise as stated by George Washington in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation: "It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor."

Such omissions also deny the Pilgrims' religious fervor in the celebration of Thanksgiving, as related by Harry Hornblower, an archaeologist who spent years researching the history of the holiday.

According to the Web site Plimoth.org, dedicated to Hornblower's research, the Pilgrims "fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean."

Thanksgiving, the site said, derived from their belief that "a series of misfortunes meant that God was displeased, and the people should both search for the cause and humble themselves before him. Good fortune, on the other hand, was a sign of God's mercy and compassion, and therefore he should be thanked and praised."

But researchers like Hornblower aren't mentioned in classrooms. "We don't focus on religion, because it is not a part of our curriculum," said Sandra Grulich, Cecil County Schools' elementary school curriculum coordinator.


PLANO, Texas - With a calm and dispassionate voice and a hymn playing in the background, Dena Schlosser confessed to the unthinkable, telling a 911 operator she’d cut off the arms of her baby girl.

The woman was sitting in her living room covered with blood when police arrived Monday. Her nearly 11-month-old daughter lay fatally injured in a crib in a bedroom of the family’s apartment in Plano. The child died shortly afterward at a nearby hospital.

Police have charged the 35-year-old mother with capital murder, but declined to reveal where she is being held.

Schlosser, who had a history of postpartum depression, had been investigated on child neglect allegations earlier this year, but Texas Child Protective Services had recently closed a seven-month investigation, concluding that Schlosser did not pose a risk to her children. Neighbors said she seemed to be a loving, attentive mother.


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