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The News You May Have Missed: November 2021

Pledging Allegiance

A California teacher has been put on leave after she admitted to encouraging her students to pledge allegiance to a transgender-pride flag instead of an American flag (Newsweek, Aug. 30). In a video she shared on Twitter, Kristin Pitzen said the Pledge of Allegiance is optional in her classroom: “I always tell my class, stand if you feel like it; don’t stand if you feel like it. Say the words if you want; you don’t have to say the words.” She said one student asked what they would be pledging allegiance to since the classroom has no American flag, which Pitzen removed because it made her “uncomfortable.” Pitzen says she told the student there is a flag in the classroom that he could “pledge allegiance to.” She then shifted her camera to a transgender-pride flag hanging on a wall. In another now-deleted video, Pitzen shows off her classroom, which she decorated for gay-pride month, and says, “I pledge allegiance to the queers.” The Newport-Mesa Unified School District is investigating the incidents.

 

No Horsing Around

A Georgia police officer who ingested horse dewormer to stave off the coronavirus has died from COVID-19 (Independent, Aug. 27). Captain Joe Manning of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office voiced anti-vaccine sentiments and promoted taking Ivermectin on Facebook. In one post, he wrote, “Ok Folks, Wayne Feed and Seed has some liquid and paste Ivermectin, get it while supplies last.” Veterinarians give Ivermectin to horses and other animals to rid them of intestinal worms. Doctors prescribe a different form of the drug to people who suffer from parasitic worms or lice. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against using Ivermectin as it does nothing to prevent coronavirus, noting that the drug meant for humans is not interchangeable with the version intended for animals. “You are not a horse. You are not a cow,” the FDA posted on Twitter. “Seriously y’all. Stop it.” Ivermectin, which can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hypotension, dizziness, ataxia, seizures, coma, and even death, has exploded in popularity among anti-vaccine advocates thanks to its promotion by Fox News personalities Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, and Sean Hannity.

 

The Heights of Relaxation

People in Utah are taking hammocking to new heights. The Weber County Sheriff’s Office took to social media with a warning after seeing an increase in the number of people setting up hammocks between power lines. “Hammockers are climbing up the tower and sometimes between power lines,” the sheriff’s office explained. “These lines carry 75,000 kilovolts, and that power can jump from the lines. This activity is extremely risky.” Hammocking, sometimes called mocking by enthusiasts, has increased in popularity in recent years, though hammocks have been around for centuries. They are lightweight and portable, and many find mocking to be the perfect way to lounge away the hours. But power lines are not the place to do it. “We would really hate to see someone injured from either a fall or electrocution,” the sheriff’s office said (Nexstar, Aug. 23).

 

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