National Roundup

Florida
Teacher accused of calling FFA students ‘murderers’

OCALA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida teacher stands to lose his job after school officials said he bullied and harassed Future Farmers of America students who are raising livestock to be sold for slaughter.

Middle school teacher Thomas Roger Allison Jr., 53, has been placed on unpaid leave from Horizon Academy at Marion Oaks near Ocala for calling the students who are raising livestock “murderers,” according to a Marion County school district letter documenting the case.

In a written recommendation for termination, Superintendent of Schools Heidi Maier said that Allison “has engaged in a repeated, egregious pattern of mistreating, ridiculing, insulting, intimidating, embarrassing bullying and abusing FFA students, crushing their dreams and causing them to feel that they must discontinue FFA activities to enjoy a peaceful school environment.”

The Ocala Star-Banner reports Allison is also accused of harassing the group’s teacher adviser and encouraging his honors science students to harass FAA members.

A district investigation revealed that Allison is on a quest to end the animal agriculture program because of his animal rights beliefs. Maier said he’s also made it harder for FFA students to get good grades in his science class.

Allison told investigators he won’t stop speaking out on animal slaughter, and said he is innocent. He is on unpaid leave pending a hearing before the school board.

“I love working in Marion County and love my students,” he said. “I will fight for my job.”

Allison was named as one of the five finalist for 2016 Golden Apple teacher of the year honors.

Maier ordered the investigation on March 28. It looked into dozens of accusations from teachers, students and parents. The investigation lasted 10 days and resulted in a scathing report.

Allison told students that he was obtaining his certification in agriculture so that he could take the agriculture teacher’s job and stop animal projects, the report states. “This has upset and confused the FFA students, who do not want their academics to suffer because of their involvement with animal projects.”

One agriculture student told investigators that Allison makes her feel like she is doing something wrong.

According to the report, even after Allison was made aware of the investigation, he continued “addressing students antagonistically and cruelly, thus failing in his obligation not to harass or discriminate against any student.”


Ohio
911 call: Man wants police dog to search for stolen heroin

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Police say an Ohio man called 911 to request a police dog to help track down heroin allegedly stolen from him.

WEWS-TV reports a 20-year-old man in Bath Township, near Akron, made the call in January. The recording was released this week.

When the call operator asks why the caller needs a police dog, he replies that a female stole heroin from him.

Bath Police Chief Mike McNeely says it’s among the most bizarre things he’s heard in four decades of policing.

McNeely says the man is expected to face a drug charge after he pulled a brown, waxy substance from his pants while being interviewed by police.

The substance was seized and sent to a lab for testing. The caller was released pending the test results

Louisiana
Two elementary teachers charged with bullying kid

WASHINGTON, La. (AP) — Two elementary school teachers are under arrest in Louisiana after being accused of bullying a child.

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says the child’s mother contacted his office in February and said 44-year-old Ann Marie Shelvin had threatened students who refused to bully her child. Shelvin also was accused of telling the child to “go and kill yourself.”

The sheriff tells local media that Shelvin was removed from Washington Elementary School, but then her replacement, 50-year-old Tracy Gallow, was recorded on school surveillance video pushing and yelling at the child.

The sheriff says both teachers face charges including intimidation and interference in school operations. Superintendent Patrick Jenkins says the school system is investigating. It’s unclear if they have attorneys.

Missouri
Inmate argues religious duty to deal heroin; appeal fails

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A St. Louis man ordered to spend more than a quarter century in prison on drug charges has failed to have his prosecution overturned, despite his argument that he has a religious duty to sell heroin.

In an appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Timothy Anderson did not deny he was a heroin dealer. Instead, he cast himself as “a student of Esoteric and Mysticism studies,” saying he had created a religious nonprofit that aims to get the powerful narcotic to “the sick, lost, blind, lame, deaf and dead members of God’s Kingdom.”

Anderson insisted his prosecution on a 2013 indictment violated federal protections of religious rights because his heroin peddling was an exercise of his “sincerely held religious belief.”

The trial judge last year summarily rejected Anderson’s claims without holding a hearing and barred him from presenting his religious arguments to the jury that ultimately convicted him of conspiracy and of possessing heroin with intention to deal. On appeal, Anderson said U.S. District Judge Rodney Sippel had erred.

The appellate court rejected his appeal Wednesday.

“We note that a reasonable observer may legitimately question how plausible it is that Anderson exercised a sincerely held religious belief by distributing heroin,” 8th Circuit Judge Ray Gruender, a former federal prosecutor, wrote for the three-judge panel.
Gruender said the U.S. government has a compelling interest in prosecuting Anderson, who “has indicated that he will not stop distributing heroin under any circumstances, stating that he ‘does not want to compromise his faith in any way.’”
Court documents and testimony during Anderson’s trial alleged he was the leader of a network of dealers distributing large amounts of heroin in the St. Louis area. Nine other defendants either pleaded guilty or were convicted.
Sippel sentenced Anderson to 27 years on the conspiracy count and 20 years for drug possession, with the terms to be served simultaneously and followed by five years of post-prison supervision.

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