A federal judge has ruled that a Bucks County school district did not violate a high school teacher’s free speech when it fired her in 2012 after discovering her personal blog, which disparaged some students as “frightfully dim,” “utterly loathsome” and “whiny.”
In a Friday judgment that blocked the teacher’s lawsuit from going to trial, U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe wrote that the blog failed a long-standing judicial test that balances a teacher’s free speech rights against the interests of a school district to operate efficiently.
Rufe wrote that Natalie Munroe’s blog focused mainly on her personal life, sometimes mentioning unnamed students, their parents and coworkers at Central Bucks High School East. But Munroe rarely addressed issues of greater public concern that are typically protected in free speech cases involving teachers, such as a proposed tax increase or academic integrity, Rufe wrote.
Two men injured in a tandem skydiving accident in Perkasie on Tuesday are expected to survive.
Skydiving instructor Robert Mandic, 41, of Hilltown, Bucks County, suffered broken ankles, broken ribs and a collapsed lung, among other injuries, his mother Katherine Mandic said.
“His spirits are good,” she told The Inquirer by phone on Wednesday. “His main concern was his passenger.”
Bensalem police are looking for the driver in a fatal hit-and-run crash the occurred Thursday on Bristol Pike (Route 13) sometime between 6:35 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.
The crash killed a pedestrian, identified as Vincent Peary of Philadelphia. He was found about 6:45 p.m. on the 4100 block of Bristol Pike.
The vehicle fled the scene before police arrived. But it should have damage to its frontend and possibly to its windshield,
At Tuesday night's Neshaminy School Board meeting, superintendent Robert Copeland delivered a statement about the dispute over whether the student editors of the Playwickian can enforce a ban on the word Redskin in the school newspaper.
In it, he confirmed that Neshaminy High School Rob McGee had confiscated copies of the Playwickian last week after the student editors printed the paper without approval, and said the confiscation was proper given the circumstances. Copeland, who praised the students passion and maturity, also said district administrators expect "respect for school district authority and the rules that govern," and that the students' decision to print the paper is being investigated.
The editors of the paper unanimously agreed to send the school year's final edition to the printer, according to editor-in-chief Gillian McGoldrick, because McGee had told the students the issue would only be approved if they reversed their decision to edit the word Redskin out of an op-ed that had been submitted by another student. The editors responded by removing the op-ed altogether, replacing it with a note explaining the situation, and sending the issue to print, McGoldrick said.
Jury selection began Monday for the trial of a man accused of beating to death a Bucks County native last year near the university he attended in West Virginia.
Kevin Figaniak, 21, who grew up in Perkasie and attended Pennridge High School, was a business major at Wheeling Jesuit University. In September, he and a friend were walking near the school when they encountered a group of other men and a fight ensued, police said.
Figaniak, who was a senior at the university, later died at a nearby hospital. Prosecutors charged Craig Peacock, 22, of Clewiston, Fla., and Jarrett Chandler, 24, of Winnfield, La., in the death.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission reported Tuesday that a wildlife conservation officer determined during a postmortem examination that the bear had been shot with a shotgun and a BB gun.
"There were hundreds of pellets from shotgun wounds under its skin," officer Chris Heil said in a statement.
Even in the 1980s, there was still an Italian-speaking priest at St. Ann parish in Bristol, Father John DiMatteo, who made house calls to the elderly, offering confession in their native language.
And even now, parishioners tell stories of discrimination against their ancestors in the borough at the turn of the century.
Back then, the borough's Catholics only had St. Mark, a church built by Irish and German immigrants, groups well established by the time the Italians started to arrive. And at least one anecdote has the Italians forced to stand outside the church in bad weather during Mass.
State and local officials had a close encounter Wednesday night with Bucks County's second roaming bear of the year - but it's still afoot after a failed capture attempt.
According to Cheryl Trewella, information and education supervisor for the Pennsylvania Game Commission's southeast region, New Britain Township Police spotted the black bear around 8:30 p.m. and called a state wildlife conservation officer to the scene.
The conservation officer, Trewella said, attempted to hit the bear with a tranquilizer dart so that authorities could safely transport it back to the wilderness.