By Liz Organ
Local News – Bomb Threat at Hazelbrook Middle School
On the morning of Friday, September 29, Hazelbrook Middle School in Tualatin, Oregon was evacuated after receiving a bomb threat. The threat came after a now viral video of a student-on-student assault — likely filmed for a social media challenge in which students record a fight and put it online for “likes.” In a conversation with the press after the evacuation, Superintendent Susan Rieke-Smith spoke about how those commenting on the video, almost entirely adults, have been focusing on the attacking student’s gender identity. Many online commentators claim, without proof, that the attacker is transgender according to their clothing and appearance. This assumption prompted angry phone calls and threats from people across the country who wrongly assumed that the student had been disciplined differently because of their supposed gender identity. Because the incident concerned minors, and since no permission was given to share information, the gender identity of anyone involved remains unknown.
Update 10/5: Police announced that the arrest of a juvenile has been made October 5. The youth likely faces charges under juvenile law for disorderly conduct and telephonic harassment.
National – Continuing Strike Updates
After 148 days on strike, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) came to an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The new 94 page contract includes an increase in compensation, a new requirement for minimum staff levels in TV writers rooms, improved payment terms for screenwriters and protections for the use of artificial intelligence in the writing process. However, the Screen Actors Guild American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) are still on strike and WGA vows “solidarity forever” while the negotiations happen.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) strike against Detroit automakers is continuing to spread to other factories. Ford and General Motors have continued to refuse the strikers demands but according to the UAW president, Stellantis is making some progress.
The morning of October 4 saw workers of Kaiser Permanente joining the many other strikes after their contract expired September 30. Kaiser Permanente is the largest nonprofit private health-care organization in the United States, and over 75,000 workers have joined the strike. Staffing levels and better pay and benefits remain the focus of the negotiations. Hospital and emergency departments will stay open and doctors, hospital managers and registered nurses will not take part in the strike. However, this still leaves a wide array of Kaiser medical staff able to strike, including nursing assistants, optometrists, pharmacists, X-ray and laboratory technicians, genetic counselors, and many others who support hospital operations.
International – American soldier defected to North Korea, returned
On July 18 of this year, Private Travis King sprinted into North Korea while on a civilian tour of a border village. At the time he crossed the border, King was supposed to be in Texas after pleading guilty to one instance of assault and destroying property for damaging a police car during a “profanity-laden tirade against Koreans.” He had finished serving several months of military detention and was being transported back to the United States when he slipped away from his escort and joined a civilian tour group heading to the border. Once in North Korea he was detained until September 27, when he was expelled and returned to US custody.