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    A substitute teacher at Western Guilford Middle School, in Guilford County, North Carolina, was fired after a video surfaced of him body-slamming a student. The student, Jose Escudero, told WGHP that the altercation started because of a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. >> Read more trending news  Jose said the teacher took the box, throwing it into a sink, WGHP reported. The 12-year-old said he waited until end of class to ask for the chocolate to be returned. Jose said he put them in his bag and the substitute teacher tried to grab the candy, WGHP reported.  Jose said the teacher then grabbed him and held him against the wall before throwing him over his shoulder to the ground. The student said he had bruises on his elbow, shoulder and back. Jose’s mother shared the video of Jose falling to the floor on Facebook saying she wants justice. Guilford County Schools spokeswoman Tina Firesheets told WGHP that the teacher is no longer a district employee. The Escuderos told WGHP that they’re looking into legal action against both the school and teacher, whose name has not been released. WSOCTV.COM contributed to this report.
  • A man who claimed his wife disappeared at sea when their boat collided with an unknown object near the Bahamas was charged Tuesday with killing her and intentionally trying to sink the vessel to cover his tracks. Lewis Bennett, 41, is charged with second-degree murder on the high seas in the May disappearance of Isabella Hellman, also 41, of Delray Beach, the FBI said in an affidavit filed in Miami federal court that points to financial greed as the likely motive. The affidavit also notes that Bennett did nothing to search for his wife, but he did rescue a tea set. According to the FBI, Bennett told investigators the night his wife disappeared he had gone below deck on their boat near Cay Sal Bank, Bahamas, to sleep sometime after 8 p.m., activated the autopilot and left Hellman above to keep watch. The FBI said he falsely claimed she disappeared after the supposed accident. Her body has never been found despite an intensive search. Investigators said they found evidence that Bennett had intentionally tried to sink the boat, which was a sailing catamaran. For example, portholes below the waterline had been opened and damage to the twin hulls appeared to have been caused from the inside, according to the FBI. 'The opening of both escape hatches is unexplainable as an accident and defies prudent seamanship,' the FBI quoted a Coast Guard expert as saying. 'It appears the vessel was intentionally scuttled.' In addition, the FBI affidavit said Bennett almost immediately got into a life raft with luggage and other items — including a tea set and a jar of peanut butter— and took no actions to find his wife. They had been married only three months and had been sailing on a delayed honeymoon to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Cuba. 'When asked if he used any of the flares on board the life raft to illuminate the area to facilitate a search, Bennett stated he did not. When asked if he had yelled for Hellman while in the life raft, Bennett indicated that he did not. When asked if he attempted to locate Hellman in the water near the vessel, Bennett also stated he did not,' the FBI affidavit said. Authorities also said there were no navigational hazards in the area and no known loose objects that might cause a collision, such as a floating shipping container or another vessel. Bennett has been attempting to get Hellman officially declared dead in Florida probate court. According to the FBI, if he did so, he would have rights to her home in Delray Beach and also access to her bank accounts. 'This would be a monetary incentive, benefiting Bennett,' the FBI affidavit said. ___ Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt
  • The Latest on the deadly Florida high school shooting (all times local): 1:50 p.m. A group of students who survived the Florida school shooting have started their 400-mile trip to the state capital to pressure lawmakers to act on a sweeping package of gun control laws. The students left Coral Springs on Tuesday afternoon and expect to arrive in Tallahassee in the evening. They plan to hold a rally Wednesday at the Capitol in hopes that it will put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature. The fate of the new restrictions is unclear. Lawmakers have rebuffed gun restrictions since Republicans took control of the governor's office and the Legislature in 1999. But some in the GOP say they will consider the bills. Wednesday will mark one week since authorities say a former student killed 17 students and faculty at Stoneman Douglas High School. ___ 1:15 p.m. Three buses are preparing to take about 100 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students to Tallahassee so that they can pressure state lawmakers to pass more restrictive gun laws. Dozens of reporters and cameras swarmed the students as they prepared to leave. Many of the students wore burgundy T-shirts of the school's colors. They carried sleeping bags, pillows and luggage and hugged their parents as they loaded the bus for the 400-mile journey. Alfonso Calderon is a 16-year-old junior. He says he hopes that the trip will start a conversation between the Legislature, Gov. Rick Scott and the students over commonsense laws on guns. ___ (Corrects to three buses instead of two) 12:20 p.m. Students from several Florida high schools have taken to the streets in a show of solidarity with students from a nearby school where 17 students were gunned down in their classrooms on Valentine's Day. Video footage taken from television news helicopter crews showed several dozen students who walked out of West Boca Raton High School on Tuesday morning, apparently bound for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in nearby Parkland. Many of the students were wearing their backpacks. The distance between the schools is about 11 miles (17 kilometers). Several dozen more students gathered outside Fort Lauderdale High School, holding signs with messages that included 'our blood is on your hands.' On Monday, students at American Heritage High School held a similar protest. Former Stoneman student, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, is charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. ___ Midnight A hundred Stoneman Douglas High School students are busing hundreds of miles across Florida to its capital to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week. After arriving late Tuesday, they plan to hold a rally Wednesday in hopes that it will put pressure on the state's Republican-controlled Legislature to consider a sweeping package of gun-control laws. Shortly after the shooting, several legislative leaders were taken on a tour of the school to see the damage firsthand and appeared shaken afterward. Chris Grady is a 19-year-old senior on the trip. He said he hopes the trip will lead to some 'commonsense laws like rigorous background checks.
  • When an accused teenage gunman opened fire on his former classmates last week, he wore a maroon polo shirt emblazoned with the logo of the school from which he’d been expelled -- Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The name Stoneman Douglas has become synonymous with the tragedy that ended with 17 people dead and the accused killer, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, charged with murdering them. But who was Marjory Stoneman Douglas? Douglas, who died in 1998 at the age of 108, was a journalist and advocate of the women’s suffrage movement. She may be most well-known, however, for her efforts to save the Florida Everglades, which are not far from the school bearing her name. >> Read more trending news Below are some of the details from Douglas’ remarkable life. Marjory Stoneman, who was born in 1890 in Minneapolis, showed a tendency for excellence early on. According to the National Park Service, she graduated with a 4.0 GPA from Wellesley College, where she was elected “class orator.” Following a brief marriage to a man named Kenneth Douglas, she moved to Florida in 1915 to reunite with her father, Frank Stoneman, who she had not seen since she was a child. The first publisher of the Miami Herald, Stoneman hired his daughter as a society columnist.  Moving through various duties at the Herald, Douglas established herself as a noteworthy writer, the National Park Service said. It was as a journalist that she embraced activism, fighting for feminism, racial justice and conservation of nature.  It was around 1917 that Douglas took on a passionate role in advocating for the preservation of the Everglades. NPR reported that most people at the time considered the Everglades “a worthless swamp,” but Douglas disagreed.  “We have all these natural beauties and resources,” Douglas said in a 1981 NPR interview, when she was 91 years old. “Among all the states, there isn’t another state like it. And our great problem is to keep them as they are in spite of the tremendous increase of population of people who don’t necessarily understand the nature of Florida.” Douglas in 1947 published her book, “The Everglades: River of Grass,” described by the National Park Service as the “definitive description of the natural treasure she fought so hard to protect.” Later that year, she was an honored guest when President Harry Truman dedicated the Everglades National Park, according to the National Wildlife Federation.   In the 1950s, Douglas railed against a major project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a system of canals, levees, dams and pumping stations designed to protect marshland -- now used for agriculture and real estate -- from flooding. The National Park Service credits Douglas with fighting the destruction of the wetlands long before scientists realized the effects it would have on Florida’s ecosystem. In 1969, she founded the nonprofit Friends of the Everglades, which continues to fight for the wetlands today.  Co-author John Rothchild, in the introduction to Douglas’ autobiography, described watching her speak at a 1973 public meeting regarding a Corps of Engineers permit: “When she spoke, everybody stopped slapping (mosquitoes) and more or less came to order. She reminded us all of our responsibility to nature and I don’t remember what else. Her voice had the sobering effect of a one-room schoolmarm’s. The tone itself seemed to tame the rowdiest of the local stone crabbers, plus the developers and the lawyers on both sides. I wonder if it didn’t also intimidate the mosquitoes. The request for a Corps of Engineers permit was eventually turned down. This was no surprise to those of us who’d heard her speak.” Douglas was inducted into the National Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Hall of Fame in 1999, and into the National Women’s Hall of Fame a year later.  When discussing the issue of mankind and humans’ attitude toward nature, Douglas pulled no punches. “I’ll tell you, the whole thing is an enormous battle between man’s intelligence and his stupidity,” she told NPR. “And I’m not at all sure that stupidity isn’t going to win out in the long run.” She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She later donated the medal to Wellesley College.  On the same day she received the medal from President Clinton, Douglas was invited to witness the signing of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly called the Brady Bill, according to the Daily Beast. The bill, named for Jim Brady, the press secretary critically injured during the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, established a federal background check for those wanting to purchase a firearm. Cruz passed a background check in February 2017 when he legally bought the assault rifle used in last week’s massacre at Stoneman Douglas. 
  • When two teenagers slaughtered 12 students and a teacher at Columbine High School in Colorado 19 years ago, young people across the country learned the news the old-fashioned way: largely on television and in newspapers. It took days, if not weeks, to process the information and discover the full, horrific story. When a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida high school last week, youngsters around the globe watched the terrifying images and accounts unfold almost in real time. By the end of the day on Feb. 14, children with social media knew the name of the suspect, learned which classrooms the students were in and, in some cases, saw videos of the dead. 'My school is being shot up and I am locked inside. I'm f------ scared right now,' wrote one teen on Twitter. The tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High appears to be the first major school shooting of the social media age in which students shared the shocking images in near-real time with young people elsewhere. Experts say the images have the potential to scar kids watching from afar, potentially triggering post-traumatic stress and perhaps numbing them to the violence and causing them to fall into apathy. But the scenes might also galvanize a generation and lead young people to press for change on the political level. Amy Kohli, a junior at South Broward High School who watched the videos posted from inside Stoneman Douglas, said she believes they helped bring urgency and perspective. 'It becomes so personal because, you think 'It could've been me,'' the 16-year-old said, standing amid other gun safety demonstrators in front of the federal courthouse in Fort Lauderdale. She added: 'It can allow people to see. If they see the blood, they see the real story. What actually happened in reality. Maybe, maybe it'll help.' Already, young people are demanding action. On Tuesday, 100 Stoneman Douglas students headed for Florida's capital to urge lawmakers to prevent a repeat of the massacre. Also Tuesday, dozens of students at a high school in Boca Raton walked out of class. On Monday, teens protested at the White House and in Los Angeles, and a student march on Washington to press for tighter gun control is planned for next month. Seventeen-year-old Nicole Burmeister, who attends a high school a 20-minute drive from Stoneman Douglas, said students in a group chat she is on started posting the videos as the news was unfolding. She struggled with whether watching the footage was the right thing to do. 'They showed the gunshots one right after the other, and then the kids screaming and everything. That one I could sort of watch, but then the next one they showed a body, someone's body on the ground in a puddle of blood,' she said. 'It felt wrong to watch that.' Still, she said: 'I understand people kind of have to take videos like this to shock people. Like really show them how gruesome and how disgusting — the evil that went on this way.' Carina Viera, a senior at Stoneman Douglas, wasn't in one of the attacked classrooms but saw a graphic video posted by another student. She and her friends scrutinized it, wondering if one of the victims was a friend. The person wasn't. She wondered whether seeing the horror on a phone screen was a good thing overall. 'There's also the danger of letting people get too used to it,' she said. 'People also sharing on Snapchat with those captions like with emojis. It makes it seem like, not a joke, but makes it seem a lot less serious than it actually is.' Elisabeth Middleton, an adolescent psychologist in Austin, Texas, who is on the board of the Texas Psychological Association, said there are obvious psychological downsides to exposing youngsters to this. 'It is too much too soon for these kinds of kids. At this age, they're not prepared to deal with these kinds of events,' she said. 'On the other hand, it gives them something to bond around. It's great that they're speaking out and trying to hold the political candidates accountable.' Middleton saw a teenage patient in the days after the shooting, and they talked about her feelings after seeing the story on social media and the news. 'She feels like it could happen and you just have to kind of accept that. And I don't think that's something that kids have thought until recently. That it could happen to them. There's kind of a numbness to it,' Middleton said, adding that social media can exacerbate that feeling for a lot of kids. ___ Associated Press writer Jennifer Kay contributed to this report from Miami.
  • A Florida high school student was arrested Monday after deputies said he brought a knife, gas mask and other disturbing items to school. >> Read more trending news Benjamin Mendoza, 18, was booked into the Collier County Jail on charges of possession of a weapon on school property and interfering/disrupting school administration functions.  Deputies said they received a tip about Mendoza Friday from someone who said Mendoza had brought a gas mask to Palmetto Ridge High School and previously had made disturbing comments to him about the Las Vegas mass shooting. >> Related: FBI didn't investigate tip about Nikolas Cruz before deadly school shooting When confronted at the school, northwest of Naples, detectives found several items in Mendoza’s backpack, including:  A fake, but realistic-looking, Los Angeles Police Department badge;   A drawing of a body with bullet holes to the chest and the words “dead ha ha dead” written on the back of the paper;  A small notebook containing stories and drawings depicting victims and suspects in murders and other crimes;   A Palmetto Ridge High School map; and A note that said “shoot up school” and “school shoot animae (cq) dead.” Other students also told detectives that they saw Mendoza with a knife and gas mask at school. 
  • Authorities are being allowed to shut down a large homeless encampment in Southern California and move hundreds of tent-dwellers into motel rooms under an agreement Tuesday between county officials and lawyers who sued to protect tent-dwellers' rights. U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter lifted a stay Tuesday morning that had blocked the county from making arrests in the riverbed, setting up an impromptu 'courtroom' with a table and chairs in the parking lot of the Honda Center arena, home of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team. People will be moved off a two-mile (3.2 kilometer) long stretch of a riverbed trail in Orange County to motels and other shelter as part of the deal, which is being watched by advocates elsewhere who are seeking solutions for homelessness. The deal came after advocates sued to protect the rights of evicted tent-dwellers, saying they were driven there by a police crackdown on loitering in surrounding cities. The county must conduct clinical assessments of participants and provide food and storage for their belongings. Participants must agree to speak weekly with a case worker and abide by motel rules. The encampment grew over the last several years on the trail near the baseball stadium for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim amid soaring housing costs. Many said they were pushed there after being cited by police for sleeping in parks or on sidewalks. Last week, the judge, known for his unconventional style, led lawyers on a four-hour walk through the trash-strewn encampment. How the tent-dwellers became homeless varies. Some said they couldn't earn enough at their jobs to make rent. Some said they struggled with drug addiction. The case in the county of 3.2 million people between Los Angeles and San Diego is being watched as a potential model for how officials and advocates can address homelessness elsewhere, experts said. Susan Price, the county's director of care coordination, said she believes about 140 homeless people still need housing, and the county has moved more than 200 people to motels since last week. County officials said they are concerned they may not have enough rooms to immediately move everyone off the encampment. 'We see no need to push this process faster than it needs to go,' Leon Page, an attorney for the county, told the judge during the parking lot hearing. 'Not every person is best served by going into a motel room.' Carter, however, said he was concerned that moving too slowly might draw new people into the riverbed as they county is seeking to close the encampment. 'I am most concerned about people coming back into the areas you've cleared,' Carter said. The judge also had a gray shed brought to the parking lot, and asked whether it might be an option to temporarily house some homeless until a longer lasting alternative could be worked out. The shed was the size of one typically used in suburban yards for extra storage. 'People have had plenty of notice,' he said.
  • The National Rifle Association was planning to hold its annual convention in Dallas, but a city lawmaker has asked the gun lobby group to consider finding another host city.  Dwaine Caraway warned the NRA that it will be met with “marches and demonstrations” if the group still holds its three-day meeting in the city in which he serves as mayor pro tem, ABC News reported. The  147th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits are scheduled to be held May 4-6. It is free for all NRA members.  >> Read more trending news  Caraway told ABCNews that he is “putting all citizens first” with his request to the NRA to reconsider. If the group moves the meeting, Dallas could lose up to $40 million from the 80,000 members attending, USAToday reported. The NRA responded after Caraway’s request. Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesperson for the NRA, told WFAA, “No politician anywhere can tell the NRA not to come to their city. We are already there. Dallas, like every American city and community, is populated by NRA members. Our members work in fire stations and police departments. They save lives in local hospitals and own businesses in communities, urban and rural, throughout the country.” >>Complete coverage of 2017 NRA Convention in Atlanta  Fox News reported that Caraway is a gun owner who says he believes in the Second Amendment, but is challenging the NRA to come to the table to work with leaders to increase gun safety through laws. The NRA has come under fire after the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida where 17 students and teachers were killed and more than a dozen were wounded, NBC News reported. The gunman, who is 19 years old, owned 10 rifles, CNN reported. He was able to buy them legally, Fox News and The Associated Press reported. That was despite having previous treatment at a mental health clinic and comments on YouTube, attributed to him, that he was going to be a professional school shooter, the AP reported. The FBI said it couldn’t confirm who posted the comment, the AP reported. Last year, the NRA held its annual convention in Atlanta. President Donald Trump was a keynote speaker during the meetings, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. >>Watch: Donald Trump speech at NRA convention Florida Gov. Rick Scott was also a speaker at last year’s meetings. He currently has an A-plus rating by the NRA, which helped him get re-elected last year, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Students and their families who were directly affected by last week’s shooting are now speaking out against Scott and anyone who has been backed by the NRA. Emma Gonzalez, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, according to the Tampa Bay Times, said that, “These people who are being funded by the NRA are not going to be allowed to remain in office when midterm elections roll around. They’re going to be voted out of office.”  This year’s event guest speakers include NRA CEO Wayne Lapierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Benghazi survivor Mark Geist, Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. and political commentator Tomi Lahren. Related: 
  • Nearly a week after the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school, George and Amal Clooney have announced they will participate in The March For Our Lives on March 24 and have donated $500,000 to the group. >> Read more trending news  The celebrity couple made the announcement in a statement from George Clooney. People reported the donation was made in the name of the couple’s 8-month-old twins Ella and Alexander. “Amal and I are so inspired by the courage and eloquence of these young men and women from Stoneman Douglas High School,” Clooney said in a statement. “Our family will be there on March 24 to stand side by side with this incredible generation of young people from all over the country, and in the name of our children Ella and Alexander, we’re donating $500,000 to help pay for this groundbreaking event. Our children’s lives depend on it.” Related: Gabrielle Union, Kim Kardashian, more celebs call for gun control after Florida school shooting The March of Our Lives event was announced by Students David Hogg, Alex Wind, Cameron Kasky, Jacqueline Coren and Emma Gonzalez, five survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. On Feb. 14, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire at the school, killing 17 people. Related: Florida school shooting timeline: Seven minutes, three floors and 17 dead Cruz has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. The March For Our Lives march will be in Washington, D.C. According to the group’s website, “the kids and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets of Washington DC to demand that their lives and safety become a priority and that we end this epidemic of mass school shootings.”
  • The oldest captive polar bear in the U.S. has died. The Philadelphia Zoo on Tuesday said that the 37-year-old bear, Coldilocks, was in declining health and was euthanized. Zoo officials said Coldilocks had a variety of age-related medical issues, including problems with her kidneys and eyesight, but that visitors wouldn't have been able to tell as the bear pounced playfully on toys, pulling them deep into her pool during early morning dips. 'She was really a great animal,' said Dr. Keith Hinshaw, director of animal health at the zoo. It was 'spectacular' for Coldilocks to far surpass the average 23-year lifespan of a polar bear, he said. The bear took 'a sudden change for the worse' about a week ago when her appetite waned and her activity level decreased, Hinshaw said. Medical tests performed before Coldilocks was euthanized turned up potential liver and spinal problems as well, he said. Dr. Andy Baker, the zoo's chief operating officer, said Coldilocks brought attention to how climate change affects polar bears. She will be greatly missed, he said Coldilocks was born Dec. 13, 1980 at Seneca Park Zoo in New York and arrived at the Philadelphia Zoo about a year later. Her final birthday last year was celebrated with a party at the zoo. She was served a cake of peanut butter, honey, raisins and fish.