Entries in student (43)


Funeral Held for American Student Killed in Egypt

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An American college student who was teaching kids in Egypt when he was killed last month has left behind an inspiring letter he wrote to a 12-year-old boy, telling him the secret to a happy life was "good friends" and "good deeds."

Andrew Driscoll Pochter, 21, a junior at Kenyon College from Chevy Chase, Md., was watching a protest in Alexandria, Egypt, when he was fatally stabbed on June 28.

At his funeral on Friday at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., Pochter's sister, Emily Pochter, read the letter that Pochter wrote June 10 to a boy named Justin, whom he was paired with at Camp Opportunity, a week-long sleep away summer camp for at risk children in Baltimore.

In the letter obtained by, Pochter apologized to Justin for not being able to be at the ceremony since he was in Egypt teaching English to students who were around the boy's age. Pochter also gives Justin words to live by as he leaves Camp Opportunity and enters the next phase of his life.

"Egypt is hazardous right now because the country is feeling the consequences of an enormous political revolution. I lose electricity and water all the time, but that's okay because I have many Egyptian friends to help take care of me. When I am in trouble, they take care of me and when they are in trouble, I always take care of them," Pochter wrote.

"Good friends do not come easily, but as a rule, I always appreciate the good deeds people do for me even if I don't know them well. What is most important is that I am trying to do my best for others."
Pochter goes on to say that his personal philosophy was inspired by people like Justin. Without whom, he said, he "would probably be a mean and grumpy person."

"Your kind heart and genuine character serve as a model for me. I hope that you will never stop your curiosity for the beautiful things in life," he wrote. "Surround yourself with good friends who care about your future. Fall in love with someone. Get your heart broken. And then move on and fall in love again. Breathe life every day like it is your first. Find something that you love to do and never stop doing that unless you find something else you love more."

"Don't blame others for their mistakes. It makes you weak. You are a strong man who does not need to be weighed down by people who complain and say negative things," Pochter wrote. "Speak with conviction and believe in yourself because your personal confidence is just as important as your education."

Camp Opportunity counselor recruiter Allison Gardner told that she gave a copy of the letter to Pochter's family upon news of his death.

"I felt it was really important to make sure Emily, his sister, and Emily's parents, got a chance to see the letter once Andrew had passed," Gardner said. "It was a beautiful representation of Andrew, so well-written and special."

Gardner said she and Pochter had discussed working on something for Justin's graduation, since he would not be able to be there in person.

"The letter was more special than we even knew once Andrew was killed because it was so recent that he wrote it," she said. "It's something we're all going to cherish now that he's gone."

Pochter had emailed Gardner the letter to give to Justin, whom she and other camp staff have spoken with since Pochter's passing.

"Andrew cared for Justin deeply," Gardner said. "Justin definitely learned a lot from Andrew and I think vice versa. I think they were a good pair."

Pochter had been a volunteer at Camp Opportunity since 2008, Gardner said.

Camp Opportunity issued a statement on its website upon news of Pochter's passing, calling Pochter "an incredibly kind and compassionate young man."

"Andrew, we thank you for your personal contribution to a world where children are victims of birth and circumstance," the statement said. "Your sense of responsibility and servanthood reached well beyond your years. Many live longer than you, but few achieve true significance and achieve such personal greatness as you have."

The Pochter family declined to comment to

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ex-Cheerleader Engaged to Former Student in Sex Scandal

Cody York/Facebook(CINCINNATI) -- A former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and teacher who pleaded guilty to sexual abuse of a teenaege boy, is now engaged to him, her former student.

Sarah Jones, 26, pleaded guilty in October 2012 to sex abuse as a result of her relationship with Cody York, who was 17 when the couple started having sex.

On Thursday, the couple posted photos on their Facebook pages announcing their engagement. Jones’ attorney Eric Deters confirmed that the couple was engaged.

Jones pleaded guilty last year for having sex with York when he was 17 years old. Photos on her Facebook page show the pair announcing their engagement.

Jones met York when she was a 9th grade teacher at Dixie Heights High School.

“There’s absolutely nothing prohibiting [the victim] and Sarah from being together,” Deters told ABC News affiliate WCPO-TV in Cincinnati.

Now 19, York is attending Northern Kentucky University according to his Facebook page. Jones is currently a paralegal for her attorney.

After pleading guilty, Jones was sentenced to five years probation and can never apply for another teaching position.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Student Rants at Teacher in Viral Video

Hemera Technologies/ThinkStock(DUNCANVILLE, Texas) -- A Texas high school student’s rant against his teacher has gone viral on YouTube, prompting the district to look at its teaching procedures.

“If you would just get up and teach us instead of handing ‘em a packet, yo. There’s kids in here that don’t learn like that. … They need to learn face-to-face,” Duncanville High School student Jeff Bliss said in the YouTube video recorded by a classmate. “You want kids to come to class? You want them to get excited? You gotta come in here, you gotta make ‘em excited. To change him and make him better, you gotta touch his freakin’ heart. You can’t expect a kid to change if all you do is just tell him.”

Bliss, 18, was kicked out of class by his history teacher after a discussion escalated between the two. Bliss said that a test required three days to complete, but his teacher demanded that the class complete the test within two days.

In the YouTube video, Bliss was told repeatedly by his teacher to leave the classroom. However, as he made his way to the exit, he continued to tell his teacher that her pedagogical approach was wrong.

“You gotta take this job seriously,” Bliss said in the YouTube video. “This is the future of this nation. And when you come in here like you did last time and make a statement about how, ‘This is my paycheck,’ indeed it is, but this is my country’s future and my education.”

Bliss told ABC News that he wished he’d delivered his message in a different manner.

“As far as my attitude was during the video, that could have been taken better in a better manner,” he said. “But at the same time, I realize we all have our spur-of-the-moments.”

Duncanville School District Chief Communications Officer Tammy Kuykendall told ABC News she understood Bliss’ view.

“He makes a number of valid statements about how schools across America need to change, and it is creating a conversation,” she said. “We have focus groups, student panels, so we listen to students and we will continue to listen.”

Kuykendall added that she does not condemn Bliss.

“I feel it is important to share [that] we don’t blame this student or think he did something wrong,” she said. “There are other ways to go about sharing concerns happening in a classroom. Administrators need to know about that. He makes a number of valid statements.”

Bliss’s mother, Rhonda Bliss, said she is not upset with her son and respects his stance.

“I have told the people I support what he did,” she said. “I am an educator, too, and I understand his passion and I understand his concerns, and I support what he did.”

She said Bliss’s tirade was not specifically aimed at one person alone.

“It wasn’t to the teacher,” she said. “It was to address the bigger issue which is education.”

As for Bliss, he said he hopes his declaration inspires others to take action.

“I’m hoping that maybe this sparks something up in other people, teachers, and parents, and even administrators, as well,” he said. “I’m hoping that maybe they, themselves stand up and also demand more. I hope they go to their sons’ schools or school board meetings and speak and see what’s going on in the schools.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Ohio Student Wins Stalking Order Against Parents

Obtained by ABC(NEW YORK) -- A 21-year-old theatre student has obtained a civil stalking restraining order against her parents after convincing a judge that they attempt to control all aspects of her daily life.

Aubrey Ireland is a theatre major at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, often winning major roles in her school's musicals.  Her latest win wasn't at her prestigious music conservatory, but in court after she filed a civil stalking order against her parents.  

Earlier this month, Common Pleas Court Judge Jody Luebbers ruled in her favor, ordering that her parents must stay at least 500 feet from their only child until September 2013.

"They basically thought that they were paying for my college tuition and living expenses that they could tell me what to do who to hang out with ... basically control all of my daily life," Ireland told ABC News.

The dean's list student's complaints against her parents began when she realized they'd installed monitoring software on her computer and her phone.  They paid unannounced visits, traveling 600 miles from their home in Kansas, to meet with Ireland's department head.

They also accused their daughter of promiscuity, doing drugs and having mental issues to the point where they were considering going to court to order that she get treatment.

"My mom has always been very overly involved," Ireland said.  "I would have to get on Skype all the time to show them that I was in my dorm room, or there were nights I had to leave my Skype on all night and my mom would watch me basically sleep."

The student claims her parents, David and Julie Ireland, have been diagnosed with co-dependency disorder.  Her parents, however, say their daughter is just a good actor, and is lying.  They said she is "an only child who has been catered to all her life."

Because Aubrey has cut all ties with them in a very public way, they now want a refund of the $66,000 they've already paid toward her education.

"We're not bothering her," Julie Ireland said.  "We're not a problem."

But Aubrey said that taking the issue to court was a last resort.

"I never wanted this to happen, that's the last thing I wanted," she said.  "But I wasn't in control of my life at all anymore.  I knew that they were holding me back emotionally, mentally, and professionally and that it got to the point where that was basically my last option."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Family of Missing Arizona State University Student Pleads for Help

Courtesy Seeking The Lost(TEMPE, Ariz.) -- Family and friends are pleading for help in finding an Arizona State University freshman last seen exiting a bar in Tempe, Ariz., on Friday.

Jack Culolias was last seen at Cadillac Ranch bar in Tempe Marketplace, Tempe police said.

His friend, Alec Pinto, was with him that night. They were both pledging the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) and were there as part of a fraternity social -- a bit of fun before they would go through initiation the following week.

"It had nothing to do with hazing at all, it was purely for fun," Pinto said.

Culolias got drunk and was apparently seen urinating off a balcony, which caused bouncers to escort him out of the bar, Pinto said. He has not been seen since.

On Saturday, Pinto got worried after not hearing from Culolias, who he normally talked with or saw every day.

"I was worried that no one had seen him and that he hadn't contacted me," Pinto said.

Pinto called Culolias and went to his dorm to no avail. He later discovered that Culolias' phone had been found at the bar.

On Sunday, as his worry mounted to fear, Pinto decided to try and get a hold of Culolias' family in Orange County, Calif. He eventually reached Culolias' mother, Grace Culolias, and urged her to file a missing person's report.

She filed a report with the ASU Police, but later reached the conclusion that the force was short-staffed. So she drove down to Arizona herself to try to discover where her son was and how to bring him home.

"I felt like I was the one in charge of the investigation," Grace Culolias said.

On Monday, while searching a nearby river basin, an area Tempe police described as "desolate," she found a single red Vans sneaker, one that she knew belonged to her son.

She alerted the Tempe Police Department, which had taken over the investigation.

Culolias said the ASU Police told her the department had searched the area on Sunday night with flashlights, but she was critical of the department's actions during the first crucial hours when her son was reported missing.

"They did not do a good job," she said. "If they would have, they would have found the shoe on the second day instead of the fourth....They should have immediately turned it [the investigation] over."

The Arizona State Police Department did not respond to several ABC News calls for comment.

The Tempe Police Department said it has launched a complete investigation, employing a helicopter, K-9 unit and specialty equipment to search underwater. Investigators have found no evidence of foul play.

Culolias noted Jack was worried about initiation week, or "hell week," as she calls it.

"There is no sign of foul play," she said. "I'm hoping he may have hid because he didn't want to go through hell week. It may have had something to do with the fraternity but, at this point, I don't see any physical evidence."

SAE has a strict no-hazing policy and even condemns excessive drunkenness, Pinto said. The fraternity has started a fund to pay for the Culolias' out-of-pocket expenses while they stay in Arizona to search for Jack. In less than two days, the fund raised $2,712.

On the phone, Grace Culolias spoke of her undying resolve to find her son.

"I am all cried out," she said. "I'm a wreck but I can't sit in a ball and cry; that's not going to bring my son home. I'm at the search site because I want to make sure they [the police] are out here. It's giving me the peace of mind."

Anyone with information on the case is encouraged to contact the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Michigan Student Says Lips Were Stapled Shut Because He Was Jewish

Design Pics/Thinkstock(EAST LANSING, Mich.) -- A 19-year-old college student who was attending a party near Michigan State University early Sunday morning said he was beaten and his lips were stapled together after his attackers asked if he was Jewish, according to police.

Zachary Tennen told police that while he was at a party in East Lansing, Mich., two men punched him after he told them he was Jewish when they asked.

Tennen’s mother told the Indianapolis Star newspaper that the two men raised their arms “in a Nazi salute, chanting ‘Heil Hitler,’” before attacking Tennen. They then allegedly stapled his lips together, forcing a staple into his gums, according to the report.

Tennen told police that the men also said they were part of the Klu Klux Klan, according to Michigan State University’s school newspaper, The State.

According to that report, Tennen awoke from being knocked out and took a cab to a local hospital. He notified East Lansing police of the incident later Sunday morning.

The Tennens did not return calls from ABC News for comment.

According to the Indianapolis Star report, Tennen is now recuperating from surgery at home in Oakland County, Mich.

Despite Tannen's claims, the East Lansing police department said in a statement to ABC News Tuesday that they do not believe the assault was a hate crime. Police said they had interviewed two witnesses and identified a potential suspect, and the investigation was ongoing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


DNA Link Between 'Occupy' Protest and Student's Slaying in Doubt

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A DNA match between material on a slain jogger's CD player in 2004 and on a chain used by Occupy Wall Street to hold open a subway entrance last year now appears very likely the result of the same person having handled both pieces of evidence, not a link between the two events, law enforcement officials told ABC News.

It appeared both DNA samples may have been tainted at a police lab before they were tested by the medical examiner's office, sources told ABC News' New York affiliate, WABC-TV.  The material found on both the CD player and the chain may have come from a member of the NYPD who handled both items, sources said.

The initial disclosure that there was a DNA match suggested the possibility that a protester may have been linked to the sex assault.  That no longer appears to be the case.

The jogger, Sarah Fox, 21, was a student in the drama department of the renowned Julliard School.  She had taken a temporary leave from the school when she disappeared on May 19, 2004, after going out for a run in New York's Inwood Hill Park.

Her body was found naked six days later, surrounded by tulip petals.  She had been strangled.  Fox's CD player was later found in the area during a search for evidence.  No arrest was ever made.

Initial reports said DNA from the CD player was apparently linked to DNA from a chain used during Occupy Wall Street protests on March 28, 2012.

Protesters wearing masks, hoods and gloves chained open the emergency gates to at least three subway stations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, according to Crime Stoppers.  The suspects posted signs that said, "Customers ride for free."  They also taped over the Metrocard readers so that they could not be used.

The DNA was found on the chain used at the Beverly Road subway station in East Flatbush.  Nobody was arrested for the subway protests.  The NYPD had released surveillance video of the suspects chaining the gates.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Investigator Has Suspect in Disappearance of Louisiana Student

Released to Public by Michaela's Family(LAFAYETTE, La.) -- A private investigator hired to help find missing Louisiana college student Michaela "Mickey" Shunick believes that he may have information about a suspect.

John Abdella, a P.I. hired by private donors trying to help solve the case, told ABC News affiliate KATC that he has received two tips from independent sources describing the same person.

“And their description was almost identical,” said Abdella.

Abdella noted there may be two credible suspects in the case, based on the tips he has received in the past week.

“They appear to be very credible and they appear to be very knowledgeable,” Abdella told KATC.  “And I thought it was more than coincidental that both of their descriptions were the same.”

Abdella said he plans to meet with police to share his information about the leads.

For Shunick’s family, Abdella’s information is welcome news as they try to stay focused on finding the 21-year-old.

“Hopefully it takes us somewhere in the next couple of days,” the missing woman’s brother, Charlie Shunick, said.

“Everything we are doing, everything that’s going on here, everything people are doing is to find Mickey.  It has nothing to do with anything else.  Our goal is to find my sister,” Charlie Shunick told KATC.

Abdella said he believes that the Lafayette police, who are the lead agency on the case, are working hard to find Shunick, who disappeared in May while riding her bicycle home from her friend’s house in the middle of the night.  Shunick’s bicycle was later found badly damaged under a bridge about 30 minutes from where she disappeared.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Teacher Imitates ‘Bridesmaids,’ Slaps Student

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MALIBU, Calif.) -- A ninth grade student said she was hurt and humiliated in front of her class after her teacher slapped her, re-enacting a scene from the comedy Bridesmaids.

Dionne Evans was called to the front of her English class at Malibu High School in California on May 22 after she forgot an assignment at home, said her lawyer Donald Karpel.

“[The teacher] said, ‘Have you seen the movie Bridesmaids?  "She then smacked Miss Evans four to six times,” Karpel told ABC News.

The teacher had been referring to a scene in the Academy Award-nominated film in which Melissa McCarthy’s character tries to smack some sense into Kristen Wiig’s character, who is depressed after losing her job and making a spectacle of herself at her best friend’s bridal shower.

Evans hasn’t returned to her English class and has been taking her final exams in the school library, Karpel said.

“She was humiliated, devastated,” he said.

Malibu High School did not return ABC News’ request for comment. Evans’ teacher wrote her a letter of apology, but Karpel said the school and teacher need to do more.  He is pursuing a lawsuit against the school district, principal and teacher and has also filed a police report.

“It has caused a major problem,” he said. “My client is a good student, not a disciplinary student.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missing Louisiana Student's Bike Suffered Significant Damage

Released to Public by Michaela's Family(LAFAYETTE, Louisiana) -- Missing Louisiana student Michaela "Mickey" Shunick's recovered bike suffered significant damage to the rear tire, including a bent rim, authorities said on Wednesday.

The bike was discovered in a muddy basin under a bridge Sunday morning, but authorities had been tight-lipped about its condition.  The bike was about 27 miles from where Shunick, 22, was last seen on surveillance footage riding her bike home from a friend's house at around 2 a.m. on May 19 in Lafayette, La.

"We strongly believe that the person, or perpetrator, drove down to the edge of the water and dumped the bike into the water for it not to be found," Cpl. Paul Mouton of the Lafayette Police Department said.

The fact that the bike was found damaged and dumped near a highway suggests Shunick might have been hit by a car, ABC News consultant and former FBI special agent Brad Garrett said.

"If her bike was hit by a may be able to tell from the damage whether it was intentional or not," he said.  "[There] could be a wealth of information potentially gathered in addition to the location of the bike."

Garrett said the bike could have paint from the suspect's vehicle on it or DNA from Shunick or the suspect.

Authorities are also searching for the drivers of three cars -- a white pickup truck, a four-door Chevy and an older model sedan -- that were spotted on security footage around the same time and in the same area where Shunick was last seen.

"The vehicles we're looking for are just vehicles of interest, not necessarily suspects," Mouton said.  "We know those vehicles were in the area and in the immediate area."

When asked whether police had been able to contact any of the vehicles' drivers, Mouton said, "Not as of yet, but we are working on some things as of now."

Garrett said, "It's very important for them to locate and identify the drivers of the vehicles that were on surveillance tape because one of them could be the suspect, but, equally important, they could be witnesses."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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