Dresscoded, a new National Women’s Law Center report, shows how school dress codes are applied in ways that are sexist, racist, and classist, with Black girls in particular facing reprimands, shaming, and punishments, including being pulled out of class and sent home from school, for dress code “violations.” Vox reports that dress codes reveal racial bias, for example, by preventing students from “wearing cultural items like headwraps and scarves unless they are for religious purposes. In other parts of the country, dress codes ban black students from wearing hair extensions, certain hairstyles like locs and braids, or even their naturally textured hair. The report also points out that dress codes often contain highly subjective language saying that students should avoid clothing that is too ‘tight’ or ‘revealing.’ This may make it easier for girls with curvier bodies to be arbitrarily punished for wearing the same thing as a smaller classmate. ‘Many dress codes provide the opportunity for adults to police the bodies of Black girls,’ Monique Morris, author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, told me in an email. This is often based on stereotypes that black girls are more sexual and less feminine than girls of other races, she adds. Grace, one of the students I spoke to who participated in the new report, agrees that girls are punished unfairly in school for dress code violations and says that she ultimately hopes schools get rid of them, a desire echoed by the National Women’s Law Center researchers. ‘If schools are places where we are supposed to be training to think ... we need to be treated as such,’ Grace said. ‘There are far more pressing issues inside of schools than what a student wears.’”
Several media organizations have drawn attention to the violent misogynistic ideology that inspired the Toronto attacker who killed 10 people this week. New York Magazine writes that, “since the horrific attack, many have expressed shock and dismay at the fact that something like this could happen in Canada — a relatively nonviolent country that experiences almost none of the gun violence the U.S. routinely does. And yet, not only can it happen, it has happened time and again. In fact, Canada has a long history of gender-based mass killings; three of its worst mass murders committed in the last 30 years have been motivated by hatred of women.” The attacker considered Eliot Rodger, a misogynist and self-identified ‘incel’ who killed six people and injured 14 in a shooting spree in Isla Vista, a role model. “Many incels have a much more sinister, and specific, worldview — one that the Southern Poverty Law Center sees as part of a dangerous trend toward male radicalization online… They see the world through the lens of entitlement: They are owed sex but cannot have it because women are shallow. This manifests in a deep and profound hatred for women as a group, which shows up on a very brief scan of some of the more extreme incel communities... But it’s not just individual women that these radical incels hate — it’s society writ large, a society that allows their perceived sexual oppression to go on. The sexual revolution, in particular, comes in for hate: They believe women being freed to make their own sexual choices, rather than being married off to men and made subordinate, is the reason women can choose to sleep with attractive men and ignore the so-called incels… This is how inceldom becomes a political doctrine: They see themselves as a class, oppressed by a social system that’s rigged in favor of other men.”
The Department of Housing and Urban Development proposed raising monthly rent contributions for families in subsidized housing and encouraging housing authorities to implement work requirements for people receiving housing subsidies. National Public Radio reports that, “under current law, most tenants who get federal housing assistance pay 30 percent of their adjusted income toward rent, and the government kicks in the rest up to a certain amount. According to the HUD plan unveiled Wednesday, the amount many renters would pay jumps to 35 percent of gross income. In some cases, rental payments for some of the neediest families would triple, rising from a minimum of $50 per month to a minimum of $150, according to HUD officials. Some 712,000 households would see their rents jump to $150 per month under the proposal, the officials said. The rent reform overhaul requires congressional approval. If passed, the changes in how rent is calculated could impact many of the 4.7 million families HUD helps to access affordable housing.”
The Hill reports on an effort to place a constitutional amendment on the November ballot in California that would require any new taxes or fees to clear two-thirds supermajorities in the legislature and local fees or taxes – such as taxes on sugary drinks or additional taxes on cigarettes – to secure support from two-thirds of voters. “The amendment would be the most substantial overhaul to California government since Proposition 13, the 1978 ballot initiative that cut property taxes and spun the state into a years-long budget hole. Proposition 13 fundamentally reshaped the way California politicians raised revenue for the state. The initiative required a two-thirds vote in the legislature to hike any future taxes, so the legislature began implementing new revenue-raisers it categorized as fees to get around the tax requirements. Now, the proposed constitutional amendment takes aim at those alternative fees, charges, levies and tolls, for both state and local governments. ‘This is a swing at state and local ability to raise taxes and fees. This is everything that’s been on every Christmas wish list for every anti-tax group in California,’ Kousser said. ‘This would make Prop. 13 seem like a minor adjustment.’” In a staff editorial, the Sacramento Bee criticized the proposal: “This initiative is largely a soda industry play to stop any more local taxes on their products. The beverage industry successfully fought soda taxes, but in 2014 Berkeley became the first city in the nation to pass a local tax on sugary drinks. Oakland and San Francisco followed in 2016. They were all taxes for general purposes that only needed a simple majority to pass. In Berkeley, 76 percent of voters backed the soda tax; it passed with 61 percent in Oakland and 62 percent in San Francisco – which means they would have failed under the proposed two-thirds requirement. … beverage companies and other business groups are prepared to spend tens of millions to get this initiative on the ballot and get it passed… On the other side, the League of California Cities and labor unions have formed a coalition to fight the measure. Next month, the California Association of Counties is also likely to go on record against it. Opponents say the measure threatens to gut basic services, including public safety. With the Proposition 13 limits on property taxes and Proposition 218 requirements, there are already plenty of restrictions on local taxes. And voters and taxpayers always have the final say on any tax hikes. Californians should consider that before signing a petition for this extreme initiative.”
The New York Times reports on the Food and Drug Administration’s crackdown on e-cigarette marketing to youth. “The agency said it had started an undercover sting operation this month targeting retailers of Juuls, including gas stations, convenience stores and online retailers like eBay. So far, the F.D.A. has issued warning letters to 40 that it says violated the law preventing sales of vaping devices to anyone under 21. The agency also demanded that Juul Labs turn over company documents about the marketing and research behind its products, including reports on focus groups and toxicology, to determine whether Juul is intentionally appealing to the youth market despite its statements to the contrary and despite knowing its addictive potential. It said it planned to issue similar letters to other manufacturers of popular vaping products as well… But while the moves pleased some public health advocates and school administrators concerned about the popularity of “Juuling” among adolescents, other groups say they do not make up for the tremendous break Dr. Gottlieb cut the e-cigarette industry last July, when he allowed manufacturers a five-year extension on a rule that would have required them to prove that their products are a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.”
As part of KQED radio’s “Youth Takeover” series, Oakland teenagers share their experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing traumatic events like shootings and law enforcement raids. Eduardo Gomez, who saw a drive-by shooting when he was 11, said, "The anxiety that I had later led to depression because I was devastated with constant nightmares."
Ohio, which had the second highest number of opioid deaths in the US in 2016, is encouraging its schools to adopt a drug abuse prevention education program, the Washington Post reports. The Health and Opioid Prevention Education (HOPE) program, which starts in kindergarten, focuses on equipping kids with the social and emotional skills they need to make safe choices. While state law prohibits the Board of Education from setting health education standards, and the effectiveness of drug prevention programs have long been in question, many educators who have witnessed the effects of the opioid epidemic in their schools and communities are eager to see if this one will work.
The Trump Administration has renewed the 90-day emergency declaration for the opioid epidemic, streamlining the process for federal agencies to deploy specialists and resources. Meanwhile, the bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 is making its way through the Senate. Politico provides an overview of some of the key features, including prioritizing states and tribes with higher rates of opioid misuse, grants for treatment and recovery centers, and opportunities to fast track research.
A blog in Health Affairs proposes approaches for rooting out fraudulent actors exploiting the opioid epidemic, such as treatment centers that provide poor quality services or overcharge for unnecessary services and “patient brokers” who earn commissions connecting people to such centers. Among the challenges is defining and measuring quality treatment.
In Medium, Kadia Blagrove writes about the invisibility of depression in a review of the FX show, Atlanta, which shows the struggles of Al (also known as Paper Boi) as he confronts depression. “As long as you are ‘functioning,’” she writes, “as long as you are physically present, or even, as long as you are fulfilling the needs and desires of others, your struggle with mental illness can, and often times will, go unseen.” Meanwhile, ESPN has a real-life version of the story, providing a look at Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown’s struggle with depression after he was sidelined during a key game in high school. "Looking back, I definitely suffered a [bout of] depression. But people don't want to hear about that. It freaks them out,” Brown told ESPN. "I wish people were more comfortable talking about it. But they aren't, so we keep it to ourselves. We're supposed to be 'a man,' we're supposed to bottle everything up.”