No, it's not Guantanamo or some medieval torture scene, but an average school in an average American town in the year 2012.
Parents crowding the Farm Hill Elementary gymnasium at a recent PTA meeting were equally staggered by the Conneticut school's controversial "scream room." Got a kid who's acting out in class? No problem. Instead of sending him off to the principal's office, teachers can order the student to what is no more than a padded cell: a windowless, concrete-walled closet.
It's not clear how long students sent to the room are left there. Yet unbeknownst to parents the punishment has been in place for two years, during which custodians have reportedly had to clean up blood and urine. (The school was quick to downplay the blood incident, claiming a kid smeared his cut finger along the wall.)
While school officials insisted the rooms pose no "serious" danger to those confined to them, since their implementation nine students have been taken away by ambulance for medical and behavioural problems.
According to the Middletown Press, so-called 'scream rooms' are uncommon in the States. And state Sen. Ed Meyer claims that the rooms must adhere to certain restrictions: including padding, no locks and visibility by a staff member at all times.
How do you feel about this form of punishment?
Health Canada has recalled the Dolly Daydreams doll and cradle set (number 30263 and UPC 626881302639), as the doll's head contains the phthalate DEHP (Di-Ethylhexyl Phthalate) beyond the allowable limit.
Certain phthalates, including DEHP, can cause "reproductive and developmental abnormalities" when sucked or chewed for extended periods.
Although Health Canada and Toy Galaxy haven't received any reports of incidents or illnesses related to the use of this product, customers are advised to dispose of the item immediately.
For further information, customers can contact Toy Galaxy at 1-905-470-2999.
From August 2011 to December 2011, approximately 2,400 of the doll sets were sold in Canada.
Ahoy there! For a British kid, it wasn't just the stuff of pirate fetishizing schoolboys or even nostalgia pop.
While on a coastal beach in Cornwall, England recently, eight-year-old Stan Rumney found a message encapsulated in a bottle which had traveled 2,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean.
The slimy, seaweed-laden glass container eventually rocked up on the sands of Holywell Bay six months later.
Its sender was a Newfoundland fishing boat out looking for snow crab off. On 4 June Captain Craig Drover — whose four previous bottled messages wound up in Ireland and Scotland — tossed this one overboard his FV Arctic Eagle.
"It's amazing how far a bottle can travel without being destroyed by the elements," said Drover.
Stan's dad Jonathan, from Malabar, Cornwall, said: "It was covered in slime. We opened it up and were really shocked to see how far it had come."