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Journalism Teaching Activities

An introduction to journalism and news teaching activities. This is a free teaching unit that requires critical thinking and exposes students to news, news sources and how to write the news. Writing a good news lead and using the inverted pyramid structure to learn how to write news for both print and televised. A grades 7-10 teaching unit aligned to the ELA standards. These free journalism and media teaching activities are available in both google apps and print format.

Analyze News Trends

All worksheets are created by experienced and qualified teachers. Send your suggestions or comments .

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Teaching Journalism: 5 Journalism Lessons and Activities

5 of the First Activities and Lessons for Journalism Class

You and your students will absolutely love these journalism lessons! The beginning of a new school year can be hectic for journalism teachers who are tasked with simultaneously teaching new journalism students who don’t have any journalism experience while also planning and publishing content for the school newspaper.

If your class is anything like mine, it is a mix of returning and new students. This year, I only have three returning students, so it is almost like I am starting entirely from scratch.

Teaching Journalism: 5 Journalism Lessons and Activities

Here are 5 journalism lessons to teach at the beginning of the year

1. staff interview activity.

One of the very first assignments I have my students do is partner up with a fellow staff member that they don’t know and interview them. This activity works on two things: first, it helps the class get to know one another. Secondly, it helps students proactive their interviewing skills in a low-stakes environment.

For this activity, I have students come up with 10 interview questions, interview one another and do a quick write-up so that students can have practice recording their interviews.

Before this activity, I go over interviewing skills with my students. We discuss the dos and don’ts of interviewing, we brainstorm good interviewing questions, and we talk about the need to go beyond simple answer questions.

2. Staff Bio

Another great activity for the beginning of the year is to have students write their staff bio. This provides students with an opportunity to write in the third person while also providing the most important information.

For my staff bios, I give students 80-100 words. I have them write their bios in the third person and in the present tense.

3. Collaborative News Story

For our first news story of the school year, I like to write one collaboratively as a staff. We go over the basics of journalism writing and then write together in one Google Doc. I do this as a learning activity so that new staff can see how we write journalistically. First, I have students work together in small groups to write the lead. Then, as a class, we craft one together. From there, we move on to building the story.

As we write the story, as a staff, we can then see what kind of information we need. I assign small groups of students to interview people and find quotes. Those groups then add that information to the story.

Once it is written, we edit and review the story together before it is published. This activity is particularly helpful because students get to see how we format quotes in our stories, how we refer to students and teachers in our stories, and how we go about the news-gathering process.

Once our collaborative story is done, new staff then have the green light to begin writing their own stories.

4. The News Determinants

News determinants teaching lesson

You can also read more in-depth about the news determinants with this blog post about teaching the five news determinants .

5. AP Style Writing

As students are writing their first stories, I like to teach students about AP Style . I use this instructional presentation, and students assemble their AP Style mini flip books that they use as a reference all year long.

The news determinants and AP Style lessons are included in my journalism curriculum with many other resources that will make teaching and advising the middle school or high school newspaper much easier.

5 of the First Activities and Lessons for Journalism Class

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Lesson 1: Journalism

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What separates journalism from other kinds of information out there? Would you know reliable reporting if you saw it? This lesson introduces students to journalistic standards and ethics. Students learn basic markers of high-standards reporting based on the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics. They flex their new skills by analyzing a variety of examples to identify what reliable reporting looks like.

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Got a 1:1 classroom? Download fillable PDF versions of this lesson's materials below!

This resource was created with support from the Raab Family Foundation.

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I find the materials so engaging, relevant, and easy to understand – I now use iCivics as a central resource, and use the textbook as a supplemental tool. The games are invaluable for applying the concepts we learn in class. My seniors LOVE iCivics.

Lynna Landry , AP US History & Government / Economics Teacher and Department Chair, California

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Mini-lesson c: algorithms & you, mini-lesson d: privacy policies & you, newsfeed defenders.

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20 Activities to Get Your Middle Schoolers Into Journalism

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1.News Scavenger Hunt: Organize a scavenger hunt for your students to find and analyze news articles. They can bring in clippings, share online links, or even write their own summaries.

2.Interview Practice: Teach students the art of interviewing by having them partner up and practice asking each other open-ended questions.

3.Classroom Newsletters: Encourage students to contribute news stories or opinion pieces to a classroom newsletter, fostering their interest in journalism.

4.School Newspaper: If your school doesn’t already have one, start a school newspaper with your middle schoolers and enlist them as journalists to cover school events, news, sports, and other topics.

5.Guest Speakers: Invite local journalists to speak about their experiences and answer student questions about the field of journalism.

6.Blogger’s Club: Form an after-school club focusing on blogging where students can learn about journalistic writing styles in an online medium.

7.Digital Portfolio: Encourage your middle schoolers to create their digital portfolio of journalistic work that they can showcase later on.

8.Current Events Discussions: Lead regular in-class discussions about newsworthy events and have students consider possible angles for reporting on the story.

9.Collaborative Fictional Storytelling: Have students create a fictional news story collectively, where each student contributes a paragraph or two before passing it on.

10.Mock Press Conferences: Set up a mock press conference with your students acting as journalists and subject matter experts.

11.Journalistic Ethics Debate: Discuss real-life journalistic controversies relating to ethics and encourage students to engage in debates around these issues.

12.Field Trips to Local Media Outlets : Visit local newspapers, television stations, or radio stations with your class so they can see journalism in action.

13.Podcast Club: Create a club centered around creating podcasts where students learn the basics of storytelling through audio journalism.

14.Social Media Reporting: Have students create, curate, and share content through social media platforms using journalistic principles.

15.Op-Ed Writing: Assign students to write opinion pieces on timely events and issues, honing their persuasive writing skills.

16.Video Reporting: Teach students the basics of video reporting by having them film interviews and create their own news videos.

17.Book Review Column: Encourage students to write book reviews for your classroom or school newspaper, highlighting journalism-inspired books.

18.Current Events Quiz: Test your students’ knowledge of recent national and global news by holding weekly current events quizzes.

19.Peer Editing Workshops: Develop peer editing workshops where middle schoolers can critique each other’s journalistic work and foster teamwork and collaboration.

20.Reporter Roleplaying: Provide scenarios where your students pretend they are a field reporter covering a breaking news story, helping them practice their reporting skills.


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Some Mead parents, students frustrated with school district’s response to alleged football player assaults

Outcry over alleged assaults committed by some Mead High School football players intensified Monday after the Mead School District held a meeting on the incident and students staged a walkout over what they say is a lack of transparency.

Some parents walking out of Monday night’s meeting at the high school voiced anger and frustration about the gathering that was only open to Mead football players, their parents and those interested in playing this season.

The incidents stem from June, when a group of Mead High football players restrained two teammates and applied a “massage gun” to their private parts at an Eastern Washington University-hosted football camp, according to an investigation by the district.

District spokesman Todd Zeidler said Superintendent Travis Hanson, incoming athletic director Troy Hughes, principal Kimberly Jensen, head football coach Keith Stamps and a player spoke at the meeting.

Hughes, principal at Northwood Middle School in Spokane, will start his athletic director role July 1, Zeidler said. John Barrington retired from the position Feb. 28, and Lynn Coleman is serving in the interim.

Ziedler said Barrington submitted his retirement paperwork in late fall, and his decision was not related to the alleged assaults.

Zeidler said the meeting was intended to “help give clarity” and not to defend or explain actions the district took. He said Hanson felt they needed to connect with families ahead of on-field football activities later this month.

In a May 1 letter to Mead parents, district officials wrote that they would review the district’s investigation and “put a few rumors to rest” at the meeting.

“We want to assure you that each of us – superintendent, building principal, and the coaching staff – is dedicated to rebuilding trust, reinforcing core values, and ensuring that Panther Football (and all of Mead’s athletics and activities programs) continue to focus on equipping young people to be quality humans and leaders in their community,” the letter said.

Ziedler said the district could not answer certain questions, which the letter said were to be submitted online before the meeting or on a note card at the meeting, because of student and staff privacy concerns and pending litigation.

Some parents claimed they were not allowed to ask questions, which contributed to their frustration.

Ziedler said the district disciplined involved students and staff, but declined to say what the disciplinary measures were or which staff members were disciplined.

“We understand the desire many have expressed for more timely communication and more transparency,” according to a May 6 letter from Hanson and district board members to district families. “That being said, school officials must be cautious to protect the integrity of an investigation process and are bound by legal guidelines and privacy rights afforded to those involved.”

Board members could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

In the district’s May 6 letter, it said the incidents at the camp were “symptomatic of deeper issues.”

“Yes, we must address hazing, intimidation, and targeted physical harassment, but the investigation also uncovered issues of racial harassment and tension that we cannot and will not ignore,” the letter said.

Marcus Sweetser, trial attorney at Sweetser Law Office in Spokane, is representing three victims and their families in the alleged assaults. He was one of the people who showed up at the high school to attend the meeting but was turned away at the door.

“Mead’s attorneys were present at the meeting,” Sweetser said in a statement. “We have submitted a public records request as part of our investigation. We hope Mead timely complies, so that we can get to the bottom of this, and that Mead is more transparent in the future.”

Sweetser said a large focus of his complaint is the several-month period that elapsed from the time a parent notified Mead officials about the alleged assaults to when parents were notified of the camp incidents.

Sweetser said he has not yet filed a lawsuit against the school district and is still collecting evidence.

Mead High School’s resource Deputy Mitchell Othmer submitted misdemeanor fourth-degree assault charges in March for five students to the Spokane County Prosecutor’s Office, according to an email from Othmer to EWU Police Det. Robert Schmitter.

The status of the cases Tuesday was unclear, and the prosecutor’s office could not be reached for comment.

The May 6 letter said the investigation revealed “a troubling pattern of poor choices and interrelated misbehaviors,” and “underlying problems in our school culture.”

In the May 1 letter, officials wrote that many players took part in “inappropriate and offensive behavior that involved elements of hazing, including acts of intimidation and targeted harassment.”

“Details about what happened at team camp came in bits and pieces over an inordinately long period of time, and ultimately, the severity of what took place last summer was fully realized at a time months removed from the actual incidents,” the letter said.

The camp incidents and subsequent investigation have not been lost on Mead students.

Over 100 students walked out of Mead High School on Monday protesting the school district’s response to the alleged assaults and asking for more transparency from the district.

“We’re showing that what was done wasn’t OK,” said Calla Sicilia, a Mead junior. “It wasn’t hazing. It was assault, treading on the lines of sexual assault.”

Senior Adia Torres said the walkout was held Monday in part because of the football meeting that night. She said she hopes the district provides more clarity to parents and students, so students feel safe walking down the hallways at school.

Kadence Jurgens-Prickett, a sophomore, said she and other students don’t feel safe at the school because of the football incidents and others involving bullying, sexual harassment and sexual assault she feels the district has not appropriately addressed.

“We should at least know what is going on because there is so many rumors and things like that,” she said of the alleged football assaults.

Some drivers passing by the front of the school honked in support of the protesters, who held signs like, “Mead should protect our Panthers,” “Is our safety a joke?” and “We need more adult accountability.” Sicilia said other drivers directed vulgar remarks at the students.

Protesters said some students at the school think the football incidents were a joke.

“I’m out here because I feel like what happened to the students was extremely wrong and shouldn’t have happened,” sophomore Aisling Lamanna said.

Senior Sidiq Moltafet told The Spokesman-Review last week that video of the alleged assaults circulated on group chats and text messages late last year. Moltafet, a former Spokesman-Review high school intern, said he is disappointed in the administration’s response to the hazing since videos of the incident were sent to school leadership by parents.

He said many students take pride in a sense of belonging and “close-knit family” at the school, but that is being tarnished by the district’s failure to take action on these matters.

Moltafet said he hopes those involved would be suspended or expelled, but instead officials buried the incidents under the rug.

“I think that failure to take action with the administration is really frustrating the students who are trying to get an education, who are trying to move forward and learn,” Moltafet said.

Editor’s note: This story was changed on May 15, 2024 to remove incorrect information. District spokesman Todd Zeidler said no student shared any video footage of the hazing incident with school officials.

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Fact-checking Megyn Kelly’s claim that a Utah Middle school allows students to be ‘terrorized’ by ‘furries’

A district spokesperson said the school has seen no incidents of biting, licking, costumes or animal behavior.

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Social media users and pundits have accused a Utah school district of allowing students who act like animals to bite, scratch and otherwise antagonize their peers.

Former NBC and Fox News host Megyn Kelly shared a segment from her SiriusXM podcast April 18 on Facebook,  captioned , “School allows students to be terrorized by colleagues who identify as ‘furries.’”

In the video, Kelly identified the school as Mount Nebo Middle School in Payson, Utah, and played a clip showing an April 17 protest, which the participants said was against “furries” in the classroom. Furries are people with an interest in depictions of anthropomorphic, cartoon animals.

The footage showed kids at the protest claiming that other students, whom the protesters repeatedly called furries, “bite,” “scratch” and “pounce” on people.

The school has faced death and bomb threats since footage of the student walkout went viral on social media.

The Facebook post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our  partnership with Meta , which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

Conservative politicians and pundits have repeatedly stoked outrage about furries in schools, including promoting  unsubstantiated myths  that schools have provided litter boxes for furries. Kameron Dunn, a University of Texas at Austin researcher who has studied furries, previously  told us  that furries don’t pretend to be animals; they are interested in “the genre of animal that walks on two feet and talks like a person.”

Seth Sorensen, Nebo School District spokesperson, told PolitiFact the district does not allow students to terrorize their peers. He said rumors about biting, scratching and other animalistic behavior at the middle school were “unfounded.”

“There have been absolutely no incidents of biting, licking, costumes, or animal behavior at Mt. Nebo Middle School,” Sorensen said.

Eleven- and 12-year-old middle school students may sometimes come to school “with a headband that has ears,” or “giant bows,” or “dressed as their favorite athlete,” Sorensen said. He said no students have attended school “wearing masks or animal costumes.” One parent later provided information to a news outlet that appeared to contradict the statement about masks.

Sorensen added that the school has a policy prohibiting harassment and bullying and investigates all allegations of such behavior.

“We are committed to preventing negative behavior and fostering a respectful school community,” Sorensen said. “We take harassment and bullying very seriously and investigate all claims immediately.”

We contacted Kelly and received no response.

Why did students walk out?

We used local news reports, statements from Sorensen and a YouTube video of the protest to better understand what happened in Payson.

Sorensen told  news   outlets  that during the week of April 8, some students began name-calling and throwing food at a small group of students wearing animal-ear headbands.

Following that incident, the school sent an April 12 message to families that said, in part, “We expect ALL students to be respectful towards each other while we are here at school,”  The Salt Lake Tribune  reported. The message  encouraged  students to “treat each other with kindness,” and reiterated the school’s dress code, which prohibits accessories that distract or disrupt learning, and referenced its policy against bullying.

Sorensen said he believed the message was incorrectly interpreted as school administrators taking sides,  The Salt Lake Tribune  reported. By April 14, signatures were collected on an online  petition  that asked school administrators to enforce the district’s dress code policies.

On April 16, school administrators sent a second communication to families, according to Sorensen,  The Salt Lake Tribune  and  KSL News . That letter explained that on April 15 teachers reminded their sixth period students about two of the district’s conduct policies:

  • “According to Nebo School District Policy JDG Dress Code Policy 3.1.8 – Jewelry, accessories, hair, and other elements of a student’s appearance that draw undue attention, distract, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the learning atmosphere at school or at school activities and events, or that create a health, safety, or welfare issue are prohibited.”  
  • “Additionally, according to Policy Nebo School District Policy JDD 2.2 – A written, verbal, or a physical act that creates a hostile, threatening, humiliating, or abusive environment is not permitted.”

It said students were asked to leave at home any clothing or item that “becomes a nuisance item, a distraction to learning or creates an unsafe situation.”

The letter also addressed the discussion of a potential walkout: “While students may exercise their freedom of expression, disruptions to the school day will be handled as needed.”

On April 17, about 75 students and parents gathered outside the school to protest “against the furries,” according to one student who was interviewed off-camera during the protest.

A man named Andrew Bartholomew, whose  wife is   a Republican running  for the  Utah State School Board , posted videos of the protest on YouTube and X.

In the YouTube video, students made claims about what the alleged furries had been doing. Often eliciting laughter from the crowd, students claimed the furries “bark every day, but they only bite like once a week,” “bite ankles,” “scratch us,” and “spray us in the eyes with Febreze if they get a chance” after school and in the halls.

We did not find clear evidence that any students at Mount Nebo Middle School identify as furries.

A mother identified only as Alicia spoke  with KSL News  and said her daughter’s friend group liked to make masks and sometimes wear them to school. But she said the children stopped doing that at the school administration’s request.

Seeming to corroborate this, one student at the protest said the principal had “banned” masks.

Sorensen told  The Salt Lake Tribune  he doesn’t think the students whose headband accessories were cited as the reason for the protests call themselves “furries.” Sorensen also said the district’s dress code means the school can address attire or accessories that distract from student learning.

“We promptly address distractions to learning as well as dress code violations to maintain a positive learning environment for everyone,” he said.

Viral social media posts, including one from the conservative X account Libs of TikTok, sharing clips of the walkout have fueled days of bomb threats against the middle school and death threats targeting school and district staff, according to Sorensen and  KSL News .

Kelly claimed Mount Nebo Middle School “allows students to be terrorized” by peers “who identify as ‘furries.’”

Some students who participated in an April 17 walkout made unverified and disputed claims that other students pretending to be animals had bitten or scratched them.

It’s difficult to say what did or didn’t happen in the school, but a district spokesperson said the school has seen no incidents of biting, licking, costumes or animalistic behavior.

The district has a dress code prohibiting accessories that might cause distractions and policies to prevent harassment and bullying. This behavior is not permitted.

We rate the claim False.

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact , which is part of the Poynter Institute. See the sources for this fact check here .

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The first debate is set for June 27, much earlier than usual. It will appear on CNN. Jake Tapper and Dana Bash will moderate.

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The World Health Organization’s pandemic plan won’t end free speech

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Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa, experts on democracy and AI to lead GlobalFact as keynote speakers

Other speakers at the fact-checking summit include Steve Levitsky, Nikita Roy and Craig Silverman

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Opinion | Q&A: Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst on the perils of covering war

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Opinion | Planning a town hall with candidates? Try a reverse town hall instead.

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Florida debates name, image and likeness rules for high school athletes

  • Jeffrey S. Solochek Times staff

The big story: With the end of the school year near, Florida high school athletics have begun their summer hiatus.

That hasn’t stopped the Florida High School Athletics Association from debating one of the most contentious issues facing schools and students — whether to allow athletes to receive payment for use of their name, image and likeness.

The association’s directors met this week to discuss a proposal that would allow teens to negotiate endorsement deals, but notably without any school or coach involvement. The question remained over whether agents would be able to help.

The proposal also included provision of financial education for student-athletes before they graduate.

“By providing student-athletes with knowledge about potential legal and financial drawbacks associated with NIL activities, high schools can contribute to the overall welfare of their student-athletes,” the proposal says. “The FHSAA stands ready to help its student-athletes succeed in this new sports and business landscape.” Read more from News Service of Florida .

Taxes: The Pinellas County School Board unanimously agreed to ask voters to renew a local-option property tax that supports teacher pay and arts programs.

School leadership: Four Pinellas County schools are getting new principals .

FAMU donation debacle: Florida A&M University trustees are trying to sort out how school leaders were convinced to accept and tout a $237 million gift offer that appears to have no validity , the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Dress code: A girl was turned away from her Collier County charter school’s prom because she wore a suit instead of a dress , WINK reports.

Discipline referrals: Four of seven Volusia County middle schools that hired additional resource officers are reporting a significant decline in student behavior problems , WKMG reports.

Contract talks: The Brevard County school district offered teachers a 1% raise during negotiations, and contradicted a report stating that Florida teachers are among the lowest paid in the nation, Florida Today reports.

Campus closures: Days after Broward County’s superintendent said he would not recommend closing any under-enrolled schools, School Board members put forth a plan to shutter eight campuses , WTVJ reports. More from WSVN .

Book challenges: The National Women’s Law Group filed a federal civil rights complaint against the Collier County school district, alleging its book removals created a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ students and students of color, K-12 Dive reports.

Back to school: Leon County schools will reopen Wednesday after closing because of tornadoes and damage, the Tallahassee Democrat reports.

From the police blotter ... A Duval County middle school officer was arrested on accusations of battery against an adult in the school in November, WJXT reports. The officer also was accused of making inappropriate statements to students.

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Before you go ... Some students walked out on Jerry Seinfeld’s graduation address at Duke University. What’d he say?

Jeffrey S. Solochek is an education reporter covering K-12 education policy and schools. Reach him at [email protected].


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Transgender girl faces discrimination from a Mississippi school’s dress code, ACLU says

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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A transgender girl from Mississippi’s Gulf Coast who wanted to wear a dress to a regional band event was discriminated against when her school insisted she follow a dress code based on her sex assigned at birth, according to a new civil rights complaint.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Mississippi want the Harrison County School District to get rid of its sex-based distinctions in the dress code and stop enforcing the rules in a way that discriminates against girls, according to an administrative complaint filed Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

The ACLU says the district’s dress code violates Title IX, the 1972 law originally passed to address women’s rights. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex by any educational programs or activities that receive federal money. The district rule that students’ clothing must match their sex assigned at birth was added to the dress code policy relatively recently, in July 2023.

The district did not immediately respond to a phone message and email seeking comment Thursday.

FILE - Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves is surrounded by legislative supporters after signing a bill to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls' or women's sports teams on March 11, 2021, at the state Capitol in Jackson, Miss. On Monday, April 29, 2024, Mississippi House and Senate negotiators quietly killed two bills that would have further restricted recognition of transgender people by limiting which bathrooms they could use in public buildings and by specifying that "there are only two sexes, and every individual is either male or female." (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

The complaint was filed Wednesday on behalf of a woman and her daughter, a 16-year-old student at Harrison Central High School. According to the complaint, the school’s principal told the transgender girl she “can’t represent our school dressed like that” by wearing a dress to the band event, and threatened the student with in-school suspension.

Despite pleas to participate, she was told to ask her mother to bring “boys’ clothes” or face exclusion from the event, the complaint said.

The transgender teen’s story “is emblematic of other girls at Harrison County School District who have complained of the discriminatory dress code and hostile learning environment for LGBTQ+ students,” said McKenna Raney-Gray, an LGBTQ Justice Project attorney at the ACLU of Mississippi.

The complaint also wants the Office for Civil Rights to investigate the district focusing on Title IX discrimination.

The girl’s mother said she is deeply concerned about the district’s practices.

“Transgender and gender nonconforming students should not be forced to choose between participating in school events or remaining true to their gender identity,” the mother said.

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