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Deal Reached in Teacher Strike; Dangers of Texting and Driving

Aired September 20, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just love it, and, you know, I`m a really determined, you know, with all that I`ve gone through the past six years, you know, I`ve just been really determined, so I was just determined to go after it. And I was hungry for it.


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so who is that, and what was she so determined to go after? You are going to find out in the next ten minutes. I`m Carl Azuz, this is your Thursday edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS.

The director of a French magazine says his publication is using freedom of expression to comment on the news in a satirical way. And the news that the magazine is commenting on involves the Islamic religion, its prophet Muhammad and an anti-Islam film that led violent protests last week. The French publication is a humor magazine, it has a reputation for being a little outrageous, and it`s using cartoons to comment on the last week`s news. The director says, "The Humorous" aimed at the film, which he calls grotesque. But the cartoons include drawings of a figure who resembles the Prophet Muhammad, and for many Muslims any picture of Muhammad is very offensive, in some Arab countries it would be illegal. It`s not in France. As of Wednesday, there weren`t any reports of violence related to the cartoons, but France was planning to close its embassies in some nations later in the week just in case. The journalists who work at the magazine said they are not trying to provoke anger or violence, the goal is to laugh. One French official said, he supports his country`s freedom of press, but he also said, there is a question of responsibility.

Teachers today`s daily discussion includes some questions on this debate over freedom of expression. You can find it at


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? Atlantis was the last space shuttle built by NASA.

Nope. Atlantis flew the final space shuttle mission, but Endeavour was the last shuttle built by NASA.


AZUZ: The last shuttle is making its last journey this week, but not in the space. NASA ended the space shuttle program last year, and the remaining vehicles are flying off in the retirement. Oh actually they are more like hitching a ride. This is Endeavour piggybacking on a 747 jet. Starting from Florida to Los Angeles where it will become a museum, the other shuttles are going to be on display as well. Endeavour is making some stops, as it travels across the country. Yesterday it touched down in Houston. NASA says, these stops are a good chance for more people to see the shuttle and say good bye. Endeavour is said to make its final landing in L.A. on Friday.

Here is something that hadn`t happened in more than a week. Chicago students heading in the school. Classes have been canceled since teachers went on strike, that strike was suspended on Tuesday evening, in a proposed deal between the teachers and school officials both sides got some victories.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is very much seen as a bit of a give and take. But teachers overwhelmingly are telling us that they are simply relived that it is over, after seven days on the picket line, they are glad to get back to the classroom, and here is what one teacher told us shortly after that vote came down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody is happy to go back to work, get with the kids, it`s been long enough, so I think we`ve accomplished what we wanted to.

A few people are not happy, but you know, no matter what you do, nobody is going to be completely happy, so I think we`ve done the best we could.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s "Shoutout" goes out to Mrs. Westgard`s global studies classes at Dilworth-Glyndon- Felton Middle School in Dilworth, Minnesota.

What was the first U.S. state to ban texting while driving? If you think you know it, then shout it out! Was it California, Delaware, New York or Washington? You`ve got three seconds, go!

Washington passed the country`s first law against texting while driving. It went into effect in 2008. That`s your answer, and that`s your "Shoutout!"


AZUZ: In the year since that ban went into effect in Washington, dozens of other states have passed similar laws. The Department of Transportation is making a big push to cut down on texting while driving, and some companies were getting involved by asking young drivers to sign a promise that they won`t text behind the wheel. George Howell has more.


GEORGE HOWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Drivers know the danger.

(on camera): What happens when you text and drive?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It takes your eyes off the road, you are not focused where you should be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can get hurt, the person in the car can get hurt, people outside the car can get hurt.

HOWELL (voice over): But every day on roads across the country, people here admit it still happens.

(on camera): Do your friends text and drive?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, they do. Some of them do.

HOWELL: Do they think about how dangerous that can be?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They -- not all the time, because it`s just in a moment, on their phone and everything instead of paying attention to the road.

HOWELL (voice over): A recent study on cell phone related crashes estimates that 1.1 million of them involved people talking on hands free or hand held devices, and at least 160,000 crashes involved drivers who were texting. That`s why State Farm insurance is one of many companies, asking drivers to take the pledge, to promise not to text and drive. They set up this driving simulator to put young drivers behind the wheel, and give them a first hand experience of why it`s so important to pay attention to what`s in front of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is like kids running out in the street and soccer balls, and stop signs. There is cars cutting into your lane, so there is quite a bit going on.

HOWELL: I even gave it a shot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put on your seatbelt, let`s get started.

HOWELL: A nearly perfect score on the first try, but then I mixed in texting while driving.

(on camera): I really am a better driver than this.


HOWELL (voice over): But this was just a game.

WIL CRAIG, CRASH SURVIVOR: Anna (inaudible), 40 miles an hour ,she was texting and driving. And she misses the break and she hits the accelerator, propelling us.

HOWELL: Accident survivor Wil Craig is speaking out in a new ad campaign by AT&T, along with Merry Dye, who lost her daughter Maria West in a text-related crash.

MERRY DYE, MOTHER OF CRASH VICTIM: Well, it`s kind of like playing a game of Russian roulette. It`s not a matter of if you`ll have an accident, it`s a matter of when.

HOWELL: Several states have taken steps to reduce the threat of text- related accidents. 39 states already banned drivers from text messaging. Bob Wilson with the National Safety Council says these are steps in the right direction.

BOB WILSON, NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL: It`s a combination of education, some laws, end then enforcement of those laws.

HOWELL: But Wilson says there are still some drivers who don`t get the message. And that puts everyone else on the road at risk. George Howell, CNN, Atlanta.


AZUZ: So you just heard it, even though young drivers know about the dangers of texting while driving, they know it can lead to possibly fatal accidents, it`s still happens. What we want to know, is why. Share your thoughts in our blog,, and if you are already on Facebook, you can talk to us there as well.

On Tuesday, we asked how you felt about the displays of Ten Commandments on public property. Most of you are OK with them. Riley writes, "If we are not allowing someone to display the Ten Commandments, we are restricting their ability to speak and worship freely. People who disagree must consider the rights of the people displaying the Ten Commandments.

From Sarah, the Constitution makes it clear that the government shall not make a law supporting religion, and that freedom of religion shall not be restricted. I don`t think either of there instances fall into those categories.

But Chip says, the Ten Commandments display is not something that needs to be set up at school, because the school might as well post every important religious text, so it does not show favoritism."

And Drew posted that it`s wrong to display the monument, because it can be offensive to people of different religions. But Noel twitted, "I don`t think religious documents cause anybody harm. No one is being forced to look at or believe in what they claim." And Drew twitted, "We have freedom of speech and religion. For someone to try to take that away is what`s truly unconstitutional."


AZUZ: All right, let`s get back to that person we heard at the start of today show. Her name is Victoria Arlen. She is 17 years old, and she is a swimming phenom. Her determination and hunger earned her a spot on Team USA at this year`s Paralympics in London, and she brought home now one, two, but four medals including a gold in the 100 meter freestyle. Victoria talked with CNN recently about her secret to her winning spirit.


VICTORIA ARLEN, 2012 PARALYMPIC MEDALIST: Because I came so close to losing my life, I feel like I`ve been given a second chance. You know, it was actually transverse myelitis that caused me to become paralyzed and fight for my life and you know, when you come so close to losing everything, and you are given the second chance, you know, every day is a gift for me, and every opportunity is a gift, and I just love life and I`m so blessed and so thankful to be here that, you know, there is really nothing that can faze me now, especially with all that I`ve gone through that everything is just incredible and amazing. You know, it`s a blessing.


AZUZ: All right. Before we go, a local harvest festival gets pretty emotional.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got to go to Drew, the farm kid. How are you doing there? Right now, you know, I know he can`t say anything right now, but you know what he is saying right now? E equals M C squared. Get that camera off my face. I`ll take this cantaloupe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, no -- Oh, Dan, don`t make him cry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll make a lousy politician.

That`s terrible. I love that kid.



AZUZ: The reporter probably thought he was just doing a light-hearted report on the festival. He had no idea it would turn into a sob story. The kid was so upset he took his ball and went home. And I know some of our puns make you all want to cry, but we`ll have more tomorrow on CNN STUDENT NEWS. END