School Desk

Kids spar in E-sports tourney


Children and teens matched skills in a video game contest during the first-ever “e-sports tournament” held by the youth committee of Community Board 8 on Feb. 23.

The tournament, held at Kingsbridge Heights Community Center from 6 to 9 p.m., was live streamed on the web.

The evening was a hit with the center’s students.

“I just beat three people and I was fighting for second place,” eighth-grader Dante said in an email. “I lost, but I won third place and earned the third place trophy. It was very exciting and I was on a live stream and I was so happy to be in the top three.”

Eleventh-grader Andy thought he was going to lose right away but ended up going to the championship rounds.
“I started beating all of the good players. It was a miracle when they announced me being in the finals. When I lost in the final, I was happy because I made it there at least and I took second place,” he said in an email.

State officials urge support for transgender, immigrant students at public schools

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and the state’s education commissioner have criticized as dangerous and divisive President Trump’s decision to revoke Obama-era guidelines that allow transgender students in public schools to use bathrooms matching their gender identity.

In a joint statement, Schneiderman and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said they “vehemently objected” to Trump’s Feb. 22 decision.
“We must do everything in our power to create learning environments that are safe and welcoming for all,” Elia said in a statement.

Schneiderman characterized Trump’s decision as “dangerous and divisive” and one that “threatens some of our most vulnerable young people.”

The statement added that while Trump’s decision removes protections for transgender students, it does not remove provisions under federal Title IX—denying a student access to facilities or programming in line with the student’s gender identity could be sex discrimination.

Under the State’s Dignity for All Students Act, school districts prohibit bullying or harassment on school property and at school functions based on gender identity.

In a separate statement on Feb. 27, Elia and Schneiderman urged school districts to ensure that immigrant children continue to enjoy their right to education without fear of reprisals, regardless of the students’ immigration status, and urged schools to safeguard student information.

Families should not have to worry that sending their child to school may result in deportation, Schneiderman said.

“That’s why we’ll ensure that all students remain protected under state and federal laws, no matter the draconian immigration policies that come out of Washington,” he said.

Without the consent of a parent, law enforcement officers may not remove a student from school property or interrogate a student, the statement said. The only exception is if a crime has been committed on school grounds.

Under the federal Family Educational Right and Privacy Act, a parent must give consent to release personally identifiable student information. The exception would be in “very limited situations that do not appear to cover requests from federal immigration officials to access personally identifiable student information,” the statement said.

Former Riverdale Country School teacher sentenced

A former Riverdale Country School teacher who is serving time for having sex with his 16-year-old student has been designated as a level-two sex offender, media reports said.

Richard Hovan was convicted on statutory rape charges in 2015 and is due to be released in April, the New York Post reported.

He was seeking to be classified as the least dangerous, level-one, sex offender, but a judge ruled on Feb. 22 he should register as a level-two offender, the report said.

The former teacher denied having a sexual relationship with his former student but admitted to an inappropriate relationship and some physical contact, according to media reports.