FEDERAL JUDGE PUTS HOLD ON NC VOTER ID LAW FOR PRIMARY: A federal judge in North Carolina said Thursday she would block the law, at least temporarily, as the voter ID lawsuit against the state continues. She said she will make her official ruling next week, but wanted to give advance notice of her decision. The judge, Loretta Biggs, wrote that state elections officials had been planning “a very large statewide mailing” next week to tell voters about the ID law, and she wanted to let them know they wouldn’t need to do that after all. Details of what exactly the judge is planning to order are still not entirely clear. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Stein, who must now decide how the state will react to the judge’s decision, said his office will wait to see the actual ruling next week before making any decisions on how to proceed.
RESIDENTS AT DURHAM HOUSING PROJECT FALL VICTIM TO CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING: At least nine residents of Durham's McDougald Terrace public housing community have been taken to the hospital and treated for elevated levels of carbon monoxide, prompting officials on Friday to go door-to-door checking for the potentially toxic gas. A woman was rushed to a local hospital for an evaluation after first responders found elevated levels of carbon monoxide in her unit at the complex, which is located at 1101 Lawson Street. The discovery has heightened fears at McDougald Terrace, where 344 apartments were checked for CO at the complex, which was first built in 1953. It is Durham's largest public housing community, according to the DHA website, and it has been beset by poverty and violent crime in recent years.
ASHEVILLE TEENAGER TAKES ON CONFEDERATE SYMBOLS AT HER SCHOOL: For years, Aleah Crawford, 15, had seen the Confederate symbol in school. While classmates did not wear the emblem daily, the rebel flag could periodically be spotted on students’ T-shirts, hoodies and hats. A few weeks ago, Crawford decided she would no longer tolerate this sight. Sparked by a social media post and her own growing political awareness, Crawford, a 10th-grader at Erwin High, organized an in-school protest against the dress code of Buncombe County Schools, which permits the Confederate battle flag. "The symbol makes me angry,” Crawford told The Citizen Times. “(Some students) think that it is expressing their Southern pride, and that's the reason why it's not a bad thing for them to wear it at school. But I don't feel like they understand that it's a hate symbol to people of color.” On the morning of Dec. 6, around 20 Erwin High students stood arm-in-arm in a line across their school basketball court to protest the Confederate symbol. Teachers and a uniformed school resource officer hovered nearby. Several students wore colorful bandanas in defiance of the school dress code which prohibits the headwear.
NOT ENOUGH DIVERSITY IN THE RANKS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS: Nationally, a Washington Post analysis of school district data from 46 states and the District of Columbia finds that only one-tenth of 1 percent of Latino students attend a school system where the portion of Latino teachers equals or exceeds the percentage of Latino students. It’s only marginally better for black students: 7 percent were enrolled in a district where the share of black teachers matches or exceeds that for students. Among Asian students, it was 4.5 percent. Meanwhile, 99.7 percent of white students attended a district where the faculty was as white as the student body, The Post found. Over time, the ranks of teachers of color have grown. In 1988, 87 percent of public school teachers were white. By 2016, 80 percent were, according to federal data. Nonetheless, the racial gap between teachers and students has widened as more young people of color have enrolled each year. In 1994, two-thirds of public school students were white; by 2016, fewer than half were.
ANOTHER FEDERAL JUDGE OK'S GEORGIA'S MASSIVE VOTER PURGE: A federal judge on Friday backed Georgia’s removal of nearly 100,000 names from the state’s voter rolls. The decision comes as state officials face accusations of voter suppression, particularly against black and low-income voters. Scrutiny of voting rights in Georgia has been heightened since the governor’s race in 2018 brought long lines at polling sites and criticism of outdated voting machines. In the ruling, the judge, Steve C. Jones, said the lead plaintiff, Fair Fight Action, a voting rights advocacy organization, did not prove that the Georgia secretary of state’s decision to cancel the voter registration status of inactive voters violated the United States Constitution. The judge also ordered the secretary of state to make “diligent and reasonable efforts” through its website and news releases to inform residents about registration, especially residents that have until Monday to re-register to vote ahead of a special election in January for a seat in the state’s House of Representatives.