Student Bullied on School Bus for Wearing Make America Great Again Hat
Jay Dawson February 17th 2017 Entertainment
President Trump really has a way of dividing the nation. And it's not just limited to Washington - all over the country, tempers are flaring, protesters are protesting, and everyone is convinced that they're on the right side. It looks like even the kids are getting political now, with one boy in St. Louis recently targeted for wearing one of Trump's infamous "Make America Great Again" hats.
The Shocking Bus Brawl
District school buses have been a pop culture icon for decades, long known as a hotbed for, well, pretty much everything. The Springfield Elementary bus and its stoner driver, Otis, may seem like a satirical joke, but the feelings and incidents on these mini-environments are all too real. The incident that occurred on this Parkway District school bus is just one of many occurring all across the country.
That doesn't make it any less shocking, though. The brawl that erupted on this bus was as swift and terrible as it was unexpected. And you'd never expect it from a group of sixth-grade kids, but the fight began all because of one thing: politics. When this kid was bullied for wearing Trump merchandise, he responded in the only way he knew how. As you'll see in the following video, it all turned very ugly, very quickly.
How It All Started
At first, it was just words. The bullying began on a Parkway District school bus, driving students to an after-school activity. The boy at the center of it all, a sixth-grader called Gavin Cortina, had got on board with a red "Make America Great Again" cap, and two other students took that as a sign to get political. As can be viewed on the video, they begin by taunting Gavin, mocking him and his political views based on his Trump hat.
From there, it escalates, but not before Gavin tries to fight back with some rhetoric all his own. Nobody knows exactly what Gavin's school life was like before the bullying on the bus, but this is probably not an isolated incident. Despite the deep political lines that seem to separate many American families, this kind of behavior usually is restricted to the parents. It seems that his wearing that exact merchandise on this particular day was just the spark needed to set off a long history of bullying.
The Politics Of Missouri
To go deeper into the politics of this particular incident, it's well worth looking at the politics of Missouri. Like many states, the voting for the 2016 presidential election in Missouri turned out in favor of Donald Trump. In Missouri's case, it was a margin of 65% for Trump to 38% for Clinton for the statewide ballot. However, these seemingly overwhelming figures hide a far greater divide.
It's one that we saw all over America. In the major urban centers - St. Louis and Kansas City - the political pendulum went far the other way. In fact, Hilary Clinton was the overwhelming favorite in those counties, getting up to 80% of the vote. However, it wasn't enough for Clinton to win the state. It was just enough to entrench the difficult, and at times acrimonious, battle between urban and rural voters, and neighbors against neighbors.
Sticks And Stones
Maybe they see it on TV, and maybe it's just engendered in the atmosphere of the USA. Either way, the scene that was captured by a student on his cell phone was typical of the kind of problem-solving we frequently see these days. First there is a war of words, with neither party ceding ground. Then, when all else fails, they try to solve the problems with their fists.
Which is exactly what happened on the school bus. After the initial barrage of bullying, Gavin and another student begin with a heated (and no doubt well-informed) debate on the US-Mexico border wall, currently in the works by Trump. As it does, this soon devolved into shouting, then pushing, then pretty soon some punches were being thrown. Yep, that kind of childishness would never happen in DC. Or the world stage.
More About The Wall
So what is it about this border wall that gets people so fired up? Well, the answer to that would require another 5,000 words, but it is useful to go into the history - and current state - of Trump's proposal. Especially since it was used - maybe because Gavin is of Hispanic origin - in their vicious attack on him. Children will always go for the jugular, the Achilles heel, and this was no different.
Barriers on the border of the US and Mexico have been around for almost a quarter of a century, but usually as an ad hoc network in various locations. Trumps proposal, made during his election campaign last year, was for a higher and stronger barrier erected along the length of the border. Paid by Mexico. The problem with this being, of course, that his proposed wall would be just as ineffectual - no more than a xenophobic propaganda tool. And, of course, others would dispute even that.
The Man Behind It All
Trump just seems to have that kind of effect on people. His policies are rarely, if ever, neutral affairs - you either love them with a passion or hate them with the fires of a thousand hells. And that, in a way, is how he took the White House - not with pleasing everyone, but by not caring what people thought at all. Not with a whimper, but with a bang.
Since reaching the White House, his polarity has continued. From thousands of protesters flocking the streets during the days surrounding his inauguration, from dismissals to Supreme Court challenges to scandals, it's been a rollercoaster ride for both Democrats and Republicans. No-one can really tell what's going to come out of his mouth next, or what he's going to do, and it's tearing the nation apart.
He Was Suspended For It
Back to the insane bus fight. This whole incident might have never made it past the ears of a few parents, if one of the students who had filmed it didn't post it online. Really, it's the 12-year-old way of getting famous these days - putting something outrageous on Youtube. Unfortunately for them, it also showed their astonishing lack of foresight.
Once the boys had finished with their own style of confrontational politics, the video was immediately posted and reposted. And once the school administrators found out, they were all in for a fairly unsurprising round of punishment. All three of the main players in the fight - Gavin, his first attacker, and the kid filming the video - were immediately suspended from school and subjected to a week of forced mediation counselling. Clearly smart enough to discuss politics, but not smart enough to keep their fight to themselves.
With the rise of the internet, and every kid in class being able to post anonymously, schoolyard bullying has become a problem like never before. In days gone by, any person getting picked on would only have to face their tormenters at school. Now, with social media, instant messaging, and photo sharing, it's impossible to escape - even at home.
The statistics are alarming. As of 2016, as many as 33% of US students reported that they had been bullied within the last month of the survey. Cyberbullying makes up a large proportion of this crime, since - like we said before - it affords the tormentors a degree of anonymity, and is almost impossible to police. There's no quick fix to this, especially since bullying is not illegal, but swift and sure action is always a good start.
One Unhappy Mother
Gavin's mother, Christina Cortina, was outraged both by the bullying of her son and his suspension. She's a Trump supporter, clearly, and believes that this kind of strange political bullying of children is simply not on. She's claiming that he was innocent all the way. "I feel like my son was made an example of, it was a tricky situation, it was politically charged," she told KMOV St. Louis.
And as the disturbing footage shows, it's not going to stop there. There is one other question to consider, though: why did she let her kid wear a Trump hat to school in the first place? Of course, it's unhelpful to blame the victim, and Gavin isn't really to blame for being harassed on the bus. But this kind of passing on of political views, from a mother to her 12-year-old son, is definitely disturbing.
The Video That's Divided Everybody
Where do you stand on this issue? Do you think Gavin is a poor victim of bullying, or a naïve kid with seriously misguided political views? It's a complex issue, and as we've shown, it doesn't just boil down to Republicans vs Democrats. It's also the story of bullying, of violence as a solution, and of inherited political bias. There's no real solution here, but it's shocking and fascinating nonetheless.
This outrageous video is one that really is dividing the nation. And to find out where you stand, there's no better way than to watch the video yourself. But whatever you think, it's impossible to argue that these kids are the future of America. How we treat them - and how they treat each other - can fundamentally change the course of the world. We can't let anger and fear take control.
50 Extraordinary Women You Won't Believe Actually Exist
Luke Chase May 25th 2016 Entertainment
It's likely that the women in your day to day life are pretty "normal" in appearance. So when you see someone whose appearance differs from what you expect it to be, it can be kind of a shock. The ladies in the following slideshow are definitely far from average. Some of these women spent thousands of dollars on plastic surgery, tattoos, or body piercings. Others are born with strange birth defects such as excessive facial hair, a gigantic butt or even an 8 inch tongue. See for yourself!
Lauren Williams: 4 Foot Long Legs
Lauren Williams has the longest-known legs in the United States, with her eye-catching limbs measuring an incredible 49 inches from hip to heel. Lauren's height and long-legged genes can be attributed to her family as her father, mother and twin sisters are all 6ft or taller.
She has US size 11 feet (UK size 10), and revealed that she can find it tricky to buy clothes that fit. When modelling, single Lauren - who has worked on campaigns for global brands such as Nike - does everything from sports and fitness to high fashion and swimwear.
Having played volleyball in college, as well as being extremely active, Lauren also enjoys shooting sporty campaigns. As well as modelling, Lauren works as an educator at a children's museum in Houston and enjoys travelling. When out and about, her striking looks and long limbs mean she gets comments about her legs on a daily basis.
Pixee Fox: Dangerously Small Waist
Swedish born Pixee Fox had already spent more than $80,000 on plastic surgery attempting to sculpt the perfect hourglass figure. But now she has taken her obsession even further by having 6 of her lower ribs removed - so she can shrink her waist to a record-breaking 14 inches. Pixee, from Sweden, said: "People often come up to me and say, "don't take this the wrong way, but you look like a cartoon" - but for me that's a compliment, that's what I want to achieve.
With 6 of her lower ribs removed, Pixee's lower internal organs, including the liver, have lost some of their natural protection - but she isn't worried. She said: "Before if I was in a car crash I would normally break my ribs. If that happened now I'm probably going to break my spleen instead. In total she has had four rhinoplasties costing $14,000; four breast augmentations of 200cc, 525cc, 800cc and 1400cc costing $28,500; two rounds of liposuction at $5,000; two upper eyelid surgeries at $6,000; a labiaplasty costing $4,000; a Brazilian butt lift at $9,000 and cool-sculpting, cheek injections, and lip injections at about $12,000.
Bethany Hamilton: One Armed Pro Surfer
Bethany Meilani Hamilton-Dirks is an American professional surfer who survived a 2003 shark attack in which her left arm was bitten off, but ultimately returned to-and was victorious in-professional surfing. On October 31, 2003 Hamilton, aged 13 at the time, went for a morning surf along Tunnels Beach, Kauai, with best friend Alana Blanchard, Alana's father, Holt, and brother Byron. Around 7:30 a.m., with numerous turtles in the area, she was lying on her surfboard with her left arm dangling in the water, when a 14-foot tiger shark attacked her, severing her left arm just below the shoulder.
Despite the trauma of the incident, Hamilton was determined to return to surfing. Three weeks after the incident, she returned to her board. Initially, she adopted a custom-made board that was longer and slightly thicker than standard and had a handle for her right arm, making it easier to paddle, and she learned to kick more to make up for the loss of her left arm. After teaching herself to surf with one arm, on January 10, 2004, she entered a major competition. She now uses standard competitive performance short-boards. The broken surfboard that Hamilton was riding during the attack is on display at the California Surf Museum
Mayra Hills: World's Largest Fake Breasts
Mayra Hills - also known as Beshine - measures at 59-28-36 and says she's the proud owner of the world's largest fake breasts. And it's not hard to believe her claim to fame, considering each of her breasts have 10,000 cc of saline implants and weigh 20 pounds a piece! As you can imagine, it's difficult for Beshine, who wears a size 32Z bra, to find clothes that fit, so the German-born woman has a lot of her items custom-made.
But bra shopping isn't her only woe. She can no longer tie her own shoes and has run into trouble when she's knocked things over with her chest - but it appears she's satisfied with her body, troubles and all. "Some people maybe think the sheer size of my t-ts bring too many handicaps in my everyday life, but hey, having big boob problems is amazing," she wrote on her blog.
Anastasiya Shpagina: Real Life Anime Girl
It's official, this real-life anime trend has gotten completely out of hand. Hardly a day goes by that we don't stumble upon some photos of girls going to any lengths in order to look like real live anime characters. Today's example, Anastasiya Shpagina, an Ukrainian girl who has even taken a Japanese name - Fukkacumi. 19-year-old Anastasiya (Nastya) Shpagina has been called "the new Barbie" by national news outlets, but she later revealed she's striving to become a real-life Japanese anime character, not a doll. She even posted "I am not like a doll, a doll is like me."
Apparently, Nastya has been passionate about makeup even as a young child, always experimenting with it in the mirror. Over time she also developed a thing for Japanese cartoons and it was only a matter of time before she started using her make-up artist skills to transform herself into a real-life anime girl. But just putting on makeup wasn't enough to attain that coveted look, so she decided to lose weight in order to seem more genuine. At 1.58-meters-tall, Anastasiya weighs just 39 kilos and is trying to lose one more in order to look just right.
Chanel Tapper: World's Longest Tongue
The longest female tongue measures 9.75 cm (3.8 in) from the tip to the middle of lip and was achieved by Chanel Tappe on 29 September 2010. Chanel, from Houston, US, shot to fame aged 13 when she was spotted sticking out her monster tongue in a YouTube video. In September Guinness invited Chanel to Los Angeles where they measured her tongue and she narrowly beat two other female contenders to the record.
She said: "I have always been silly and goofy. I love sticking my tongue out at people. I started doing that back in school. I've never had a problem with having a long tongue, it's just fun." Chanel now has set her sights set on Hollywood after finishing her studies. She said: "I'd love to be in a movie. I'm certainly pretty dramatic, so I think I could have the acting gift. "Really, I'd love to meet Adam Sandler, he's my favorite."
Sarah Massey: World's Largest Butt
Sarah Massey would be just another 33-year-old mother-of-two from Chicago - if it weren't for the fact that she also happens to have the world's biggest butt. Though not officially recognized by the prudes at Guinness, Massey's massive 7-foot wide keister requires a pair of 10XL trousers that would comfortably fit all of the Kardashian sisters combined.
Massey insists the condition that resulted in her museum-sized bubble butt is hereditary - "there's nothing I can do about it," she says - but that her love of ice cream certainly contributed to its maintenance. Massey would still like to lose some weight, but says she now has a new-found appreciation for her natural assets, and fervently defends them against anyone who calls them fake. "Some people can't believe one person can have this much butt," she told Barcroft. "Because I've got a relatively small frame on top they say, 'that can't be real.' I carry this weight with me all the time, everywhere I go, it's definitely not fake. Big booties are just in my blood."
Zlata: Extreme Flexibility
Russian-born former gymnast Zlata, 29, posed in leather and lingerie to adopt a series of poses that seem to defy every law of biology. Zlata, who now lives in Germany, is able to create astounding shapes with her body and is so flexible she can cram herself into a 50cm square box. One of her favorite acts is to bend backwards at a 90 degree angle, so the back half of her hands touch her feet and she can also peer through her own legs from behind.
Zlata's gift of flexibility was discovered when she was four years old and by six she was training as a contortionist at a circus school. She has a rare condition which makes all her tendons extremely pliable, which helps in her profession. The former gymnast now spends most of her day working out and training for shows around the world. In 2011 she set the Guinness World Record for the most beer bottles opened in a minute using only your feet.
Kim Goodman: Eyeball Protrusion
Kim Goodman is a woman who is able to pop her eyes out of her eye sockets by 12 millimeters (0.47 inches). She holds the world record for the farthest eyeball protrusion. She lives in Chicago, Illinois. She discovered her eyeball popping talent one day when she was hit on the head with a hockey mask. Her eyeballs popped out much further than usual and ever since that day she could pop them out on cue, as well as when she yawns.
She has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman. In 2004, Goodman was included by Guinness World Records in their 50th anniversary list of top ten "feats" of all time. Kim originally had the record for being able to extend her eye balls beyond her eye sockets by 10mm. This was matched a few years by a new contender, but when Kim was re-measured she found she could now reach 12mm - breaking her own record and keeping the title.
Natalia Partyka: One Armed Table Tennis Champ
Natalia Partyka (born 27 July 1989) is a Polish table tennis player. Born without a right hand and forearm, she participates in competitions for able-bodied athletes as well as in competitions for athletes with disabilities. Partyka reached the last 32 of the London 2012 Olympic women's table tennis. Partyka began playing table tennis at the age of seven. She won her first international table tennis medal in 1999 at the disabled World Championships. At the age of 11, she competed at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney, becoming the world's youngest ever Paralympian. In 2004, she won a gold medal in the singles event and silver in the team event at the Athens Paralympics.
Partyka competed for Poland both the 2008 Summer Olympics and the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing - one of only two athletes to do so, the other being Natalie du Toit in swimming. They were her third Paralympic Games, and her first Olympics. Competing in class 10 at the Beijing Paralympics, she won gold by defeating China's Fan Lei by three sets to nil. In 2008, she won a gold medal in the singles event and a silver in the team event at the Beijing Paralympics, repeating her Athens Paralympics result.