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Youths study racial profiling

BOSTON, MASS. - Students are delving into the ins and outs of racial profiling this summer, as they study civic issues in a Boston workshop sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Safety. The program teaches youths their rights and responsibilities in encounters with police and enhances their understanding of the law. The group is producing a video to be used in local schools and to kick off an August campaign for greater public awareness of the issue. The Department of Public Safety also plans to establish a state hotline for reports of suspected racial profiling.

Eritrean students refuse community service

ASMARA, ERITREA - Military police arrested hundreds of university students in Asmara last Friday for refusing to attend a required government summer work program. The students were also calling for the release of their union president, who was arrested two weeks ago for voicing the group's complaints. Despite the pleas, Eritrean authorities are demanding student compliance with the government mandate.

Eritrean students are exempt from the military only so long as they attend universities or join the student summer work program. If the students maintain their staunch resistance to obligatory community service, they will have to join the military - or concede the right to register for school this fall.

Japanese truancy on the rise

TOKYO - Bogged down by the stress of school, exams, and bullying, Japanese students are cutting class in record numbers. In the 2000 school year, 134,000 students were absent from elementary and junior high schools for at least 30 days - an increase of 3.1 percent from 1999. The truants are mostly junior-high-schoolers, 1 in 38 of whom refused to go to school; among elementary students, only about 2 in 50 are avoiding the classroom. Experts attribute the rise in truancy in part to parents' greater openness to alternative education, such as homeschooling and study-abroad programs. In response to truancy and high parental expectations, Japanese schools have hired counselors for students.

Another look at school violence

ATLANTA, GA. - School-related killings occur most often in the weeks after summer and winter breaks, according to a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a study of seven school years, the CDC found that homicide rates decline steadily over the course of each semester, from highs in September and February to lows in December and June. On average, school-related murders occur once a week in America, but in February the rate peaks at one homicide every four days, and September sees one killing every six days. Over the past decade, despite several high-profile shootings, school violence has declined, and fewer than 1 percent of student killings occur on campus.

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