A group representing school board members around the country asked President Joe Biden on Thursday for federal assistance to investigate and stop threats made over policies including mask mandates, likening the vitriol to a form of domestic terrorism. Parents and community members have been disrupting meetings and threatening board members in person, online and through the mail in a trend that merits attention from federal law enforcement agencies, the National School Boards Association said in a letter to Biden. “Whatever you feel about masks, it should not reach this level of rhetoric,” NSBA Interim Executive Director Chip Slaven told The Associated Press by phone. School boards around the country have been disrupted by unruly attendees out to interfere with business and silence other viewpoints.
Teen vaping plummeted this year as many U.S. students were forced to learn from home during the pandemic, according to a government report released Thursday. U.S. health officials urged caution in interpreting the numbers, which were collected using an online questionnaire for the first time. But outside experts said the big decrease in electronic cigarettes use is likely real and makes sense given that young people often vape socially. “They found a dramatic drop from last year and it’s hard to imagine that doesn’t represent a real decrease in use among high school and middle school students,” said Dr. Nancy Rigotti of Harvard University, who was not involved in the research. In the national survey, 11% of high school students and less than 3% of middle school students said they were recent users of e-cigarettes and other vaping products, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. That’s a roughly 40% drop from last year, when nearly 20% of high school students and 5% of middle schoolers said they'd recently vaped. If this year’s numbers hold up, it would be the second big drop in a row, from a peak of 28% for high schoolers in 2019.
Candidates seeking election to statewide offices in Georgia can now legally accept more from each donor. After a Thursday vote by the state ethics commission, people, corporations, political committees and political party can give each candidate up to $7,600 for each primary and general election and $4,500 for each runoff. That's up from $7,000 for primary and general elections and $4,100 for runoffs. Donors can give each candidate for the state House and Senate and local offices up to $3,000 for each general and primary election, an increase from $2,800. Those candidates can take up to $1,600 for each runoff, above the current $1,500 ceiling. The changes take effect immediately.