Reasons to Weep for the Future|
[Most Recent Entries]
Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Future Weep's LiveJournal:
[ << Previous 20 ]
[ << Previous 20 ]
|Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010|
School uses webcams to spy on students in their homes
Second Student Sues School District Over Webcam Spying
A webcam scandal at a suburban Philadelphia school district expanded Tuesday to include a second student alleging his school-issued laptop secretly snapped images of him.
The brouhaha commenced in February, when a student of Lower Merion School District was called into an administrator’s office. Sophomore Blake Robbins was shown a picture of himself that officials suggested was him popping pills. The family claimed it was candy.
An invasion-of-privacy lawsuit followed, alleging the district had snapped thousands of pictures of its students using webcams affixed to the 2,300 Apple laptops the district issued. Some of the images included pictures of youths at home, in bed or even “partially dressed,” according to a filing in the case. Students’ online chats were also captured, as well as a record of the websites they visited.
The latest allegations Tuesday, brought by an 18-year-old former student who had just graduated from Lower Merion High, came to light in the discovery phase of Robbins’ suit.
Student Jalil Hasan reported his laptop lost December 18, and it was returned to him three days later, according to the suit.
But the LanRev Theft Track program, which the district activated when the computer was reported missing, was never turned off after the computer was given back to Hasan, according to the lawsuit.
The tracking software on Hasan’s computer wasn’t turned off until February 18, when Robbins filed suit, the suit alleges, claiming that at least 469 photographs and 543 screenshots were taken by Hasan’s computer without his knowledge.
Hasan’s suit said the images “were taken without Jalil’s knowledge, without his authorization and to his utter shock, dismay, panic, embarrassment and disgust.”
A federal judge presiding over the matter, who is weighing whether to allow a class-action lawsuit against the district, has blocked administrators from activating the LanRev program again. The district said the cameras were activated only when a laptop was reported stolen or missing — assertions lawyers suing the district dispute.
Two school district employees who controlled the LanRev activation process have been placed on paid, administrative leave.
The district declined comment. Federal prosecutors have also been given evidence generated from Robbins’ suit. Current Mood: infuriated
|Friday, April 2nd, 2010|
Judge awards WBC $16K of their victim's money
If you've never heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, you've probably been living under a rock for the past several years. But anyway, a while one of their victims finally decided he wasn't going to take their shit, and sued them. That a judge would eventually find in the WBC's favor is not especially surprising, since technically (as usual) the WBC did nothing illegal. However, said judge went on to demand that the victim pay THEM $16,000 in legal fees.
These people are human garbage. In a truly just world, they would be getting locked up for the shit they've pulled over the years. Instead, we get to see them handed their own victim's money. When justice has been turned this far upside-down, you know our country is fucked up... or maybe just fucked. Current Mood: mad as hell
|Tuesday, March 16th, 2010|
I figured this would be a good time to bring back future_weep
God damnit, TexasThe nation’s public school curriculum may be in for a Texas-sized overhaul, if the Lone Star state’s influential recommendations for changes to social studies, economics and history textbooks are fully ratified later this spring.
Last Friday, in a 10-to-5 vote split right down party lines, the Texas State Board of Education approved some controversial right-leaning alterations to what most students in the state—and by extension, in much of the rest of the country—will be studying as received historical and social-scientific wisdom.
Some of the ridiculous bullshit they're pushing includes
- A greater emphasis on “the conservative resurgence of the 1980s and 1990s.”
- A reduced scope for Latino history and culture.
- Changes in specific terminology. (capitalism to free market, imperialism to expansionism, etc.)
- A more positive portrayal of Cold War anticommunism.
- Language that qualifies the legacy of 1960s liberalism.
- Thomas Jefferson no longer included among writers influencing the nation’s intellectual origins.
- Excision of recent third-party presidential candidates Ralph Nader (from the left) and Ross Perot (from the centrist Reform Party)
- A recommendation to include country and western music among the nation’s important cultural movements. (The popular black genre of hip-hop is being dropped from the same list.)
Thanks to Texas buying assloads of textbooks, you can be sure this bullshit is going into textbooks everywhere Current Mood: aghhhhh
|Sunday, November 30th, 2008|
|Monday, July 7th, 2008|
Toddlers who dislike spicy food 'racist'
Full article link
Toddlers who turn their noses up at spicy food from overseas could be branded racists by a Government-sponsored agency.
The National Children's Bureau, which receives £12 million a year, mainly from Government funded organisations, has issued guidance to play leaders and nursery teachers advising them to be alert for racist incidents among youngsters in their care.
This could include a child of as young as three who says "yuk" in response to being served unfamiliar foreign food.
The guidance by the NCB is designed to draw attention to potentially-racist attitudes in youngsters from a young age.
It alerts playgroup leaders that even babies can not be ignored in the drive to root out prejudice as they can "recognise different people in their lives".
The 366-page guide for staff in charge of pre-school children, called Young Children and Racial Justice, warns: "Racist incidents among children in early years settings tend to be around name-calling, casual thoughtless comments and peer group relationships."
It advises nursery teachers to be on the alert for childish abuse such as: "blackie", "Pakis", "those people" or "they smell".
The guide goes on to warn that children might also "react negatively to a culinary tradition other than their own by saying 'yuk'".
Staff are told: "No racist incident should be ignored. When there is a clear racist incident, it is necessary to be specific in condemning the action."
Warning that failing to pick children up on their racist attitudes could instil prejudice, the NCB adds that if children "reveal negative attitudes, the lack of censure may indicate to the child that there is nothing unacceptable about such attitudes".
Nurseries are encouraged to report as many incidents as possible to their local council. The guide added: "Some people think that if a large number of racist incidents are reported, this will reflect badly on the institution. In fact, the opposite is the case." Current Mood: blah
|Wednesday, June 25th, 2008|
|Saturday, June 7th, 2008|
MLB demands royalties from Little Leaguers for their names
The baseball uniforms for the Tinley Park Bulldogs look a little different this year.
Gone are the names of Major League Baseball teams that accompanied "Bulldogs" on the front of the kids' jerseys.
Major League Baseball has told those who make uniforms for little ballplayers: Drop the big-league names or face a lawsuit.
No White Sox.
No Phillies, Yankees or Reds.
Why? MLB hurled a fastball at the heads of those who make the uniforms for the little ballplayers: Drop the big-league names or face a lawsuit.
For the Bulldogs, that means no more teams named after any pro franchise.
Because the Bulldogs' uniforms didn't feature official major league team logos, neither the league nor its uniform supplier, SportStation of Tinley Park, had paid a licensing fee for the uniforms.
Late last year, SportStation received a letter from MLB, noting that not only the logos but the team names were trademarked. The letter ordered the company to stop producing the uniforms.
"Does a league have a right to name a local team? Baseball is saying no. That's flying in the face of 100 years of tradition," said SportStation owner Dave Glenn, in business 35 years. "I go out of my way to make sure we use town names, so we make it clear this isn't a major league jersey.
"Now we're told we can't even do that. What it boils down to is the interpretation of the trademark."
Sports are big business, and with billions of dollars at stake, organizations such as MLB go to great lengths to protect their trademarks.
Glenn said he'd never used baseball logos on team jerseys he sold, and ended three months of legal wrangling with MLB by signing an agreement stating he'd continue not to do so. In exchange, MLB promised not to sue over the previous use of franchise names.
At the same time, the many leagues Glenn serves had to adjust. It meant the Bulldogs couldn't use, for instance, the word "Phillies" on a Bulldogs jersey.
If they wanted to do so, they would have to buy jerseys from Majestic Athletic, the exclusive apparel licensee of MLB, which would have been more expensive. Those wouldn't say Bulldogs on them unless even more money was spent to imprint the word or the Bulldogs logo.
"That impacts us," said Steve Bowles, president of the 700-player Bulldogs organization. "We can't have a (Major League) team name or logo on the uniform unless we buy it from Majestic. And when we did a cost comparison of what we had versus that, we can't do it for the same price."
Bowles and his board members huddled, looking for alternatives to present to the parents of the players.
"We were going to look at college names, because the licensing (cost) is different," Bowles said. "We looked at names like the Fighting Irish and the Trojans, etc. About a third of the parents really didn't mind the college names."
Few were absolutely thrilled with the idea, either.
And the concept of new names with no association with baseball or college sports didn't get off the ground.
"It was a level of frustration we didn't need putting a season together," Bowles said.
The youth league president's frustration was shared by many parents.
"I was kind of fired up when I heard about it," said Carl Skanberg, who has a son in the program and coaches a team.
Skanberg, who creates intellectual property in the form of a White Sox parody comic he sells to the SouthtownStar, could understand the position of baseball's licensing arm. But given the relative size of the Bulldogs to big-league baseball, he added, "it's pretty strange that it even came to this."
Some organizations have decided to abandon big-league names. Chicago Ridge's Little League organization went to college names. Bloomingdale went to generic colors.
"They're Bloomingdale Red and Bloomingdale Blue, and that's that," Glenn said. "That was their act of defiance."
Professional and college sports teams and leagues generally protect their trademarks vigorously because they're worth billions of dollars.
While MLB doesn't reveal the extent of its merchandise sales, a sporting goods manufacturers group estimated gross sales of official MLB-branded merchandise at $3.1 billion in 2005, the most recent available estimate. Some of that comes in the form of group sales to youth baseball leagues.
Illegal use of the trademarks has declined in recent years, said Howard Smith, MLB's senior vice president of licensing.
"It's never the youth league, primarily," Smith said. "It's always the retailer. When we find out, we go to him and say, 'You can't do that, and you know that.'
"We're sensitive to this matter. Some parents say, 'Baseball is screwing us,' but we've never, ever sent a cease and desist letter to a youth organization. We want our kids wearing our stuff."
Smith noted that MLB has a royalty-free jersey it sells through Majestic, calling it, "nothing fancy. It says Yankees, but no pinstripes." A Web search found Majestic-made MLB-logoed T-shirts starting at $13.99 at www.hitrunscore.com.
According to Ron Anderson, president of the Worth Athletic Association, it cost his league about $25 to dress a player this year, including buying official logoed hats and T-shirt uniform tops from Majestic through a distributor, before printing a sponsor's name and a number on the back.
"There was a minimal increase this year, but we changed the style of jersey from pinstripe to a solid color, and there was more for printing charges," Anderson said. "I've been involved in Worth for nine years, and we've had Majestic the whole time. I played here as a kid, and we did not have that kind of jersey then."
The Bulldogs board decided to put the names of Major League cities on its uniforms and buy an official cap to match. So a kid on the Royals wears a Kansas City Royals cap and his jersey says "Kansas City" next to "Bulldogs." That seems to have worked.
There was an ancillary benefit. It turned out that buying 700 officially licensed Major League Baseball caps was less expensive than custom-producing a similar number of Bulldogs-logoed caps.
"I think everybody's happy we stuck with the traditional names," Bowles said. "It's always, 'Can Joey be on the Cubs? Or the White Sox?' You want the kids to have fun." Current Mood: annoyed
|Wednesday, May 21st, 2008|
Little League mom goes a bit crazy.
Little Leaguer's Metal Bat Injury Sparks Lawsuit
WAYNE, N.J. (AP) ¯ The family of a boy who suffered brain damage after being struck in the chest by a line drive off a metal bat while playing baseball filed a lawsuit Monday morning against the manufacturer of the bat, the store that sold it, and against Little League Baseball for giving the bat its seal of approval.
The family of Steven Domalewski, who was 12 years old at the time of the June 2006 incident, filed the lawsuit in state Superior Court in Passaic County. It names Hillerich & Bradsby Co., maker of the 31-inch, 19-ounce Louisville Slugger TPX Platinum bat that hit the line drive that crippled Domalewski.
The suit also will name Little League Baseball and the Sports Authority, which sold the bat. It claims the defendants knew, or should have known, that the bat was dangerous for children to use, according to the family's attorney, Ernest Fronzuto.
"People who have children in youth sports are excited about the lawsuit from a public policy standpoint because they hope it can make the sport safer," Fronzuto said after filing the suit Monday morning. "There are also those who are skeptical of the lawsuit and don't see the connection between Steven's injury and the aluminum bat."
Steven was pitching in a Police Athletic League game when he was hit just above the heart by a line drive. His heart stopped beating and his brain was deprived of oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes, according to his doctors.
Although he was not playing in a Little League game, Little League is being sued because they gave their seal of approval to the bat, certifying it as safe for use by children, Fronzuto said.
Little League denies any wrongdoing, as does the bat manufacturer. The Sports Authority has not responded to several telephone messages seeking comment.
|Tuesday, May 6th, 2008|
Teacher fired for "wizardry"
I saw this and could not resist posting itPASCO COUNTY, Fla. -- A Florida substitute teacher says his job disappeared after doing a magic trick in front of his students.
Substitute teacher Jim Piculas made a toothpick disappear, then reappear in front of a classroom at Rushe Middle School in Land O' Lakes, Florida. The Pasco County School District says there were several other performance issues, but none compared to his "wizardry."
"I get a call the middle of the day from head of supervisor of substitute teachers. He says, 'Jim, we have a huge issue. You can't take any more assignments. You need to come in right away.' I said, 'Well, Pat, can you explain this to me?' 'You've been accused of wizardry,'" Piculas explained.
The assistant superintendent with the district said Piculas had other issues, like not following lesson plans and allowing students to play on unapproved computers.
Piculas said he's concerned the incident may prevent him from getting future jobs.
|Monday, February 18th, 2008|
airport security makes sure visa is in order while baby dies
"It should have only taken 10 to 15 minutes to get Michael from the airport to Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women & Children, where he was scheduled to be hospitalized on Friday and examined for a probable heart operation, Fried said.
But immigration officials detained Michael, his mother and Veavea, apparently believing there was "some problem with the visa waiver form for the mother," Fried said. In fact, Fried said, all the travel documents were in order."
, who also mentions the lack of coverage the story is getting, naturally)
|Sunday, October 14th, 2007|
Child’s chalk doodle draws graffiti citation
LinkNEW YORK - Chalk it up to New York City's crackdown on graffiti.
A 6-year-old child's chalk sketches on her family's stoop brought her parents a graffiti-removal notice that threatened a $300 fine.
First-grader Natalie Shea said her mom got a ticket for graffiti and it wasn't even graffiti.
"It was art, very nice art," Natalie said.
But a neighbor in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood saw it differently and dialed the complaint line.
The family was sent a form letter of complaint giving the family 45 days to clean up the graffiti.
Natalie's mom said she'll act more quickly to wash off the doodles in the future.
As for the offending blue flower, it was erased by a heavy rain.
|Tuesday, October 9th, 2007|
In the category of news articles that have slipped through the cracks:School guards attack a 16-year-old girl over cake.
I was half ready to post this to my own blog and then I suddenly remembered this place existed. Current Mood: infuriated
|Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007|
First they came for the dildos
and I did not speak up, because I was not a dildo.
Police Raid Lingerie Shop
LUBBOCK, TX -- An obscure law sends one local lingerie store clerk to jail. And now she may forever have to register as a sex offender.
The lingerie store, Somethin’ Sexy was raided by police last week for violating Lubbock`s sexually oriented business ordinance.
"I feel like I`m in 1690 Salem, Massachusetts and we`re looking for a witch to burn" says the store’s owner.
The witch: the owner of Somethin’ Sexy. He`s speaking out about the raid of his shop and the arrest of his employee. Now, if convicted, the clerk will have to register as a sex offender.
"I think it`s ridiculous. She`s not a sex offender, she was selling something that I had instructed them it was ok to sell, I think it`s ridiculous" he says.
Earlier this month, four officers raided the shop, confiscating several toys deemed to be illegal by the Texas penal code. The code states "a person who possesses six or more obscene devices is presumed to possess them with intent to promote the same." In other words, intent to sell.
But if this is a state law, how do other Texas cities match up?
"We went to several places in Dallas where the merchandise that was deemed obscene here they have in open view on the shelves. Lubbock seems to be taking the most hard line approach that we`ve seen anywhere in Texas" says the owner.
He says not only did he keep the devices out of view, but he says there`s a huge demand for these products.
"We kept it in a closed cabinet, we did not promote it. If someone asked, then we showed them the merchandise. Our guest book, we`ve had over 1500 people sign up to receive emails and mail outs" he says.
The store is still open and the owner says he’s playing by the rules.
"We`ll sell everything that`s legal" he says.
The Lubbock Assistant District Attorney couldn`t speak specifically about this case, but did speak to us in general about obscenity laws and what the definition of obscene is in Lubbock.
"If they tell them this is a candle put in on the birthday cake this is a novelty if they tell you to use it to enjoy sexual gratification, its no longer a candle on the birthday cake" says Assistant D.A. John Grace.
What’s illegal and what’s not when it comes to sexual devices comes down to marketing and intentions.
"If the seller is selling it as a novelty and the buyer is buying it as a novelty to make fun of, then it probably has not reached the level of an obscenity" says Grace.
According to state law, it’s illegal to sell obscene devices with the intention of sexual gratification. But what is an obscene device and who`s going to be the judge of that?
"What’s considered obscene in LA is different than Lubbock and different than Des Moines. The community ultimately decides what is obscene" says Grace.
He says obscenity laws have been on the books as long as they`ve had books as a way of protecting the community from what he calls the secondary effects of obscenity which are child pornography, money laundering and prostitution.
He says it’s not the D.A.’s job to decide whether a law is fair or not but it is their job to enforce it. And if the citizens have a problem with that, it’s their job to take it to the Texas legislature.
"As a voter and a taxpayer, if you think the law is not fair, that’s what democracy is all about. Go talk to your congressman and see if you can get the law changed" says Grace.
|Wednesday, May 2nd, 2007|
|Saturday, April 28th, 2007|
Yes! You CAN get arrested for speaking your mind!
I keep hearing how the American people have had "all of their First Amendment rights taken away" from them in the 9-11 era. By people who, of course, freely accuse the government of doing so without any retribution.
But make no mistake, First Amenment violation does occasionally happen, though for ( other reasons...Collapse ) Current Mood: angry
|Thursday, April 26th, 2007|
|Wednesday, April 25th, 2007|
Those dirty liberals are at it again
For those of you who read newspapers, do you read letters to the editor sometimes?
Do you occasionally see the ramblings of some idiot who doesn't know what they hell they are talking about and do a facepalm? Maybe wonder why
this madness wasn't read and then promptly thrown in a trashcan, perhaps as the editorial staff has a good laugh over such stupidity; but instead was given the go-ahead to be printed?
Well have I got a real gem for you thenGlobal warming isn't real and here is some rock-solid proof that you absolutely cannot deny
For those of you too lazy to click, here is the text of the article:You may have noticed that March of this year was particularly hot. As a matter of fact, I understand that it was the hottest March since the beginning of the last century. All of the trees were fully leafed out and legions of bugs and snakes were crawling around during a time in Arkansas when, on a normal year, we might see a snowflake or two. This should come as no surprise to any reasonable person. As you know, Daylight Saving Time started almost a month early this year. You would think that members of Congress would have considered the warming effect that an extra hour of daylight would have on our climate. Or did they ? Perhaps this is another plot by a liberal Congress to make us believe that global warming is a real threat. Perhaps next time there should be serious studies performed before Congress passes laws with such far-reaching effects.
CONNIE M. MESKIMEN / Hot Springs
Wow, someone get this woman a job at the paper pronto
. What investigative reporting
In all seriousness I really hope this is a joke, but if future_weep has taught me anything, it's that this was probably the person's actual opinion
|Tuesday, April 24th, 2007|
|Tuesday, February 20th, 2007|
This post contains dog scrotum
The word “scrotum” does not often appear in polite conversation. Or children’s literature, for that matter.
Yet there it is on the first page of “The Higher Power of Lucky,” by Susan Patron, this year’s winner of the Newbery Medal, the most prestigious award in children’s literature. The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.
“Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”
The inclusion of the word has shocked some school librarians, who have pledged to ban the book from elementary schools, and reopened the debate over what constitutes acceptable content in children’s books. The controversy was first reported by Publishers Weekly, a trade magazine.
On electronic mailing lists like Librarian.net, dozens of literary blogs and pages on the social-networking site LiveJournal, teachers, authors and school librarians took sides over the book. Librarians from all over the country, including Missoula, Mont.; upstate New York; Central Pennsylvania; and Portland, Ore., weighed in, questioning the role of the librarian when selecting — or censoring, some argued — literature for children.
“This book included what I call a Howard Stern-type shock treatment just to see how far they could push the envelope, but they didn’t have the children in mind,” Dana Nilsson, a teacher and librarian in Durango, Colo., wrote on LM_Net, a mailing list that reaches more than 16,000 school librarians. “How very sad.”
The book has already been banned from school libraries in a handful of states in the South, the West and the Northeast, and librarians in other schools have indicated in the online debate that they may well follow suit. Indeed, the topic has dominated the discussion among librarians since the book was shipped to schools.
Pat Scales, a former chairwoman of the Newbery Award committee, said that declining to stock the book in libraries was nothing short of censorship.
“The people who are reacting to that word are not reading the book as a whole,” she said. “That’s what censors do — they pick out words and don’t look at the total merit of the book.”
If it were any other novel, it probably would have gone unnoticed, unordered and unread. But in the world of children’s books, winning a Newbery is the rough equivalent of being selected as an Oprah’s Book Club title. Libraries and bookstores routinely order two or more copies of each year’s winners, with the books read aloud to children and taught in classrooms.
“The Higher Power of Lucky” was first published in November by Atheneum/Richard Jackson Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, accompanied by a modest print run of 10,000. After the announcement of the Newbery on Jan. 22, the publisher quickly ordered another 100,000 copies, which arrived in bookstores, schools and libraries around Feb. 5.
Reached at her home in Los Angeles, Ms. Patron said she was stunned by the objections. The story of the rattlesnake bite, she said, was based on a true incident involving a friend’s dog.
And one of the themes of the book is that Lucky is preparing herself to be a grown-up, Ms. Patron said. Learning about language and body parts, then, is very important to her.
“The word is just so delicious,” Ms. Patron said. “The sound of the word to Lucky is so evocative. It’s one of those words that’s so interesting because of the sound of the word.”
Ms. Patron, who is a public librarian in Los Angeles, said the book was written for children 9 to 12 years old. But some librarians countered that since the heroine of “The Higher Power of Lucky” is 10, children older than that would not be interested in reading it.
“I think it’s a good case of an author not realizing her audience,” said Frederick Muller, a librarian at Halsted Middle School in Newton, N.J. “If I were a third- or fourth-grade teacher, I wouldn’t want to have to explain that.”
Authors of children’s books sometimes sneak in a single touchy word or paragraph, leaving librarians to choose whether to ban an entire book over one offending phrase.
In the case of “Lucky,” some of them take no chances. Wendy Stoll, a librarian at Smyrna Elementary in Louisville, Ky., wrote on the LM_Net mailing list that she would not stock the book. Andrea Koch, the librarian at French Road Elementary School in Brighton, N.Y., said she anticipated angry calls from parents if she ordered it. “I don’t think our teachers, or myself, want to do that vocabulary lesson,” she said in an interview. One librarian who responded to Ms. Nilsson’s posting on LM_Net said only: “Sad to say, I didn’t order it for either of my schools, based on ‘the word.’ ”
Booksellers, too, are watchful for racy content in books they endorse to customers. Carol Chittenden, the owner of Eight Cousins, a bookstore in Falmouth, Mass., said she once horrified a customer with “The Adventures of Blue Avenger” by Norma Howe, a novel aimed at junior high school students. “I remember one time showing the book to a grandmother and enthusing about it,” she said. “There’s a chapter in there that’s very funny and the word ‘condom’ comes up. And of course, she opens the book right to the page that said ‘condom.’ ”
It is not the first time school librarians have squirmed at a book’s content, of course. Some school officials have tried to ban Harry Potter books from schools, saying that they implicitly endorse witchcraft and Satanism. Young adult books by Judy Blume, though decades old, are routinely kept out of school libraries.
Ms. Nilsson, reached at Sunnyside Elementary School in Durango, Colo., said she had heard from dozens of librarians who agreed with her stance. “I don’t want to start an issue about censorship,” she said. “But you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature.”
“At least not for children,” she added.
|Friday, February 16th, 2007|
Christian pediatrician denies child service because parents are tattooed
BAKERSFIELD - A family is turned away by a local pediatrician, they say because of the way they look.
The doctor said he is just following his beliefs, creating a Christian atmosphere for his patients.
Tasha Childress said it’s discrimination.
She said Dr. Gary Merrill wouldn’t treat her daughter for an ear infection because Tasha, the mother, has tattoos.
The writing is on the wall—literally: “This is a private office. Appearance and behavior standards apply.”
For Dr. Gary Merrill of Christian Medical Services, that means no tattoos, body piercings, and a host of other requirements—all standards Merrill has set based upon his Christian faith.
“She had to go that entire night with her ear infection with no medicine because he has his policy,” Tasha Childress said.
Merrill won’t speak on camera, but said based on his values and beliefs, he has standards that he expects in his office.
He does that, he said, to ensure the patients he does accept have a more comfortable atmosphere.
According to the American Medical Association and other doctors, he reserves that right.
“In the same sense that any other business person has the opportunity to decline service, be it a restaurant if they’re not dressed properly, be it any other type of business,” said Dr. Ronald Morton, Kern County Medical Society.
Morton said certain ethics apply if a person’s life is in danger, but besides that, there is no requirement to serve anyone they don’t approve of.
“I felt totally discriminated against, like I wasn’t good enough to talk to,” Tasha Childress said, “like he didn’t have to give me any reason for not wanting to see my daughter because I have tattoos and piercings.”
17 News found other patients who had a different experience with Merrill.
“I have tattoos, actually, and no, nothing’s ever been said about it,” Brandi Stanley said, Merrill’s patient.
Childress’ insurance company, Health Net of California, who referred her to Merrill, said in a statement: “We provide our customers with a wide breadth of doctors that meet certain medical quality standards … If a customer doesn’t feel comfortable with a particular physician, it is our responsibility to provide that customer with access to another doctor who does meet their needs.”
But that’s not enough for Childress who wants the policy changed immediately and an apology from the doctor for making her feel like an outsider.
“Really, it didn’t matter what he didn’t want to see us for. It isn’t right,” she said.
If you have a story idea, mail it to 2120 L Street, or submit it at KGET.com by clicking on “Your Stories.”
Merrill said he will continue to enforce the rules he has in place, which even include no chewing gum in his office.
He said if they don’t like his beliefs, they can find another doctor.