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For Grades 5-8 , week of Feb. 26, 2024

1. SANTOS’ SUIT

Former House of Representatives member George Santos, who was expelled in December 2023 and faces numerous counts of fraud, is suing late-night host Jimmy Kimmel. Santos has accused Kimmel of deceiving him into making videos on the Cameo app, where users can pay to have celebrities film personalized clips, that were then used to ridicule Santos on Kimmel’s show. The former representative says Kimmel misrepresented himself under fake accounts to request videos for a segment titled “Will Santos Say It?” The lawsuit is seeking $750,000 in damages for the five videos created and played on the show and on social media.

2. HAIR CARE IN TEXAS

A student in Texas was ousted from his Houston-area high school last August for his hair, which the school district said violates their dress code. The state has a new law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination, but a Texas judge has ruled in favor of the school district. The student wears locs twisted on top of his head but was told his hair violates the school’s policy on hair length because of how long it would be when let down. The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act doesn’t specify hair length in its outline of natural hair texture and protective hairstyles that are protected under the law. Research the CROWN Act and the recent decision in this case. Then, write a paragraph explaining this story and the context of the act in question.

3. CHART TOPPER

Beyoncé surprised fans by releasing two country singles in February—“16 Carriages” and “Texas Hold ‘Em”—and has now cemented her place in country music history. She’s the first Black woman to reach No. 1 on the Billboard country songs chart, as well as the first woman to top both the Hot Country Songs chart and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts. Black country singers have shaped the genre, but they’ve often gone unrecognized and excluded from wider recognition for their accomplishments. Research the history of Black artists in country music and write a brief article about what you find and what makes Beyoncé’s accomplishment monumental.

4. FATIGUE BREAKTHROUGH

Between 5 and 9 million people in the United States suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), but the condition is not well understood by medical professionals. However, a recent study has found a potential link between brain anomalies and the condition, which causes debilitating fatigue. Researchers found a link between the feelings of fatigue and imbalances in brain activity, which they suggest could be triggered by problems in the immune system. While there weren’t signs of muscle fatigue in the CFS patients, scans showed their brains showed abnormal activity in areas that cause fatigue, determine effort exertion, and direct movement. Write an article that summarizes this story and how this new research could affect the patients living with CFS.

5. AT&T OUTAGE

An outage disrupted cellular service for tens of thousands of AT&T customers in the United States last week. Emergency services in major cities, including San Fransisco, were also affected by the outage. Many theorized that the cause was a cyberattack, but AT&T announced that it was caused by an error when they were working to expand their network. Many iPhone users noticed their phones went into a mode that shows SOS where the cellular carrier usually appears. The feature allows iPhones to call the local emergency number (like 911), share location information with emergency services, and alert any emergency contacts saved to the phone. Research and write an article that instructs people on what steps they should take if they’re in a situation where communication is interrupted, like in this recent outage, and need help.