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Connecticut educator teaches students life lessons after being diagnosed with ALS

Nearly 11 months after being diagnosed with Asymotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Connecticut educator Andrew Niblock is using his diagnosis to teach students about life.

>> Read more trending news

Niblock, the head of the elementary school at Greenwich Country Day School in Connecticut, said he wanted to continue working after being diagnosed with the disease so that he could teach his students a lesson about life and be an example for them.

“I want children to understand curve balls,” the father of two told ABC News. “No matter what is thrown your way […] if a kid powers through or makes the most of something later because of knowing me, that’d be great.”

>> RELATED: Neighborhood kids use lemonade stand to raise a surprising amount of money for disabled veteran

ALS, a rare and incurable progressive neurodegenerative disease, affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and causes the brain to be unable to initiate and control muscle movement, according to the ALS Association. As a result, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe, with some patients ending up completely paralyzed in the later stages of the disease.

>> RELATED: Mass. teacher battling ALS fired months before earning pension

Instead of hiding the changes occurring to his speech and mobility, Niblock is working with the school’s headmaster to create age-appropriate videos with the goal of teaching students about ALS and spreading awareness about it.

By being open about his battle with the disease, Niblock said he hopes to convey to the students that hope is resilient.

“Hope can drive you forward,” he said. “And I hope […] that the kids see that, and run with it.”

WATCH: Bullied girl asks for help in heartbreaking viral Facebook video

A Bellevue, Washington, fourth-grader says she has been bullied since school started in September. After months of telling teachers, administrators and the district, feeling desperate, she posted a video on Facebook to get help for herself and other students who are bullied.

>> Click here to watch the news report

The video was shared more than 17,500 times and reached more than 670,000 people.

>> See the video here

Nasir Andrews, 9, is finishing fourth grade at Ardmore Elementary School in the Bellevue School District. Andrews, who is black, said she's been called "Nutella" and "servant."

"I told my after-school teacher, and she said it wasn't racist and she made me write the definition of racist," Nasir told KIRO on Wednesday.

Andrews says she was picked on for buying her lunch and laughed at on the school bus. Her parents got her a lunch box and let her bring her lunch some days, and they started driving her to school every day.

She said students in her class would take her snack and eat it or throw it away. At recess, she says classmates ran away from her. She says she’s been pushed, kicked and choked.

The girl and her family moved to Bellevue last summer from Georgia, where her parents said she had no trouble making friends. 

>> Read more trending news

"Everybody in my class does not like me, and I don't have any friends in my class or in the other fourth-grade classes," Nasir said Wednesday.

Chantey and Travis Andrews are upset the school didn't do more to help their daughter. They say they have complained to administrators for months. 

"With so many things happening, our fear is there is a culture that has been established at the school where it is almost OK for the children to exercise different forms of treatment and bullying and harassment," said her mother, Chantey Andrews. "And there's not a conversation being had with them saying, 'No, this is unacceptable.'"

In the video posted to Nasir's mother's Facebook page, the girl holds up cards with words on them to share her story.

"I think that we need to stop bullying and just know that if you're doing it, you're hurting people," Nasir said when asked about her motivation to make the video.

Former middle school teacher accused of raping student

A 27-year-old former middle school teacher in Kentucky has been charged with raping a student.

>> Watch the news report here

According to WKYT, Lindsey Jarvis appeared before a Lexington District Court judge, where she pleaded not guilty to five charges – three counts of third-degree rape, one count of unlawful transaction with a minor and one count of third-degree sodomy.

>> Read more trending news

Police said Jarvis met the victim, who was under 16 years old, on several occasions. She is suspected of sodomizing the student in May 2016 and having sex with him in June 2016, WKYT reported.

>> Teacher accused of improper relationship with student smiles in mugshot

Jarvis, who is married, reportedly was a social studies teacher at Woodford County Middle School in Versailles for three years, starting in August 2013 and leaving in June 2016. She then took a position as a teacher's aide at Veterans Park Elementary School; a school spokesperson said Jarvis’ last day of employment was Friday, WKYT reported.

>> Teacher allegedly had sex with 4 students, including 2 at same time

A detective with the Versailles Police Department told the Lexington Herald-Ledger that the investigation into the educator began at the beginning of the year, but she was not charged until last week “because investigations take a while. There are so many dots you have to connect before you can bring charges against a person.”

Former GOP county leader in Georgia gets life sentence for child molestation

Former Cobb County, Georgia, Republican Party leader Joseph Dendy was given a life sentence after pleading guilty Friday to sexually abusing children.

Dendy, 72, must serve 30 years of that sentence in prison.

Dendy admitted that he had committed repeated sexual offenses against two boys, according to a statement from Cobb District Attorney Vic Reynolds. The crimes occurred between 2004 and 2011 at Dendy’s home, his church, and in a store dressing room, the statement said. 

>> Read more trending news

One victim, now an adult, told the court that he has nightmares of the abuse and became a military police officer to help other victims.

“I’m stronger than you,” he told Dendy. 

Dendy served four years as chair of the Cobb County GOP. His second, two-year term ended in 2015.

The defendant’s guilty plea came as a surprise during what was to be a pretrial hearing. Prosecutors were expected to call several additional witnesses who said they had also been abused. 

Dendy was able to hide behind his "public persona as a prominent community leader," weaving a "path of destruction through his family for decades,” prosecutor Susan Treadaway was quoted saying in the statement. “That ends today.”

Cobb Superior Court Judge Kimberly Childs presided over the case. 

Dendy’s attorney, Brian Steel, did not return a message left at his office. 

Dendy has been in custody since his arrest in May 2016

Massachusetts school to re-issue diplomas after misspelling town’s name

 A graduation-day typo led to a lot of laughs and all new diplomas for an entire high school class in Massachusetts.

>> Read more trending news

On the diplomas graduates of Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School received last weekend was the very city the school lies in, Taunton, spelled wrong. The first ‘n’ was missing.

“I was looking on social media, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, check your diplomas! Check your diplomas!’” said graduate Danielle Dalton. “And I checked, and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, mine’s spelled wrong, too!’”

“Tauton” was written on every diploma handed out last Saturday, though other city references were spelled correctly.

“It’s really funny, because it’s like, who would let that slip?” said Dalton’s friend and graduate, Daniel Norvish. “But you know, error. Everybody makes an error.”

“I thought it was kind of funny,” Dalton said. “We work so hard for that, to get that, for 12 years, and you would think someone would look over if it was correct. So it was like – it’s just a joke. It really is funny.”

The school made an automated phone call to parents assuring them the printing company, which made the error, would soon mail the school new, corrected diplomas.

“As you may have noticed, there is a minor spelling error on the bottom of the diploma that was issued to you on June 3,” a school administrator said in the recording. “While this in no way invalidates the diploma, we have contacted the outside vendor who printed them. They accept responsibility for the error and apologize for the inconvenience.”

The school said it will re-issue the diplomas by mail as soon as the corrected version arrives, unless graduates choose to pick them up at the school.

Former homeless student is valedictorian at N.C. school

A North Carolina high school student who battled homelessness to reach the top of her class is now headed to college.

>> Read more trending news

Megan Faircloth, 17, once lived in the back of a car with her sister and mother after they were evicted from their home in November 2015. Monday, she graduates from East Wake High School as valedictorian.

Faircloth said she knew she would have to fight to succeed, so she started taking multiple AP classes, participated in extracurricular activities and graduated first in her class with a 5.25 grade-point average.

“You can push your limits, and you should always push yourself because you can do things, even if you don’t think you can,” said Faircloth, whose family found a place to live in October.

Stanford University noticed her hard work, asked her to apply. She will be headed to California in the fall to major in English with a minor in education.

Woman sues teacher, principal for making son recite Pledge of Allegiance

An Indiana mother filed a lawsuit against one of her son’s teachers and his principal after they allegedly forced him to say the Pledge of Allegiance.

>> Read more trending news 

According to Jamie Porter, her son’s first-grade teacher removed him from class after he refused to recite the pledge in March. The ACLU has since filed a lawsuit on the family’s behalf to argue that the boy was “protesting.”

“He was doing it to protest the government of the United States, as it was racist, greedy and does not care about people,” the lawsuit stated, adding that the student “was extremely upset at this treatment by his teacher and the principal as he was made to feel that he had done something terribly wrong and was in trouble.”

>> Related: Chicago teacher fired for telling student to stand for Pledge of Allegiance

After learning of the boy’s reason, his teacher, Kelly McFarland, pulled him into the hallway and took him to the principal’s office. Twenty minutes later, Principal Mary Beth Harris brought the boy back to class, but later that day, she pulled him out again so that he could “practice” saying the Pledge of Allegiance, Fox News reported.

According to Fox News, Porter and her son are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, and the mother implied that McFarland and Harris violated her son’s First Amendment rights.

>> Related: A security camera caught this boy’s small act of patriotism, and his proud mom wants every parent to see it

The school district responded to the incident, saying, “We are currently reviewing the complaint with our legal counsel and have been advised not to comment on pending litigation.”

WATCH: John Legend, Chrissy Teigen visit high school, practice with choir

Grammy award-winning artist John Legend and his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, visited Snohomish High School in Washington state Tuesday and practiced with the choir, which sang "Seasons of Love" from the musical "Rent."

>> Click here to watch

The couple traveled in the Seattle area before they were scheduled to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Mariners game with their 1-year-old daughter, Luna.

>> PHOTOS: John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, baby Luna throw first pitch at Mariners game

Teigen attended Snohomish High School as a teenager.

>> Read more trending news

Photos on social media showed her touring her former campus and meeting students.

>> See the photos here

Dad walks daughter to first day of kindergarten, last day of high school

As his daughter prepared to graduate from a Texas high school, Jason Gayler was rummaging through a stack of old photographs when one caught his eye. It showed Gayler walking his 5-year-old daughter, Brittany, to school on her first day of kindergarten.

>> Read more trending news 

Brittany is 18, and Gayler had an idea. He decided he would walk to school on May 25, her last day as a senior at Alvord High School. Father and daughter were captured again in a photograph; Brittany tweeted the photo alongside the original shot, Today reported and it brought a warm response from friends and family.

"It was very bittersweet walking with him,'' Brittany told Today. "It's definitely a moment I'm going to remember forever. When I posted the tweet and going back and forth through the pictures, it just amazes me how fast it goes by. It feels like yesterday that we were taking that first picture."

Brittany will attend Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas, to play softball and continue her education in the fall.

Jason Gayler, 38, said the reaction to the photograph has “been a bit shocking with a mix of happiness.

It brings me great joy if we were able to help people think back to that time, even if just for a brief moment, and smile,” he told Today. “I can hope one day when I'm old I can look back at this and smile."

Teens that missed prom due to accident get second chance to dance

Four teenagers in western Michigan will be getting a second chance to attend their high school prom after an automobile accident prevented them from attending, WXMI reported.

>> Read more trending news

Brooke Miller and her friend, Tiffany Schippa, were driving to take prom photos with their dates. 

“I was really excited because it was my first prom,” said Miller, a junior at Hamilton High School.

Schippa said the brakes went out in her car, causing her to run a stop sign. The teens were T-boned by another vehicle and spent the night at a hospital, WXMI reported.

“I bought the car two days before prom and the brakes went out," Schippa told WXMI. “We went through a stop sign and (the other vehicle) hit us going pretty fast. We spun around six or seven times and ended up in a ditch.”

The teens never made it to the dance, but some volunteers in the community. Miller’s father, Chad Miller, posted on Facebook, asking what could be done for the teens. The post went viral and a second prom has been scheduled for June 9, WXMI reported.

“Being a father myself, I have three kids and I have a daughter and I wouldn't want her to miss her prom,” said Josh Keedy, marketing director for Hometown Battles, a group that helps veterans in need. “To me it was kind of personal, to say that it's really important these kids do this. We will try to do everything we can for them to make this happen.”

“I told Chad with everything you've done for the veterans organization and your son being a current service member, let us help out,” Nate Koehn, president of Hometown Battles, told WXMI. “Let me find a way that our organization can help you out.”

The second prom will be free of charge and will be held at the Trestle Center in Hamilton, WXMI reported. So far, 100 of the teens’ classmates plan to attend.

“We're just getting more and more excited as we go,” Schippa told WXMI. “It's more exciting than the real prom. Everybody gets a second prom and we get our first prom.”

In addition to a free prom, the girls are going to be getting free hair and makeup and their dates are getting free tuxedo rentals, since theirs were cut off and ruined in the accident. 

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