(CNN Student News) -- April 5, 2010
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NATISHA LANCE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Hi there. Hope you had a great weekend and you're ready to kick off a new week of CNN Student News. Carl Azuz is off today. I'm Natisha Lance.
LANCE: First up, 9.7 percent. It was the national unemployment rate in February, and it held steady at that same rate in March. Despite that, the Labor Department released a report on Friday saying that the economy did gain 162,000 jobs. That number got a boost from people being hired to help out with the Census, and those jobs are just temporary. But President Obama says the economy is moving in the right direction.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Just one year ago, we were losing an average of more than 700,000 jobs each month. But the tough measures that we took, measures that were necessary even though sometimes they were unpopular, have broken this slide and are helping us to climb out of this recession. We have now added an average of more than 50,000 jobs each month over the first quarter of this year. And this month's increase of 162,000 jobs was the best news we've seen on the job front in more than two years.
LANCE: But Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, says that the new numbers aren't necessarily a positive sign. In a statement, Chairman Steele said "no matter what spin the White House puts on these job numbers, it is unacceptable for President Obama to declare economic success when unemployment remains at 9.7 percent and a large portion of the job growth came from temporary boost in government employment."
LANCE: Turning now to religion as Christians around the world celebrated Easter yesterday. The holiday focuses on the resurrection of Jesus and marks the end of Lent. In his annual speech for Easter Mass, Pope Benedict XVI talked about some of the crises going on around the world. He prayed for an end to war and violence in the Middle East, and mentioned terrorism and the global financial crisis, too. A huge crowd turned out for the ceremony at the Vatican. Another crowd gathered at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for the annual Easter Sunrise Service. The event included musical performances by the U.S. Army Band and a sermon by the chaplain of the U.S. Marine Corps.
LANCE: Yesterday also marked a tragic milestone: the 42nd anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr. The famous civil rights leader was killed in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. But many people took the anniversary of his death as an opportunity to celebrate his life and work. At events like this parade in Memphis, people honored Dr. King's legacy. And another way that some ministers did that was by leading Easter services without any shoes on. It was part of what's called "Barefoot Sunday," a movement that tries to raise awareness about under-priviledged children who are forced to go without shoes.
APRIL WILLIAMS, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! The Transportation Security Administration is part of what government agency? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it the: A) Department of Transportation, B) Department of Defense, C) Homeland Security Department or D) Department of the Interior? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Transportation Security Administration, or TSA, is part of the Homeland Security Deparment. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
LANCE: The TSA is responsible for protecting the nation's transportation systems, and the agency is making some changes to how passengers are screened when they fly into the U.S. The No-Fly list and random security checks, those are all still in. What's out is a program that required extra screenings for nearly everyone from certain countries. The head of Homeland Security explains those changes.
U.S. SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY JANET NAPOLITANO: What we have done is changed the way we screen passengers who are coming internationally into the United States. It is a more intel or information based way to screen. It's a stronger way to determine whether passengers should go through secondary examination and not just primary examination, and it will provide a safer and more secure international system for American travelers, and that's what we were looking for.
LANCE: Moving over to the Middle East, where officials in Iraq are dealing with the aftermath of a series of attacks that took place in Baghdad yesterday. Three blasts, set off by suicide bombers in cars, all happened within 5 minutes of one another. All of the explosions took place near embassies, buildings that are used by representatives from other countries. At least 30 people were killed in the attacks; another 200 people were wounded. Control of Iraq's government is getting ready to change hands after a recent election. But one of the people caught up in yesterday's violence wonders what will change.
FUAD AHMED, BAGHDAD BOMBING VICTIM: Is this the result of the elections we voted in? We voted. What did we vote for? The explosion? If they can tell us where there's a safe place to go to, we will go there.
Is this Legit?
PAT ST. CLAIRE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Is this legit? Approximately one-third of students ages 12-18 say that they have been bullied at school. This is true. In a 2007 survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 32% of public and private school students said they had been bullied at school in the past 6 months.
LANCE: Now that number is for people who have been bullied. In the quick poll on our blog, a lot higher number -- 90 percent -- say that you've witnessed bullying. This issue has been all over the news lately, but the question is: What can be done about it? Kate Bolduan shows us how one school in Maryland is trying to fight the problem.
MEREDITH WELTY, TEACHER, URBANA MIDDLE SCHOOL, MARYLAND: Hey, guys. Come on in.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bullying isn't a new problem facing our nation's schools, but the tragedy of a 15-year-old Massachusetts girl killing herself after allegedly being taunted for months has forced the problem back into the spotlight.
WELTY: What happened with Phoebe up in Massachusetts, it may have been in Massachusetts, but is it that far removed from what we go through all the time?
BOLDUAN: Students, parents and teachers left asking why, but also how? How can this be prevented in the future? That's a question Urbana Middle School in Maryland has been tackling for two years by adding a school-wide, research-based anti-bullying program to the curriculum.
WELTY: What it does really is to encourage kids to step up, take control of any situation that they might see, and really make them feel empowered to make a change in their lives, in their peers' lives.
BOLDUAN: The program involves ongoing training for faculty and administrators. But probably most importantly, weekly classes focused entirely on reducing bullying behavior. We sat in on one such class with eighth graders.
WELTY: Who is involved in the cycle of bullying? Trey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE STUDENT: There is the person that is activating the bullying, and then there's the bystanders, and then there's the people that support him, like his friends.
BRYSON ZACHARY, 8TH GRADE STUDENT, URBANA MIDDLE SCHOOL, MARYLAND: I understand, like, how it feels to be tormented by what other people say. And that feeling kind of really strikes true with a lot of people my age.
BOLDUAN: 14-year-old Bryson Zachary says the classes have helped by keeping students' attention on respecting and standing up for one another.
ZACHARY: It's really shown me that to be, like, a good human being, that you need to respect other people's values and who they are. Because everyone has, you know, they want to be successful and make it in life just as much as you do. So, you shouldn't bring someone else down.
BOLDUAN: Teacher Meredith Welty says she is most worried about social media.
WELTY: You can sit behind a keyboard and not be responsible and not held accountable. Not only are you bullying that person, you've now made the other 300 people who are friends on your Facebook also be witness to that bullying.
BOLDUAN: Welty says she sees the program helping at Urbana Middle School, helping to change the school culture in dealing with bullying. That is a lesson author Rosalind Wiseman says many more schools, households and communities need.
ROSALIND WISEMAN, AUTHOR, "QUEEN BEES & WANNABEES": Every community can have this happen. Every community is messy. Every community is vulnerable to these things.
LANCE: So, what's your idea to stop bullying? Ashley says to just ignore it. Raquel thinks school districts should raise consequences for bullying. And Zach suggests talking to parents or the principal. All those comments came in on our blog, "From A to Z." And that's where we want to hear yours, too. Head to CNNStudentNews.com and share your ideas.
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, we want you to check out this down throwdown. It's a pillow fight at the Washington Monument! Just sit back and watch the feathers fly. Everyone here is just out for a little bit of fun, although the guy with the karate moves might be a little too excited. Before you think we're just fluffing up this one event, it's actually part of International Pillow Fight Day, with similar smackdowns happening in cities around the world.
AZUZ: That's gonna put this show to bed. CNN Student News returns tomorrow. I'm Natisha Lance. Have a great day!