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Homecoming Queen at Center of Alleged Voter Fraud in Florida 

Tate have won countless competitions and earned the reputation as one of the top high schools bands in the US. They have marched in every major parade in the US. (Wikimedia Common, 2008)
Tate have won countless competitions and earned the reputation as one of the top high schools bands in the US. They have marched in every major parade in the US. (Wikimedia Common, 2008)

After a long political season in the United States, where “voter fraud” was often the cry above a noisy campaign, a case has emerged in Florida involving the alleged illegal election of a high school homecoming queen.

Homecoming queens are the stars of the show at the end of football season in October or November, elected by their high school peers in a popularity contest that can linger a lifetime. Teenage queens and kings arrive dressed in gowns and tiaras and tuxedos, and with a large bouquet of flowers and sashes in one hand declaring their status, wave from their perch on the back of a convertible that slowly circles a hometown football field, usually under tall bright lights.

But the homecoming queen at Tate High School in Florida, along with her mother, are accused of rigging the election and stealing dozens of votes in the girl’s favor.

An investigation into Laura Rose Carroll, 50, and her daughter, 17, is looking into whether Carroll — who has been suspended from her job as an assistant principal in the Escambia County school system — hacked into electronic school records in October 2020 and voted nearly 250 times from two IP addresses for her daughter’s candidacy, according to state law enforcement officials.

The homecoming votes weren’t the only files accessed. Court documents show the accounts concerning student grades, attendance, medical history and other personal and proprietary information had been hacked.

The mother and daughter were arrested Monday. They face one count each of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks, and electronic devices (a third-degree felony), unlawful use of a two-way communications device (a third-degree felony), criminal use of personally identifiable information (a third-degree felony) and conspiracy to commit these offenses (a first-degree misdemeanor), according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) statement published on its website Monday.

“Multiple students reported that the daughter described using her mother’s FOCUS account to cast votes,” according to the FDLE statement. The investigation also found that Carroll had accessed 372 high school records, of which 339 were of Tate High School students. FOCUS is the school’s online student portal.

“I have known that [Carroll's daughter] logs into her mom’s school account in order to access grades and test scores since freshman year when we became friends,” said one witness in court documents. “She looks up our group of friends’ grades and makes comments about how she can find out our test scores all the time.”

A second witness said they recalled “times when [Carroll's daughter] logged onto her mom’s FOCUS account and openly shared information, grades, schedules, etc. with others. She did not seem like logging in was a big deal and was very comfortable doing so.”

Carroll was booked into the Escambia County Jail on Monday, according to the FDLE and Escambia County Sheriff’s Office. She was later released on $8,500 bond, according to the FDLE. Her daughter was being held in the Escambia Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

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Study Finds Anger, Fear After Dobbs Ruling

FILE - An abortion rights protestor, center, uses a megaphone as anti-abortion demonstrators rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the March for Life, Jan. 20, 2023, in Washington.
FILE - An abortion rights protestor, center, uses a megaphone as anti-abortion demonstrators rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the March for Life, Jan. 20, 2023, in Washington.

A study published in Frontiers in Public Health found students were angry, afraid and concerned about the loss of rights after the 2021 Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Anarticle in Contemporary OB/GYN says the ruling, which removed guaranteed access to abortions in the United States, has also led to increased contraceptive use by young adults. (January 2024)

Iowa’s Clark Becomes NCAA Division-I All-Time Leading Scorer for Men’s and Women’s Basketball

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) takes a free throw against Ohio State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Iowa City, Iowa, March 3, 2024.
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark (22) takes a free throw against Ohio State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, in Iowa City, Iowa, March 3, 2024.

Iowa star Caitlin Clark became the all-time NCAA Division I scoring leader on Sunday, breaking the late Pete Maravich's 54-year-old record when she made two free throws after a technical foul was called in the No. 6 Hawkeyes' game against No. 2 Ohio State.

Clark entered the game in Iowa City needing 18 points to pass Maravich's total of 3,667, amassed in just 83 games over three seasons at LSU (1967-70).

Maravich's record fell four days after Clark broke Lynette Woodard's major college women's record with 33 points against Minnesota on Wednesday.

Clark's record-setting points Sunday came in improbable fashion. Best-known for her long 3-point shots, she instead went past Maravich after Ohio State was called for a technical foul with less than a second to go in the first half.

Clark swished both free throws to run her career total to 3,668 points; she had no immediate reaction after the second shot went through, as if it hadn't sunk in yet.

Asked in a television interview at halftime if she was aware of the record when she stepped to the line, Clark said, "Not really. When they announced it and everybody screamed, that's when I knew."

Clark got off to a slow start. Her first shot was a 3-pointer that bounced off the rim. She missed a layup and from deep on the right wing before making a 3 from the left side for her first basket.

After starting 2 for 7, she made 3 of her next 4 shots — including three straight 3-pointers, each deeper than the previous.

Woodard was among the attendees at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to help Clark celebrate senior day. Also on hand were basketball great Maya Moore, who was Clark's favorite player, and Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan.

On Thursday, Clark announced she would enter the 2024 WNBA draft and skip the fifth year of eligibility available to athletes who competed during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Indiana Fever, and the WNBA already is seeing a rise in ticket sales.

Logitix, which researches prices on ticket resale platforms, reported an average sale price of $598 for a ticket to this game purchased since Feb. 1.

"Listen, this is the greatest ticket on the planet right now," Woodard said in an interview with ESPN before the game. "Hey, I'm going to enjoy this right now."

Clark is all but assured of one or two more appearances at the arena in Iowa City after Sunday. Iowa is projected to be a No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament, meaning it would be at home for the first two rounds.

Pearl Moore of Francis Marion owns the overall women's record with 4,061 points from 1975-79 at the small-college level in the AIAW. Moore had 177 points at Anderson Junior College before enrolling at Francis Marion.

Clark was 393 behind Moore as of halftime Sunday, and she has only three to 10 more games left in an Iowa uniform depending on how far the Hawkeyes advance in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

The fall of Maravich's record will be subject to scrutiny.

Maravich's all-time scoring mark is one of the more remarkable in sports history. There was no shot clock or 3-point line in his era. The 3-point line was adopted in 1986.

Maravich averaged 44.2 points per game. He scored more than 60 in a game four times, topping out at 69 against Alabama on Feb. 7, 1970.

Clark averages 28.3 points for her career and was playing in her 130th game Sunday. Her career-best output was 49 points against Michigan on Feb. 15, when she passed Kelsey Plum as the NCAA women's Division I career scoring leader.

Clark has 54 games with at least 30 points, the most of any player in men's or women's college basketball over the last 25 years. She has six triple-doubles this season and 17 in her career.

"What Caitlin's done has been amazing. She's a fantastic player, great for the women's game and basketball in general," Maravich's eldest son, Jaeson, told The Associated Press last week.

Number of US Doctoral Degrees at All-Time High

FILE - Graduation ceremonies for University of North Carolina Wilmington are shown in this 2014 file photo.
FILE - Graduation ceremonies for University of North Carolina Wilmington are shown in this 2014 file photo.

The number of doctoral degrees awarded by colleges and universities in the United States is at an all-time high, following a drop during the pandemic.

Forbes reports the jump between 2021 and 2022 was the largest one-year increase recorded since 1970. (February 2024)

US Embassy in Ghana Expands Outreach, Invites More Ghanaians to Study in America

US Embassy in Ghana Expands Outreach, Invites More Ghanaians to Study in America
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In the past academic year, U.S. colleges and universities saw a nearly 32 percent increase in Ghanaian students, making Ghana one of the top 25 countries in the world for sending students to the United States. To accommodate the growing interest, the U.S. Embassy in Ghana has opened a new resource center for young people considering an American education. Senanu Tord reports from Kumasi, Ghana.

How Are Colleges Using Generative AI?

FILE PHOTO: Educators are using tools such as ChatGPT to help students learn.
FILE PHOTO: Educators are using tools such as ChatGPT to help students learn.

Professors are using tools such as ChatGPT to provide feedback, grade assignments, prepare slide decks and more.

Ashley Mowreader reports on a Tyton Partners survey for Inside Higher Ed. (February 2023)

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