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Legacy High School senior Brooke Binegar works with Sunrise Elementary first-grader Kaiya Erp recently. Binegar is shadowing a teacher for nine weeks through a new introduction to teaching course.

This is Up and Down, where we give a brief thumbs up and thumbs down on the issues from the past week.

Up

North Dakota tribal leaders got an opportunity to voice their concerns about a state voter identification law to the Committee on House Administration Elections Subcommittee last week. The subcommittee held a field hearing at Fort Yates last week. The subcommittee should be commended for making the trip to North Dakota. Tribal members don’t often get a chance to meet with a congressional committee. The hearing may not result in changes, but the chance to be heard by Congress is important.

Down

North Dakota recorded an increase in the number of sexually transmitted diseases last year. There was a nearly 42% increase in gonorrhea cases between 2017 and 2018, and the increase was most dramatic in adults 30 to 44 years old, where state health officials found a 66% increase. The state has seen increases in the diseases in recent years. Contributing factors are anonymous sex, multiple sexual partners, engaging in unprotected sex and being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while having sex. Obviously the state needs to put the focus on prevention.

Up

A case before the North Dakota Supreme Court could bring some clarity to Marsy’s Law. The law was approved by voters in 2016 and it has been interpreted differently since that time, so a court ruling could be helpful. The case before justices questions whether corporations can be considered victims. The court decision won’t resolve all the issues surrounding the law, but it will be a start. It will possibly open the door for more cases to clarify the law. Marsy’s Law has made it more difficult for the public to get information on criminal cases and that’s disturbing.

Down

Alma Cipranic, of Fargo, is a Muslim who came to North Dakota from Bosnia. Unfortunately, she’s found life in the state difficult for the last six months. Cipranic says she’s been the target of harassment, threatening texts and rumors online. She came home recently to find strips of bacon on the rear window of her father's car and more bacon at the entrance to her apartment building. Muslims traditionally don’t eat pork. There’s also a video circulating on Snapchat that’s hateful to Bosnians and Muslims. There’s no excuse for this type of behavior in North Dakota. Fargo prosecutors are expected to review a police report for possible charges. If the accusations are true, then prosecutors need to take action.

Up

A new course being offered at Bismarck Public Schools gives students an opportunity to consider whether to become teachers. The introduction to teaching course was launched this year and is being offered at Legacy High School and Century High School. The course allows students to work with teachers and learn what’s involved in the teaching profession. Knowing the ins and outs of teaching gives students a better idea of whether teaching will be a good fit for them. There’s a national shortage of teachers so it makes sense to start recruiting in high school.

Down

An audit of the North Dakota State College of Science says a vice president was "directly involved" in hiring a consulting firm without disclosing that his wife works as an executive in the company. State auditors found that Tony Grindberg, the college's vice president of workforce affairs, was "closely and directly involved in the procurement of consulting services from Flint Group, and President (John) Richman was aware of Mr. Grindberg's involvement." The state Board of Higher Education has promised a thorough review of the audit. The board needs to act as quickly as possible to review the case and take action if needed.

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