Alibi V.27 No.50 • Dec 13-19, 2018 

Odds & Ends

Odds and Ends

Dateline: California

A high school teacher was arrested last week after chasing her students with scissors and forcibly cutting one's hair while singing “The Star Spangled Banner.” ABC30 in California reports students fled the classroom of Margaret Gieszinger, a chemistry teacher at University Preparatory High School in Visalia, Calif., after she allegedly told them it was haircut day and chased them with scissors. A video of the episode was captured by a student which appeared to show Gieszinger cutting a student's hair at the front of the class while singing. According to one witness who spoke to reporters, the students believed Geiszinger was joking at first. “But she did cut a hair off, and she started singing the 'Star Spangled Banner' and she was singing it really loudly as she ceremoniously tossed a chunk of hair behind her,” he said. The student says he then ran to the school's main office for help. In the footage, the teen attempts to walk away when Geiszinger orders him to return, saying “You're not done.” She can also be seen chasing another student while singing and grabbing her hair in an attempt to cut it. It is unknown what triggered the strange act. The Tulare County Office of Education released a statement following the incident calling Geiszinger's behavior “disturbing.” Counselors were made available to the students and Geiszinger has been permanently removed from her classroom. She is facing charges of corporal injury to a child.

Dateline: France

A hospital in Paris has suspended a study on intestinal diseases after it received too many stool donations. According to Medical Express, researchers at the Saint-Antoine hospital were offering 50 euros to eligible members of the public willing to donate stool samples as part of a study on fecal transplantation, or bacteriotherapy, as a potential treatment for intestinal inflammation. Fecal transplants are currently used to treat patients suffering from recurrent C. difficile colitis. The project's lead gastroenterologist Harry Sokol told reporters that a poster was originally placed in hospitals and medical schools seeking donors, but someone reportedly posted an image of the poster on social media, where it spread quickly. “People thought it meant: Give us your stools, we'll give you 50 euros,” Sokol said. The telephone hotline and email for the project were overwhelmed by responses, and researchers decided to close the call for donors. Sokol said inquiries continued even after the invitation had been closed—some in person. Despite the large numbers of donations, half of the study has been canceled, because requirements are strict and many potential candidates will be removed after their samples are subjected to a rigorous selection process. Sokol said that many were “devastated” by the project's termination.

Dateline: Vermont

A man says he spent $4,000 constructing a sculpture of a giant middle finger and installing it near a highway to express distaste for his local government. WCAX in Vermont reports a Westford man has erected the wooden sculpture so that it can be seen above the treeline surrounding business owner Ted Pelkey's property. When confronted by reporters about the sculpture's purpose, Pelkey said it was intended as a message for Westford town officials. Pelkey told reporters that he wants to move his truck repair and monofilament recycling business to the property so he can attract more customers and avoid renting in a nearby town. The town's Development Review Board reportedly voiced concerns with how the property would be used, but Pelkey says he's being targeted because of a personal grudge. He ensured reporters that the sculpture was only intended for the board, and not for residents. “I’m hoping we can get it through to the people in the town of Westford to have a really long look at the people who are running their town,” he said. The Vermont Agency of Transportation says the sculpture is public art and cannot be removed by the town.

Dateline: New Jersey

A substitute teacher allegedly told a class of first graders that Santa wasn't real. According to NJ.com, the teacher also said that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy were imaginary figures. Montville Township School District superintendent René Rotvar told reporters the unidentified teacher was confronted by a child claiming that Santa Claus was a real person. The unnamed teacher reportedly argued with the first grader, presumably winning the debate. According to Rotvar, the students went on to question the teacher about the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, leprechauns and Elf on the Shelf. “She proceeded to debunk all of it,” Rotvar said. The teacher in question is no longer working at the district, but it is unclear whether they were fired or left voluntarily. She reportedly worked for the district for at least a year. In a letter to parents, Cedar Hill Elementary School principal Michael Raj apologized for the substitute's “poor judgment” and warned them to prepare for uncomfortable conversations at home. The existence of Santa has been widely disputed.

Compiled by Joshua Lee. Email your weird news to josh@alibi.com.