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Dad challenges school dress code after 13-year-old daughter punished for 'distracting boys'

The father of a California middle school girl is standing up for his daughter after she was cited for violating her school’s controversial dress code.

>> Watch the news report here

According to KTVU, officials at Fisher Middle School in Los Gatos, near San Jose, informed 13-year-old Demetra Alarcon that the romper she wore to school recently was distracting to boys. Her father, Tony, brought her a change of clothes — jean shorts and a tank top — but school officials determined that outfit was inappropriate as well. Luckily, the father found a pair of leggings in the car as backup, but says the dress code unfairly targets girls.

>> On Rare.us: High school boys ticked about girls getting dress coded are raising eyebrows with their protest

“I mean, today it’s 90 degrees outside, and she’s wearing leggings because she doesn’t want to be dress-coded for wearing shorts. And it’s not OK. It needs to change,” Tony Alarcon told CBS News.

>> Read more trending news

He told the Mercury News: “Demetra isn’t alone. Just sit in Fisher’s parking lot, and you’ll see that. I’ve heard from multiple girls that they just want to be comfortable, but they feel like they’re being pushed into wearing leggings in 100-degree heat. I was told by an administrator that the girls’ clothes are a distraction to the boys. That shouldn’t be a concern.”

While Alarcon agrees students should be dressed appropriately for school, he doesn’t agree tank tops in extreme heat are inappropriate. He also added that it’s difficult to find girls’ shorts that meet the school’s 4-inch length requirement in most stores. He finds the regulations on girls’ clothing to be discriminatory, so he’s fighting back, saying, “You have to stand up for what’s right and that’s what I’m doing.”

>> On Rare.us: A Catholic high school is under fire for its prom dress code, which appears to body shame female students

The school district met last week to discuss the dress code but has not announced any changes. Fisher Principal Lisa Fraser defended the code in a statement that read, “There has always been a dress code. These are standards for reasonable decorum. I do reserve the right to set guidelines for the school, but I want to lead with the pulse of the community and reflect the community’s core values.”

Heartbroken dad shares viral message after 'horrific' bullying of special-needs son

A heartbroken dad is speaking out against bullying after his 7-year-old son with special needs told him what was going on at school.

Dan Bezzant of Idaho posted a now-viral plea on Facebook asking parents to educate their children. His son, Jackson, 7, was born with Treacher Collins syndrome. The condition affects the development of his bones and facial tissue. It has also left him deaf and has affected his eyesight, Inside Edition reports.

>> See the Facebook post here

He said kids at his son’s school bully him relentlessly because he’s different.

>> On HotTopics.TV: Teen notices classmates bullying student, goes out of his way to cheer him up 

“My heart is in pieces right now … my soul feels like it’s ripping from my chest,” Bezzant wrote on Facebook. “This beautiful young man my son Jackson has to endure a constant barrage of derogatory comments and ignorance like I’ve never witnessed.”

Bezzant told Inside Edition he sat in his car and cried after his son told him about what other kids did to him at school.

“He is called ugly and freak and monster on a daily basis by his peers at school. He talks about suicide…he’s not quite 8! He says he has no friends and everyone hates him. Kids throw rocks at him and push him shouting these horrific words,” Bezzant wrote.

>> Read more trending news

He asked parents to teach their kids about children with special needs.

Bezzant wrote, “Talk to them about compassion and love for our fellow man. … [Jackson has] endured horrific surgery and has several more in the coming years.”

Bezzant’s post went viral and has been shared more than 51,000 times. He hopes attitudes change toward people who look different.

“This shouldn’t be happening … to anyone,” wrote Bezzant.

Pediatrician to parents: Treat conversations about tattoos, piercings like ‘the sex talk’

An Atlanta pediatrician says conversations about tattoos and piercings should be taken seriously and urges parents to consider treating the discussions like “the sex talk.”

>> Read more trending news 

Dr. Cora Breuner, an adolescent medicine specialist at Seattle Children's Hospital, and Dr. David Levine, a general pediatrician and professor at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, published a study Monday about health risks of tattooing and piercing in adolescents and young adults, a group that is showing an increasing interest in the body modifications, Breuner said. 

Some of the consequences include potential for keloids and infections such as hepatitis and tetanus and long-term regret or discomfort revealing tattoos in professional settings.

“Adolescents may overestimate the effectiveness of tattoo removal when having one placed and should be instructed that tattoo placement is permanent, and it is expensive and sometimes difficult to remove them,” the report reads.

Breuner told CNN she went with her daughter to get her navel pierced on her 18th birthday and she held the teenager’s hand while the piercer did his work. 

“I did my usual Dr. Mom thing and found out the person doing it had been a surgical tech before he decided to do piercings, and I watched him,” Breuner said. “I’m not saying everybody should do that, but at least for me, my sense of this whole world is that it’s changing right in front of us, and we can either have our eyes open and be supportive and help our children make informed decisions when they’re young adults, or ignore it and hope it goes away.”

Levine said conversations about tattoos and piercings are serious and important. 

“The big thing is that parents really should bring this up, to talk with their children intentionally, because the teenagers are likely thinking, ‘My parents will kill me, so I either have to hide (the tattoo or piercing), or I’ll just actually abide by my parents’ rules and get it when I’m 18.’

“Even then, 18-year-olds are still fairly impulsive. It still would be good for them to have had a discussion with their parents ...

“It’s very similar when we talk to parents about the time to do the sex talk is at age 11, before they actually need it ... Even if it's not right at that moment, it will open up the conversation and keep the communication open on these issues as kids negotiate adolescence,” he told CNN.

“It’s really our mission and our job to promote safety and healthy living for our children as our children go into adulthood,” Breuner told CNN.

Levine’s advice on when to get your child’s earlobes pierced? Wait until the child says he or she wants it.

“My biggest advice to the parents, unless this is a cultural issue where everybody in the culture gets their kids’ ears pierced in early childhood, I’d like the kid to actually want it,” he said.

Read more at American Academy of Pediatrics and CNN.

Meghan Markle likely to attend Prince Harry's Invictus Games amid engagement rumors, report says

Prince Harry will be kicking off his annual Invictus Games this month, and girlfriend Meghan Markle will likely be there to show her support, People reports.

>> PHOTOS: Prince Harry through the years

The Games will take place in Markle’s adopted hometown of Toronto next week, and she’s expected to be there in an unofficial capacity, possibly cheering from the sidelines as she did for one of Prince Harry’s recent polo matches, People reported. If she attends, the event will mark the second time the couple has appeared in public together.

>> On Rare.us: Meghan Markle opens up for the first time about being 'in love' with Prince Harry

The news comes after reports that Prince Harry and Markle reportedly vacationed together in Africa last month and took a short trip to Queen Elizabeth’s Scottish highlands estate for the royal’s birthday. Royal fans are now wondering whether the actress met the queen, an important step toward a royal engagement. 

>> On Rare.us: As their vacation nears its end, Prince Harry has a romantic surprise for Meghan Markle

Prince Harry created the Paralympic-style Invictus Games aimed at giving wounded service members around the world the opportunity to compete in a variety physical activities. The first Games took place in London in 2014, followed by the 2016 event in Orlando. Next year’s event is set to occur in Sydney, Australia.

>> Read more trending news

Read more here.

Engaged couple seeking sponsorships to pay for dream wedding

Planning the perfect wedding is serious business for Jason Mielke and his fiancée, Rebecca Winter Hansen.

That's why the Canadian groom and bride-to-be are looking for sponsors to fund their Nov. 25 wedding.

According to the Moose Jaw Times Herald, Mielke lost his job in January, shortly after he asked Hansen to marry him.

Eloping or getting married at the courthouse isn't an option for the Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, couple, Mielke said. He also didn't want to ask family members for money, so he decided to seek sponsors for their special day.

"I've always been good at marketing, forming relationships in the community, sponsorship, stuff like that," he told the Times Herald. "I thought maybe I could do something here."

>> See their wedding website here

According to the CBC, Mielke and Hansen are "asking individual community members to donate money in return for a seat at their winter wedding reception." They're also hoping companies will pay for a red carpet, spa services, a gluten-free wedding cake and other items.

But Mielke and Hansen have some lines they won't cross.

>> Read more trending news

"I Googled some pictures, and some brides have the logos of the companies on their dress, and I don't know if we're going that far," Mielke told the Times Herald.

Hansen said contributing to the couple's happy moment would lead to a "long-lasting and double-fold reciprocal return," the CBC reported.

"The power of giving always moves everyone toward greatness and making the impossible possible," she told the CBC.

Read more here or here.

WATCH: Nurses won't let Hurricane Irma ruin birthday for 3-year-old with leukemia

A 3-year-old Florida girl nearly had her birthday celebration ruined.

>> Watch the news report here

>> Read more trending news

She was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 8, just two days before her birthday — and the day Hurricane Irma was poised to strike her home.

>> See the photos here

>> Key West suffers as rays of hope emerge after Hurricane Irma

Willow Stine, who lives in Wesley Chapel, rode out the storm with her mother at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, but because of Irma it meant no birthday celebration for Willow — or so her mother thought, according to CNN

>> On PalmBeachPost.com: Deputy calms elderly woman’s nerves during Hurricane Irma with a dance

“I was like, I don't know how much more I can take,” Willow's mother, Jennifer Stine, told CNN. “My baby's turning 3 and has cancer and on top of that, my 4-year-old daughter and husband are an hour and a half away in a hurricane. I'm just trying to process all this.” 

>> Watch the video clip here

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

But then nurses from the hospital surprised Willow with a birthday party. They wrapped up newly donated toys and got Willow a cake, CNN reported. 

>> More Irma coverage from WFTVAction News Jax and the Palm Beach Post

“The nurses were amazing. They're so wonderful,” Stine told CNN. “[Willow] got to be a toddler again.”

>> On PalmBeachPost.com: Tim Tebow visits those impacted by Hurricane Irma

Read more at CNN

Study finds bald men are perceived as more attractive, confident and dominant

Men who are worried about being bald or going bald have little to fear following a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania.

>> Read more trending news 

Researchers conducted three tests to assess male and female students’ perceptions of bald men and shared the results in a study called “Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance.” The students were asked to rate pictures of bald men, some digitally altered to add or take away hair, in terms of attractiveness, confidence and dominance. Bald men received high ratings in all three categories.

There’s also good news for men who aren’t going bald: The study also showed that men who willingly shaved their hair despite social norms were seen as more appealing.

“Instead of spending billions each year trying to reverse or cure their hair loss, the counter-intuitive prescription of this research to men experiencing male pattern baldness is to shave their heads,” the study reported.

Nearly 1,500 sea turtle hatchlings displaced by hurricanes to be released

Nearly 1,500 sea turtle hatchlings displaced by Hurricane Irma and Jose were set for release back into the ocean Friday.

>> Read more trending news

The newly hatched green and loggerhead turtles -- along with numerous young turtles washed back onto the beach after swimming off shore called “washbacks” -- have been turned over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, according to a Brevard Zoo release.

After Hurricane Irma: What to do if you find a sea turtle nest

The zoo said staff and volunteers from the Melbourne area began dropping off the turtles at Brevard Zoo on Monday, before the animals were taken to Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton. The FWC was to put the turtles on seaweed mats off shore Friday.

'Fixer Upper' couple criticized over new home decor line at Target

On Tuesday, Chip and Joanna Gaines, of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” announced plans for a new home-decor line to hit Target stores nationwide in November. 

>> Read more trending news

“Just as we’ve never created an exclusive line of product for a retailer before, Target has never done anything like this before either,” Chip Gaines wrote in a blog post. “This stuff is gorgeous. (Joanna and Target’s design team) have all spent so much time thoughtfully creating these beautiful basics. A lot of heart and soul has been poured into every last piece ... and I think people are going to be able to feel that.”

Many excited fans took to social media to express excitement and support for the couple’s new brand, Hearth & Hand.

>> Related: Target lowering prices on thousands of items, including groceries

In his blog post, Chip Gaines explained some of the reasons the couple has enjoyed working with Target:

“Despite our initial insecurities about partnering with a large retailer, Target has exceeded our expectations every step of the way. With our friends, our family and with the people we do business with, we are serious about continually finding common ground ... One of the main reasons we decided to team up with Target is because we have found them to be the gold-standard when it comes to generosity and giving. This really resonates with us. Jo and I believe that to whom much is given, much is required. As our platform has grown, so has our desire to help communities far beyond Waco, Texas. 

“Right now, Joanna is busy designing some pretty incredible updates for the community dining room at Target House, which serves hundreds of families whose kids are being treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Target House is a free home away from home for St. Jude patients and their families during the hardest of life’s circumstances, providing a safe place for these families to be together. In November, we’ll get to reveal the updated dining room to the families of St. Jude, and then share a meal together to kick off the holiday season. We are humbled to be even a small part of their stories and thankful that this collaboration gives us the opportunity to be involved in such meaningful projects, like this one with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”

Family pig named Spam stolen in home robbery

A Cleveland, Ohio, family is hoping someone can track down a missing family member: a mini pig named Spam, who was stolen by burglars, KSAT reports.

>> Read more trending news 

Valerie Couch raised Spam since he was a piglet, and while the family has other animals, they all play nice together. She said that whoever took Spam didn’t realize how important he was to them.

“It’s just sad somebody would do this,” Couch told Cleveland’s WEWS. “My guess is they just want to sell him and make some money. But you know, he’s part of our family. Keep the electronics, but don’t take somebody’s pet.”

While pieces of jewelry and a camera were also stolen, the family is heartbroken about their lost animal. A GPS lead from one of their electronics may have tracked some of the items, but so far, Spam has not been found. 

The Couches are offering $200 for any information that leads to the safe return of their 15-pound pet. 

Read more at WEWS and KSAT.

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