Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

History teachers face an uphill battle

London Free Press, MARISSA NELSON, Free Press Reporter May 29, 2004

Teachers are the key to keeping our country's history alive, but at least one noted historian questions their ability to handle the responsibility. "It's a bleak picture . . . I wish they were up for the job," says Jack Granatstein, chairperson of the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century. "Many teachers think war is something that should be taught as a bad thing, which neglects the heroism."

Schools teach children their rights in Canada, but not the responsibilities that come with citizenship, he says. We don't even know what opinions teachers are giving children, he adds, and whether they're sound.

"History is very important in a country that is as multi-cultural as we are. It's very important to understand the price we pay for that. "We teach a kind of human security, peacekeeping history, which strikes me as nuts, given all the violence. You need soldiers who can fight a war when you need to."

But Jonathan Vance, associate professor of history at the University of Western Ontario, is more optimistic because of the increased attention paid to history on television and in movies.

"They're tuning in more than we might imagine. I'm pretty optimistic about memory continuing," he says. "It's easy to make it boring but just as easy to make it interesting."

He says the key is making history relevant. He once grabbed a school's honour roll from the front foyer on his way into a Remembrance Day presentation and pointed out to the children that the men on the plaque sat in the same seats as them, 60 years ago.

"Suddenly they drew the connection with the past that seems so distant and the present they're living," he says.

The province tests students' aptitude in reading, writing, and math -- the foundations of education -- but how does history fit in? Is it even a priority? High school chemistry teachers need a chemistry degree, but that's not the case for history teachers.

David Harvey, head of the history department at Huron Park secondary school in Woodstock, worries the subject that's been his life passion isn't given enough importance.

He believes his students know history and would fare well against the general population, but he knows that isn't saying much.

Most industrialized countries require more than one history high school credit -- many provinces in Canada don't even require one.

Ten children from Kensal Park French immersion school in London -- who are going to Normandy for the D-Day anniversary -- described their trip as a "chance of a lifetime" because of the stories they'll hear and the things they'll see.

Hands-on experience is exactly what kids want and the kids at Kensal Park say history isn't boring.

University students don't find it boring, either, and are signing up for courses in droves, Vance says.

But a lack of knowledge about military history should be a wake-up call for this country, argues Rudyard Griffiths, executive director of the Dominion Institute.

A 1998 survey by the institute found most people over age 55 passed a test on Canadian history. But 72 per cent of 18- to 34-years-old failed.

Another 2001 survey showed three-quarters of Canadians are embarrassed by how little they know and four of every five people say high school students should have to take two history courses.

"To me this is the canary in the coal mine," Griffiths says.

A generation that doesn't know history is less likely to vote, less apt to volunteer and definitely less supportive of Canada's armed forces.

"The country has to be grounded in something deeper," Griffiths says. "It has to be based in a shared understanding of the country's history. History will bind people together."

Jack Wright

From Beachville. Signed up at 20. He was a truck driver for the service corps, mostly moving ammunition and supplies to troops.

Bill Ferris

From Port Dover. Signed up at 20. Member of Royal Canadian Dragoons in the NATO force in Germany after the war. They were there to ensure the Russians didn't invade the British sector.

Murray Rettie

From Burgessville. Signed up at 24. Member of the Royal Canadian Dragoons. Helped keep Russians out of the British sector of Germany after the war.

Associated Press logo

Woman convicted of killing 3 kids after custody battle

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, USA, August 26, 2008

HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.

The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.

She tried to kill herself afterward.

The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.

Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.

A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.

Canadian Press - New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.

Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.

Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.

It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.

At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.

Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Canadian Press - Mother child abuse - sentenced 16 years in jail

Ontario woman convicted of son's starvation death granted full parole

Canadian Press
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.

Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.

But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.

Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.

"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.

Mainichi Daily News| Woman who cut off her newborn son's genitals handed 5-year prison term

Woman who cut off her newborn son's private parts handed 5-year prison term

Mainichi Daily News, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, November 26, 2006

SAKAI, Osaka -- A woman accused of cutting off her newborn son's private parts in 2004 was ordered Monday to spend five years behind bars.

The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court convicted Shizue Tamura, 27, a resident of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, of inflicting bodily injury.

"The way she committed the crime was unprecedented, inhumane and cruel," Presiding Judge Masahiro Hosoi said as he handed down the ruling. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term.  Read More ..

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Health Canada

Aggressive Girls
Overview Paper

This overview paper summarizes recent research on girls who exhibit aggressive and violent behaviours. It defines relevant terms, outlines factors which may contribute to girls' aggression and violence, and presents ideas for preventing these behaviours. A list of resources is also included. 2002, 13p.  Read More ..

Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Canadian Press - Mother child abuse - sentenced 16 years in jail

Ontario woman convicted of son's starvation death granted full parole

Canadian Press
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.

Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.

But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.

Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.

"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.

AAP

Yeeda Topham killed her baby son but walks free

Australian Associated Press
December 05, 2008

A WOMAN who killed her infant son by jumping with him from the eighth floor of a city apartment block has walked free after being convicted of manslaughter.

Yeeda Topham, 40, of Roleystone near Perth, had pleaded guilty in the West Australian Supreme Court to a charge of unlawfully killing 21-month-old James Topham on November 5 last year.    Read More ..

Mother Charged with Killing Her Baby

Firefighters Find Baby's Body In Washing Machine

Fire Officials Claim Fire Intentionally Set

NBC4-TV, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

LOS ANGELES, USA -- Murder charges are expected to be filed against a woman whose infant son's body was found in a washing machine after firefighters doused what they say was an intentionally set fire, authorities said Tuesday.

Latunga Starks, 32, was taken into custody last night, according to the Sheriff's Department Web site.

Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Dennis Shirey identified the mother and her nearly 3-month-old son, Michael Kelvin Thompson.

Toronto Sun - Mother found guilty of killing all 4 babies

"Murder in the nursery"
Australian mom killed her 4 babies

TORONTO SUN, May 23, 2003

It seemed a tragic coincidence - at first.

Craig and Kathleen Folbigg's first son died in his sleep at 19 days old. Their next child, Patrick, died two years later at nine months.

Still, it was after their fourth baby died before Australian police suspected something was terribly wrong.

In Sydney's New South Wales State Supreme Court this week, Kathleen Folbigg, 35, was found guilty of killing all four of her babies.

The jury's work would have been made much easier if they had been allowed to read Folbigg's entire secret diary. In it, she practically confesses to following in her dad's deadly footsteps.

"Obviously I am my father's daughter," the Australian woman wrote in her diary Oct. 14, 1996, having already killed three of her four children.

"But I think losing my temper and being frustrated and everything has passed. I now just let things happen and go with the flow. An attitude I should of had with all my children, if given the chance, I'll have it with the next one."

Folbigg was pregnant at the time with her fourth child. She would go on to kill her as well.