Thursday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Texas Investigator found 30+ Bruises, Cuts on Dead Boy Adopted from Russia, CNN

A 3-year-old adopted boy — whose death in West Texas has drawn stern criticism from Russia — had more than 30 bruises, cuts and other marks on his body soon after he was pronounced dead, according to a report from a Texas medical examiner obtained by CNN.

Along with his 2-year-old brother, Max Shatto arrived in the United States with his adoptive parents in November 2011. Just more than two months later, his adoptive mother told authorities that she found him unresponsive in the family’s Gardendale, Texas, backyard. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a nearby hospital.

Soon after Max’s death on January 21, Russia’s top child rights advocate tweeted that the boy had been “killed” or “murdered.” Children’s Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov later acknowledged he might have spoken too soon — though he has remained highly critical of the U.S. handling of the case.

A High School where the Students are the Teachers, Time

If high school students took charge of their education with limited supervision, would they learn? A Massachusetts school is finding out.

“Some kids say, I hate science or I hate math, but what they are really saying is: I hate science class or I hate math class,” says high school senior Matt Whalan.

Whalan is writing a novel. That’s a notable feat for a 17-year-old, and he has a semester to finish it. Whalan is enrolled in the Monument Mountain Regional High School’s Independent Project, an alternative program described as a “school within a school,” founded and run by students. The semester-long program is in its third year, and Whalan has completed the program three times during his high school career and says it has saved his grades.

Torrington Holding Public Meeting on Cyberbullying,

The arrests of three high school students on sexual assault charges and the online taunting of an accuser have prompted Torrington officials to organize a community meeting on cyberbullying, statutory rape and social media.

Board of Education Chairman Kenneth Traub said Monday that school officials, local police and religious leaders are organizing a community forum they expect to hold in the first two weeks of April. He said additional public meetings are possible.

“I imagine that the public input section of it would be overwhelming,” Traub told the Register Citizen newspaper of Torrington. “We are working with the city and the police department to put on a forum to discuss the issues at hand.”

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