West Boca Girl Fight and Phony Outrage

Image from the fight in South County Park

Last week we shared a Facebook video of a fight in South County Regional Park. The video had been posted by Shakeel Munshi and a reader tagged us in a comment.
The video shows his daughter being hit by two or three other girls while several other kids watch. Mr. Munshi’s post claims that she “was getting bullied … because she was Muslim.” In his original post (before he edited it) he also claimed that it happened at West Boca High School, that his daughter was wearing an anti-bullying t-shirt, and that she did not fight back.
Mr. Munshi’s Facebook video now has over 2.7 million views. It went viral because of his lies and that led to a surge of phony outrage from around the world. We received numerous comments, negative reviews, threats, etc. from just about everywhere. The City of Boca Raton and their police department were wrongly targeted by this mob, even though the incident happened outside city lines and had nothing to do with them. The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office and the school district were also besieged by the mob.
The father’s lies contributed to all of this. First of all as we learned from numerous sources and now confirmed by the Sheriff’s investigation, this had nothing to do with religion. The Sheriff’s office sent out an update this morning:

PBSO deputy met with West Boca Raton High School officials and confirmed the identity of all the suspects involved. The suspects and their families have been interviewed. All participants agreed the fight was over “a boy” and “a video that was circulated”. All parties AGREED to meet and to fight and a specific location and time. PBSO Deputy is preparing paperwork to charge the suspects involved with Simple Battery. Once complete, the investigation will be submitted to the state attorney’s office. THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A HATE CRIME.

It should be noted that generally the police and schools are required to protect the privacy of minors. We do not expect that they will publicize the kids’ names, the specific charges filed against them, nor the results of any court proceedings or school discipline. It is also unclear whether the “victim” will also be charged since the evidence indicates she agreed to meet and fight and there is video evidence of her fighting.
Among other lies, the father’s claim that she was wearing an anti-bullying t-shirt was obviously false. In the video you can easily see that she’s wearing a Bulls Football t-shirt. The West Boca High football team is known as The Bulls.

Munshi wearing a Bulls Football t-shirt

He has since edited his post to remove that claim.
He continues to maintain in his post that his daughter did not raise a hand to fight back: “She didn’t picked up a hand because don’t want to fight back.”
This is also a lie as demonstrated in a video showing a different angle of the fight:

If you look at Munshi’s video post again, you can see that the video was edited. It starts after the beginning of the above video so you don’t see her fighting back. And it also leaves out a portion between when his daughter is on the ground and gets back up. We still do not have a full video of this incident so we don’t know what really happened – and neither does the horde of trolls, social justice warriors, etc.
Another lie was the original claim that it happened at West Boca High. Anyone familiar with the school would recognize from the video that it was not on school grounds. We are told this happened in nearby South County Regional Park but we still haven’t gotten a straight answer as to where this was in the park. And his claim that all girls were from West Boca High appears to be inaccurate as at least one of the other girls is reportedly a student at Olympic Heights High School.
Mr. Munshi even misled us about his own location, offering to meet with us at his home in West Boca. But from an NBC Miami report he wasn’t even in the country at the time.
We have published a number of teen fight videos over the past few years. None of them got this much attention, but none of them made phony claims of racism or religious bias.
Some of our sources indicate that Ms. Munshi was bullying one or more of the other girls in the video. At the same time we have another source that tells us one of those other girls has a history of misconduct. Again, we don’t know what the truth is. And neither does the unruly online mob.
One key ingredient to the video’s virality is the depiction of Ms. Munshi as a completely innocent victim. Any suggestion that she was at all responsible for anything that happened, regardless of its truth, was met by a rage from the online mob.
The simple reality of this incident is that it wasn’t much different from the other fight videos we’ve shown. It does not appear that Ms. Munshi was seriously injured. There was no report that she was taken to a hospital or even that she needed to see a doctor. The “simple battery” charge mentioned by the Sheriff means no serious injuries. Had there been serious injuries the charge would have been aggravated battery.
One big difference noted by many is that three girls were hitting Ms. Munshi, rather than it being a one-on-one fight. Everyone agrees that this was wrong. Everyone agrees that the fight itself was wrong. But any questions raised about Mr. Munshi’s lies or the “innocent victim’s” role led to false claims that the questioner supported violence. This is, of course, nonsense. It is a common ploy for political partisans of all stripes to use (or manufacture) an innocent victim in order to support whatever agenda fits their goals.
What’s particularly disturbing to us is how this incident has painted West Boca High kids as racist or prejudiced. We know a lot of kids in West Boca including the area high schools and younger kids. It is our general experience that they are almost entirely unbiased when it comes to race, religion, LGBTQ issues, etc., and certainly less biased than many adults in the community, in the country, and around the world.
The biggest social issue they confront is the stark contrast between rich and poor that one sees in Boca Raton, with some kids living in multi-million dollar mansions in gated communities while others live in trailer parks. The kids seem to handle that well too. There’s also the gifted vs. non-gifted classification in the elementary and middle schools, which translates into Honors and AP classes for the gifted kids and regular classes for the non-gifted. Again in our experience the kids handle this pretty well.
It should be noted that some in the online mob asserted that West Boca News was biased in some way, in particular biased in favor of the Sheriff or the school district. Anyone who actually follows us knows that we have had significant disagreements with both over the past several years.
Our two most popular videos on the West Boca News YouTube channel are of confrontations with PBSO:


We have also been publicly critical of the school district, especially Superintendent Avossa.

Thanksgiving Week Activities for Kids


Friday Night at the Museum on November 17th, 6 to 9:30 p.m. at the Science Explorium in Sugar Sand Park. 7-12 year olds. $20 residents, $25 non-residents. Pizza served.
Blades Giv7ng on November 18th at Drop In Action Sports Complex. 11 a.m. $25 admission. All ages.
Thanksgiving Fun for Everyone! on November 18th, 10:30 a.m., at the Glades Road Branch. Stories, stories, songs, crafts and a short film. Preregister. 561-482-4554.
Turkey Toddler Time on November 18th at 10:30 a.m. at the West Boca Library Branch.
Sparkle Night on November 18th at Delray Marketplace. 5 to 7 p.m. Caroling, crafts, music and more. Free
FAU BAND-O-RAMA on November 19th at Mizner Park Amphitheater. Music starts at 7 p.m. Free.
Prepare for the Great Escape! at the Science Explorium in Sugar Sand Park.  Ages 6-12. November 20th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. $25 for residents, $31.25 for non-residents.
Mother Nature & Me: Thanksgiving with the Animals on November 21st, 10:30 a.m., at Daggerwing Nature Center. Ages 2-5 with guardian. $4 per child. Call 561-629-8760 to reserve your spot.
Parachute Playtime on November 21st at Glades Road Library branch. 10:30 a.m. Ages 3-5. Preregister. 561-482-4554.
Afternoon Crafts on November 21st, 2:30 p.m., at the West Boca Library branch. Ages 3-9.
Teens Escape Room at the Glades Road Library Branch on November 21st at 6 p.m. Grades 6 & up. Preregister. 561-482-4554.
Fishing Fun on November 22nd at Daggerwing Nature Center. 10 a.m. Ages 8+. $10 per participant. Call 561-629-8760 to reserve a space.
Annual Holiday Tree Lighting on November 22nd at Mizner Park Amphitheater. 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Free.
 

West Boca Halloween Activities


October 20th
Shriek Week at Sugar Sand Park, Runs through October 28th. Haunted House, Live Shows, Film Fest, Games, and Rides.
October 21st

Halloween at the Boca Y, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Costumes, decorations and activities. Y members: one bag of candy per person, Non-members: $5 adult, $15 child.
Fall Festival at The Shoppes of Loggers Run, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hay rides, Kids magic show, games and crafts, scavenger hunt and character appearances. Free.
Pumpkin Patch, October 21st through 31st at United Methodist Church, 9087 Glades Road, Boca Raton.
October 23rd
Haunted House Rehearsal at Glades Road Library, 6 p.m. Bring your most creative and spooky ideas for our Haunted house held October 30th. Grades 6 & up. 45 minutes. Call 482-4554 to preregister.
October 24th
Learn the Thriller Dance! at the Glades Road Library, 6 p.m. Grades 6 & up. Call 482-4554 to preregister.
October 25th
Hallo-tween Spooktacular, Glades Road Library, 6 p.m. Listen to scary stories and write your own! Ages 8-12. Call 482-4554 to preregister.
October 27th

Hoot ‘N Howl, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Daggerwing Nature Center. Free Admission. Children of all ages with adult supervision. Games and crafts, learn about nocturnal animals, Night time boardwalk.
Trick’Em Treat’Em Costume Party at Patch Reef Park. 10 a.m. to Noon. Ages 2-5. $5 per child. Munchies, mayhem, games and more.
October 28th

Halloween Bash at Drop In Action Sports Complex.
Trick or Treat Tales, 3 p.m., Glades Road Library. Enjoy stories, songs, games and a craft about Halloween with a costume parade to follow. All ages. Call 482-4554 to preregister.
Peek-A-Boo!, West Boca Library, 10:30 a.m. Not so scary Halloween stories, dancing and singing for ages 1-2. Call 470-1600 to preregister. Also, October 30th and 31st at 10:30 a.m.
Celebrate Frankenstein, West Boca Library, 2:30 p.m. Grades 6-12. Learn about Mary Shelley’s infamous monster and his portrayals thru cinema, books and folklore. Call 470-1600 to preregister.
October 30th
Haunted House!, Glades Road Library, 6 p.m. Our teens will scare you in our walk-through Haunted House. Ages 5 & up. 60 minutes.
Halloween Crafts, West Boca Library, 3:30 p.m. Ages 3 & up. Wear a costume or just come as yourself and make a Halloween themed craft while listening to fun Halloween music.
Trick or Treat at Delray Marketplace, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Free pumpkins and Family Fun. Kids 10 and under can trick or treat at the shops, decorate a pumpkin, enjoy face painting, music, a trackless train and more.

October 31st
Preschool Monster Mash, West Boca Library, 11:30 a.m. Gather with other ghouls, goblins, heroes, princesses and just regular kids for a monstrous time of Halloween stories, music and a craft. First come, first served. Ages 3 & up. Limit 20.

Q & A with Owners of Dynamite Dance, Lisa Bradby-Towers and Alan Towers



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What year did your business start?
We opened our studio, Dynamite Dance, in the Shoppes at Loggers’ Run in West Boca in 2008. We also run a studio in Coral Springs.
What is your background?
We represented Great Britain in Figure Skating from 1985 to 1990. Our highest achievement was a silver medal at the World Professional Championships in 1990. After our competitive career we toured with ice shows all over the world, primarily with the company called Holiday on Ice. We have coached figure skating in the UK, Canada and the U.S. and served on the coaching staff at the Panthers Ice Den in Coral Springs from 2000 to 2014.

How and why did you get into the business?
Lisa has been dancing since the age of five. Her love of dance and music led her into ice dance. When she retired from ice dancing, she decided she wanted to continue working with kids. And she didn’t want to be cold anymore!
What classes do you offer?
Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Contemporary and Acro. We offer the American Ballet National Training Curriculum. We also have programs for dancers as young as 18 months and a competition dance team. See our schedule.

What do you love most about the business?
The flexibility and meeting new people.
What do you think is your biggest challenge with the business?
Getting the word out that we are in the area.
What do you want the community to know about you?
We are a family kid friendly business and we like what we do. We are not a high drama studio of the type typically shown on TV shows. We are professional and courteous!

 

West Boca High School Bulls Baseball Team Barnstorms Through Jacksonville

Story and photos by Alan Shimel, a friend of West Boca News
The WBHS Bulls varsity baseball team took advantage of the spring break vacation to travel upstate to Jacksonville where they competed in a high school baseball tournament held at the Providence School.
The Bulls led by Coach Nathan Underwood took a full squad of 23 players up to Jacksonville for the tourney. While only playing in three games, Coach Underwood was able to get just about every player into a game for some play and experience. The team went 1-2 but were competitive in every game.
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Driving up on Monday the Bulls first game was Tuesday against an overmatched St John Lutheran team. The Bulls big bats came alive early and they won a mercy rule shortened game 16-5. Senior Chris Charlock went the distance for the Bulls in this game as pitcher. Lawrence Ghougasian, Cory Kuchtam Dom Iagrossi and Chris Cavallo were among the almost 20 Bulls players with hits this game.
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The next day’s game had the Bulls moving up in competition against the Bozeman Bucks. Ryan Powers started as pitcher for the Bulls. The Bucks scored a run early and held the lead throughout the game. The final was 5-2. Some excellent relief pitching by Landon Shimel kept the Bulls in the game. The West Boca squad had several chances to take the game but left the bases loaded twice in the late innings.
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The Bulls played their last game this morning before heading back to the confines of friendly Boca Raton. They played Ravenwood HS from Tennessee. Chris Cavallo was the starting pitcher for West Boca. The game was a nip and tuck affair throughout. The Bull lost when Ravenwood hit a walk off sacrifice fly in their last at bat 9-8.
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Win or lose it was a great experience for the players on the team. They travelled, lodged and ate together as a team. Parents were present and encouraged to participate but this is about high school athletes growing up into young men. Road trips like this are important in that process.
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Thanks to the coaches and administration for putting together this trip and to parents who volunteered to drive and chaperone the players. The Bulls continue their season with Senior night on March 31 at home against Iliana Christian HS. Senior night ceremonies start at 4:45 and the game starts at 6. Go Bulls!

Loggers' Run Wrestler Wins State Championship

chase-wrestle
Chase Thompson, a 7th grader at Loggers Run Middle School, wrestled for a state championship where he pinned every opponent all the way through the finals to become the Cadet 195 pound state champion. The Cadet division was made up of 9th & 10th grade wrestlers.
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Chase had suffered a knee injury during practice in January, with a fractured patella (kneecap) and strained ligaments. After extensive physical therapy and cryotherapy he was able to get read for the tournament on March 13th.

Chase with his coach 2x Olympian Shawn Sheldon
Chase with his coach 2x Olympian Shawn Sheldon

Chase Thompson was initially registered to wrestle in the USA Wrestling’s Florida Amateur Athletic Association (FAWA) State Championship in his respective division/weight class “Schoolboy” 190 lb. When there was no one entered in that weight class, he was asked to move up to the next division.
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Chase was also awarded the Outstanding Wrestler for that division for the most pins and fastest pins. Congratulations to Chase for his hard work and success.
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Loggers' Run Student Reports from Clinton Campaign Event

Loggers’ Run Middle School student (and celebrity reporter) Benjamin Schiller tells us exclusively about his experience covering Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Super Tuesday event in Miami.
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Last Tuesday, March 1, 2016, as a kid reporter for the Scholastic News Press Corps, I covered Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Super Tuesday’s campaign event at the Ice Palace Studios in Miami, Florida. It was an interesting day as I found out the afternoon before I would be covering this exciting rally.
I arrived an hour before the doors opened at 6:30p.m, to be guaranteed a good spot near where Secretary Clinton’s podium to speak was set up. At that time, there were several hundred supporters standing line before me. Moments after the doors opened, the line was as long as three blocks!
Many of the supporters came from all over Florida. They traveled from Naples, Coral Gables, Boca Raton, and even a few blocks away. Some came to the event for the experience of witnessing a major political event. However, most of the people that came were her supporters of all races, gender and religions.
As the doors opened for the event, everyone had to go through intense security measures. Secret Service agents checked every bag and everyone went through a metal detector for precautionary reasons. After I passed through security, I rushed in to get as close as possible to the stage. It was standing room only. I was asked to stand on the stage where she was going to speak. Due to my role as reporter and part of the press, I must stay unbiased and had to decline.
That evening, Secretary Clinton won most of the delegates. The former U.S Secretary won the majority of most states and received delegates from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Although the Democratic Presidential Candidate had lost some states, she earned a significant sum of the delegates from Colorado, Minnesota, and Oklahoma.
Every once in a while, there were several chants of “USA” to “Hillary.” I waited in the crowd almost three hours for her to appear. Once the Democratic Presidential Candidate came on stage, she told the huge crowd of supporters, “We’ve got work to do” and also stated, “Instead of building walls, were going to break down barriers.” She spoke for almost twenty minutes. She then left the stage where she took a few selfies with a few supporters next to her. Unfortunately, I was not able to get into that area.
After all, I enjoyed covering this event for Scholastic’s News Kids Press Corps. I sure can’t wait for my next experience!
If you would like to check out my article, here it is!
http://kpcnotebook.scholastic.com/post/hillary-clinton-greets-supporters

BREAKING: Loggers Run Teacher Arrested for Sexting Teen

Loggers Run teacher Matthew Webster on a better day.
Loggers Run teacher Matthew Webster on a better day.

Teacher Matthew Webster was arrested for sending nude pictures of himself “to a 14-year-old student via smart phone. Charges are two counts of delivery of pornographic material harmful to a minor,” according to a media relations contact at the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.
Earlier today several readers contacted us about an e-mail from Principal Fran Giblin of Loggers Run Middle School:

Today, a teacher at our school was arrested. While the allegations against the teacher are being investigated, the teacher will not be returning to campus and will have no contact with any students. At this time we do not have reason to believe that any of our students were affected.
While we do anticipate media coverage of the arrest, Loggers’ Run Middle School does not have any further details that we can provide.

Multiple sources told us that the arrest occurred shortly before 4 pm when school lets out. Readers told us they saw police at the school.
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Webster teaches culinary and home economics at the school and also coaches girls basketball. He is 41 years old.
It is our understanding that the student he was sexting is female, a recent former student of his at the school, and currently attends an area high school. We do not know her name and would not release it if we did.
Loggers Run, on West Palmetto Park Road, is a highly rated middle school and students scores are among the highest in the county.
Update: From the blotter, Webster is still in custody and bond has not been set.
Booking Date/Time:  01/05/2016 18:09
Arresting Agency:  01-PBSO
Jacket Number: 0474133
Booking Number:   2016000526
 Charges:
 847.0138-5264 
 CRUELTY TOWARD CHILD – TRANSMIT INFO HARMFUL TO MINORS
 847.0138-5264 
 CRUELTY TOWARD CHILD – TRANSMIT INFO HARMFUL TO MINORS

Why We Like Mathnasium

We have been fans of Mathnasium for four years now. The results are outstanding. We’ve seen kids who were struggling at their grade level of math improved to perform very well at two grade levels ahead. We wrote about the West Boca Mathnasium’s opening last year.

Amy & Harel; Mathnasium in Westwinds of Boca (between Home Depot and Publix)
Amy & Harel; Mathnasium in Westwinds of Boca (between Home Depot and Publix)

A lot of parents go to math tutoring for homework help or test prep. Mathnasium does that, and does it just as well as anyone else. But Mathnasium is special because of “Number Sense.” This short video explains that a little:

We do not take our kids to Mathnasium for homework help or test prep at all. We focus on the Number Sense curriculum. This is not about the short term goal of the next homework or the next test. We are interested in the long term goals of readiness for math at the high school and college levels, as well as tests like the SAT and ACT.
Like many parents, we are unhappy with the math curriculum in our schools. People love to blame one group of politicians or another. The truth is that politicians of all stripes and education bureaucrats have been destroying math education for decades. It dates back to New Math in the 1960s and has only gotten worse.
Mathnasium’s own curriculum brings kids back to math that makes sense. We have found it particularly helpful with kids in elementary and middle school. In a way it’s like a vaccine. Spending a couple extra hours a week doing math the right way inoculates kids against the sickness of Common Core and No Child Left Behind. It helps them develop a solid foundation of real understanding, making it easier to learn higher level math when they get there.
To think about it another way, spending a couple extra hours a week doing math can only help a child for those high stakes college admissions tests down the road. If it gets your kid an extra 50 or 100 points on the Math SAT, that makes a significant difference in what schools they can get into and what scholarships might be available. Thinking even longer term, a kid who might otherwise be scared of the math in engineering or some other subject could be more ready to take on those challenges.
Mathematical literacy is tremendously important for college-bound kids. For those who are looking to give their kids an extra boost, we highly recommend Mathnasium. It’s not an overnight fix, but a process that leads to substantial improvement after a year or two.
Here’s another video about Number Sense, with the Mathnasium founder:

Loggers' Run Student Wins National Journalism Recognition

Benjamin Schiller; photo provided by family.
Benjamin Schiller; photo provided by family.

Benjamin Schiller, an 8th grade student at Loggers’ Run Middle School, has been named to the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps, “the country’s oldest and largest student reporting program.”

For more than 15 years, the Scholastic News Kids Press Corps has delivered news to classrooms nationwide. Stories by the kid reporters appear in select issues of Scholastic classroom magazines, which are read by more than 25 million students nationwide and are available online at www.scholastic.com/news

Schiller is one of only three kids chosen from Florida, and the only one south of Orlando. He is currently working on his first article for Scholastic, about habitat protection issues in the Everglades. He tells us he is hopeful that this experience “will jump start my career in journalism.”
Schiller has written for West Boca News in the past, including these articles:
6 FAU Owls Drafted by MLB
Boca Raton Bowl Coming to FAU
Boca Raton Bowl Report
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