A local reporter at Hometown Life shared a unique and heartfelt story on March 16 about a mother struggling to find shoes that fit her 14-year-old son. The story resonated with parents everywhere; now, her son is getting the help he desperately needs. It's a wonderful example of people helping a family that thought they had nowhere to turn.
When Eric Kilburn Jr. was born, his mother, Rebecca’s OBGYN, told her that he had the “biggest feet I’ve ever seen in my life. Do not go out and buy baby shoes because they’re not gonna fit,’” Rebecca told Today.com. Fourteen years later, it’s almost impossible to find shoes that fit the 6’10” freshman—he needs a size 23.
The teen's height doesn't stem from a gland issue; he comes from a family of tall people. Both his parents are over 6 feet tall.
Eric plays football for Goodrich High School in Goodrich, Michigan, but doesn’t wear cleats, which led to a sprained ankle. He also suffers from ingrown toenails that are so severe he’s had two nails on his biggest toes permanently removed.
Last year, the family was lucky enough to stumble upon five pairs of size 21 shoes at a Nike outlet store. It was discovered they were made especially for Tacko Fall, the NBA player with some of the most enormous feet in the game. To put things in perspective, Shaquille O’Neal wears a size 22.
However, Eric soon grew out of those as well. The family was left with one more option: have orthopedic shoes made for Eric at the cost of $1,500 with no guarantee he won’t quickly grow out of those as well.
After his mother’s heartfelt plea to Hometown Life, the family got much-needed help from multiple companies, including Under Armour and PUMA, who are sending representatives to Michigan to measure his feet for custom shoes.
CAT has reached out to make him a custom pair of boots. Eric hasn't had any boots to wear for the past five Michigan winters.
Kara Pattison started a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the family to help them purchase custom shoes for “the rest of the time Eric has these feet.” It has raised nearly $20,000 for the family in just over a week.
“The success of this fundraiser is well beyond what was ever expected,” Pattison wrote on the site on March 18. “The Kilburns plan to open a bank account dedicated to Eric's future footwear and some specialized sports equipment. He can use this to get a helmet that fits for football along with pads. They will also look into a football and track jersey for him.”
The sense of relief felt by Rebecca, Eric and the rest of the Kilburn family must be incredible. It has to be frustrating to be unable to provide your child with something as basic as footwear.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Rebecca told Hometown Life. “I have been this puddle of emotions, all of them good…It’s the coolest thing to be able to say we did it! He has shoes! I am not usually a crier, but I have been in a constant state of happy tears…We are so grateful.”
Dad on TikTok shared how he addressed his son's bullying.
What do you do when you find out your kid bullied someone? For many parents, the first step is forcing an apology. While this response is of course warranted, is it really effective? Some might argue that there are more constructive ways of handling the situation that teach a kid not only what they did wrong, but how to make things right again.
Single dadPatrick Forseth recently shared how he made a truly teachable moment out of his son, Lincoln, getting into trouble for bullying. Rather than forcing an apology, Forseth made sure his son was actively part of a solution.
The thought process behind his decision, which he explained in a now-viral TikTok video, is both simple and somewhat racial compared to how many parents have been encouraged to handle similar situations.
“I got an email a few days ago from my 9-year-old son's teacher that he had done a ‘prank’ to a fellow classmate and it ended up embarrassing the classmate and hurt his feelings,” the video begins.
At this point, Forseth doesn’t split hairs. “I don't care who you are, that's bullying,” he said. “If you do something to somebody that you know has the potential end result of them being embarrassed in front of a class or hurt—you’re bullying.”
So, Forseth and Lincoln sat down for a long talk (a talk, not a lecture) about appropriate punishment and how it would have felt to be on the receiving end of such a prank.
From there, Forseth told his son that he would decide how to make things right, making it a masterclass in taking true accountability.
“I demanded nothing out of him. I demanded no apology, I demanded no apology to the teacher,” he continued, adding, “I told him that we have the opportunity to go back and make things right. We can't take things back, but we can try to correct things and look for forgiveness.”
So what did Lincoln do? He went back to his school and actually talked to the other boy he pranked. After learning that they shared a love of Pokémon, he then went home to retrieve two of his favorite Pokémon cards as a peace offering, complete with a freshly cleaned case.
Lincoln would end up sharing with his dad that the other boy was so moved by the gesture that he would end up hugging him.
“I just want to encourage all parents to talk to your kids,” Forseth concluded. “Let's try to avoid just the swat on the butt [and] send them to their room. Doesn't teach them anything.”
In Forseth’s opinion, kids get far more insight by figuring out how to resolve a problem themselves. “That's what they're actually going to face in the real world once they move out of our nests.”
He certainly has a point. A slap on the wrist followed by being marched down somewhere to say, “I’m sorry,” only further humiliates kids most of the time. With this gentler approach, kids are taught the intrinsic value of making amends after wrongdoing, not to mention the power of their own autonomy. Imagine that—blips in judgment can end up being major character-building moments.
Kudos to this dad and his very smart parenting strategy.
Miss Smith shares the "secret code" teachers use in emails to parents.
There are many things that teachers think but cannot say aloud. Teachers have to have a certain sense of decorum and often have strict rules about the things they can or can’t say about children, especially to their parents.
Plus, it’s a teacher’s job to educate, not judge. So, they find ways to kindly say what’s on their minds without having to resort to name-calling or talking disparagingly of a student.
Jess Smith, 33, is a former teacher who goes by the moniker Miss Smith as a stand-up comedian and on her podcast, Hot Mess Teacher Express. She decided to have a little fun with euphemisms, or the “secret code” she had to use when speaking to parents about their children.
The video has gone viral on TikTok, receiving over 70,000 views, after being shared by the Bored Teachers page.
Have you used our secret Teacher Code when talking with parents?? 🤫 #teachersoftiktok #teacherlife #secret #teacher #parents
"We have a code when we email parents," Smith said in her video. "When we use phrases like, ‘Your child is very social,’ that means they won’t stop talking," she explained. “'Their excitement in the classroom is contagious,' translates to 'They will not calm down,'" Smith said, adding that a "natural born leader" is a polite way of saying "super bossy."
The post struck a chord with parents and teachers who shared secret codes they’ve heard or used.
“My son’s pre-k teacher told me he was the most scientific kid she’s ever had, she prob meant he asks a million questions allll day long," Tina Marie wrote. “In kindergarten, I got ‘is overly helpful’ when my parents asked the teacher said I was finishing my test and giving answers out so we could play,” Tallulah the great added.
“When I first started teaching, I was told to tell parents their child is ‘spirited’ if they never stop talking and can’t sit still," Allie commented.
“‘Your son is going to make a great lawyer,’ which is code for: your kid won’t stop arguing with me," C added.
However, the post wasn’t a hit with everyone. Some believe teachers should speak to parents in a straightforward manner and avoid using euphemisms.
“As a parent. I would rather a teacher just tell me, instead of using codes. We know our kids. We live with them and you have them for 8 hours," happily_married wrote in the comments.
“It’s time to start saying it like it is. Why are we so afraid of laying the truth on the line?" QYMSC added.
In an interview with the "Today" show, Smith assured everyone that when she was a teacher, she had no problem being straightforward when necessary. “If a serious conversation needed to happen, I didn’t sugarcoat it,” Smith said. But the code was a way for her to share difficult information politely, in a non-confrontational way.
“Connecting with the parents was always important to me, and I never wanted them to feel like, ’This is your problem to take care of.’ No, this is something we can work on together. I’m here to help your kid,” Smith said. “I found that parents just responded better to the code.”
Florida principal fired after showing statue of "David."
If you ask most teachers why they went into education, they'll share that it had nothing to do with the money and everything to do with their passion for teaching. Even with rapid changes in curriculum and policies, teachers who remain in the classroom are lovers of education and are doing their best to help kids learn.
Hope Carrasquilla, the former principal of Florida's Tallahassee Classical School, was one of those teachers who simply enjoyed teaching. As the principal, Carrasquilla was required to teach two classes. During her sixth grade lesson about Renaissance art, which is also a requirement of the school, Carrasquilla showed a picture of Michelangelo's "David" statue.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, three parents complained about their children being shown the picture. Two of those parents were mostly upset that there wasn't sufficient notice given before the photo of the sculpture was shown. The third parent reportedly complained that the statue of the Biblical figure was pornographic.
Michelangelo's sculpture wasn't the only source of the complaint. It was essentially the entire lesson, which also included "The Creation of Adam," another Michelangelo piece, and Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus." These are classic works of art that are easily recognizable by just about any layman, even if they can't name the artist.
Carrasquilla admitted that there was a bit of a kerfuffle with notifying parents of the lesson, which is a new policy implemented just two months ago. The policy requires that parents receive written notification two weeks prior to teaching potentially controversial content, according to The Independent.
Shortly after her lesson, Carrasquilla was called into an emergency school board meeting where she was forced to choose between resignation or being fired. She chose to resign, leaving the school less than a year after starting her tenure there.
While three parents were upset over the lesson, others were blindsided by the termination of the school principal. Carrie Boyd, who has a third and a seventh-grader at the school, told the Tallahassee Democrat that the principal's abrupt resignation was shocking to her and other parents. Boyd also voiced concerns over the "non-secular" direction the school appeared to be taking.
Tallahassee Classical School is a private charter school that has only been open for three years and is affiliated with Hillsdale College, a private conservative college located in Michigan, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. Barney Bishop, the school board chair, told HuffPost, "Parental rights trump everything else."
But it seems Carrasquilla is gaining support across the internet. Comments range from frustration to people comparing it to a "Simpson's" episode about censorship that remarkably also depicted the statue of "David."
"Heavens to Betsy, a body part depicted in one of the most famous pieces of art in all of history! What next?!?," David Weiss wrote.
The greatest confusion seemed to stem from classical artwork being considered controversial enough to require parental notification when the school markets itself as a "classical school" and Renaissance art is a requirement. Renaissance art isn't exactly known for its elaborate depiction of clothing; it's quite the opposite.
Surely, the ousted principal will find other employment, but for now, she and the rest of the internet are left feeling a bit flabbergasted by the seemingly drastic response to classical works of art.
One of the oldest frauds in the book is the “your loved one is in trouble” scam. Scammers call posing as a grandchild or loved one in distress who claims they’ve been kidnapped or are in jail. The scammer may also impersonate a nurse, police officer, lawyer or other authority figure representing the loved one.
The scammer claims that the loved one needs money wired to the fraudster immediately to bring them to safety.
The scam is effective because the victim is under pressure to get them money quickly, so they don’t have time to consider the fact that it may be a scam. All the while, they imagine the torment the loved one is going through. The urgency of the scam makes it much more likely that the victim will hand over the money.
The FTC is warning people that scammers have given this scam a new technological twist by faking the voice of the loved one by using voice cloning powered by artificial intelligence.
“Artificial intelligence is no longer a far-fetched idea out of a sci-fi movie,” the FTCs warning reads. “We're living with it, here and now. A scammer could use AI to clone the voice of your loved one. All he needs is a short audio clip of your family member's voice—which he could get from content posted online—and a voice-cloning program. When the scammer calls you, he’ll sound just like your loved one.”
All fraudsters need to clone someone’s voice realistically is a 30-second clip of audio that they can easily rip from Facebook, TikTok, podcasts, commercials or Instagram. The voice-generating software synthesizes what makes a person's voice sound unique and then finds similar voices by searching vast databases. This allows them to replicate someone’s voice in real-time to create a phone call that sounds authentic.
It’s terribly difficult to detect the scam because voice-cloning software has become increasingly accurate. As AI technology improves, avoiding being fooled by the scam will become harder.
"It's terrifying," Hany Farid, a professor of digital forensics at University of California, Berkeley, told The Washington Post. "It's sort of the perfect storm ... [with] all the ingredients you need to create chaos."
FTC officials say that in 2022 Americans lost $8.8 billion to fraud, with imposter scams being the most common, and there’s usually no way to get the money back. Scammers usually demand payment through cryptocurrency, money wires, or gift cards, so tracing it is impossible.
The FTC wants people to think twice if they receive a phone call from a loved one in distress or someone claiming to be their representative, especially if they ask for money.
“Don’t trust the voice,” the FTC warning reads. “Call the person who supposedly contacted you and verify the story. Use a phone number you know is theirs. If you can’t reach your loved one, try to get in touch with them through another family member or their friends.”
If you are targeted by one of these voice clone scams, report it to the FTC immediately. You could prevent the next person from being scammed.
Afroman ready for the 2024 United States Presidential Election
Joseph Foreman, better known to music fans as rapper Afroman, had his Ohio home raided by Adams County Sheriff's deputies last August. The deputies were acting on a warrant claiming probable cause that drugs, drug paraphernalia, and evidence of drug trafficking and kidnapping would be found on his property.
Afroman wasn't home at the time of the raid, but his wife captured footage of it on her phone.
The deputies found nothing, confiscated over $5,000 worth of Afroman’s hard-earned money, bashed in his front door, broke his front gate and destroyed his home security camera system. No charges were filed after the raid. The money was later returned to the "Because I Got High" rapper.
“They come up here with AR-15, traumatize my kids, destroyed my property, kick in my door, rip up and destroy my camera system,” he said in August, according to Fox 19.
The deputies have now filed a lawsuit against Afroman, claiming that he used their personas for commercial purposes without permission. The deputies claim the attention caused them to suffer "embarrassment, ridicule, emotional distress, humiliation, and loss of reputation."
The complaint adds that Afroman “created dozens of videos and images of Plaintiffs’ personas and posted them on various social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube, Snap Chat, TikTok and Instagram.”
The deputies believe they are entitled to all the profits from using their personas, including concert ticket sales, music videos, and all products associated with the Afroman brand, including beer, marijuana and clothing.
So Afroman got his house trashed, his kids traumatized, and his money taken, and now the officers involved want to sue him for appearing in the video recorded on his property? The rapper believes that the deputies' activities were criminal.
“The warrant put the Adams county sheriff in a position to attempt to kill me,” he wrote on Instagram. “After the Adams County Sheriff. Burglarized vandalized and destroyed my property. They became thieves and stole my money. After they stole my money they became criminals. After they became criminals they lost their right of privacy. My house is my property, my video camera films, everything on my property as they begin, stealing my money, disconnecting plus destroying my video camera system, they became my property!”
Afroman’s attorney has released a statement claiming he will countersue.
The attorney statement shared by Afroman shared on Instagram says that they are waiting on public records requests from Adams County. “We are planning to counter-sue for the unlawful raid, money being stolen, and for the undeniable damage this had on my client's family, career and property," it adds.
Afroman is right to feel that he’s the victim in this story. He was wrongly accused of multiple crimes and took retribution by making a video of the raid, which was conducted by public officials. In Ohio, it is legal to film police interactions, and it’s an important right that holds law enforcement accountable.