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Have you ever worn leggings? Then you don't belong in class, says this Florida principal.

The biggest problem plaguing American high schools? Leggings, apparently.

Have you ever worn leggings? Then you don't belong in class, says this Florida principal.

Yesterday, a group of high schoolers were, um... I’m sorry. What was I saying? Oh yeah. So there’s this high school in Florida. They did ... this thing...

OK, this is getting embarrassing. I'm sorry, I'm just so distracted. I'm sure you understand.


You see, I'm writing this article from a coffee shop, and there are people wearing leggings here. LEGGINGS.

You know, those stretchy pants that people (mostly girls and women) wear on their legs. You may have heard about them in the news, because they've been scandalizing high school administrations across America.

Many schools insist that if girls wear leggings, their male colleagues — upstanding young citizens who would otherwise be diligently focused on their studies — will only be able to concentrate on their female classmates' bodies.

And yesterday, the curse of the distracting leggings struck again — this time, in Pensacola at Booker T. Washington High School.

A fed up student posted this photo on Facebook, which has been shared widely.

"Up until THIS MORNING we were allowed to wear leggings and without any prior warning every girl wearing leggings was sent to the office and they arent giving warnings, theyre SUSPENDING us for 10 days if we cant get a change of clothes or get checked out. Some of us CANT go home right now and how were we supposed to know anyway? They said we are a distraction for how we dress and we are taking away from people getting education. The only people who are getting their education taken away are the females. They said it was for boys in violation of dress code too, but there wasnt a single boy up there and I promise you there were just as many boys sagging their jeans as there were girls in leggings. Thank you for telling us that females actually arent equal to the males at Washington High School." — Amelia Martinez

According to students at the school, teachers were instructed to send all students wearing leggings to the principal's office. "Yesterday morning our principal came over the PA system. He began to talk about dress code, focusing mainly on the female body," a Washington student, Alexsys McClellan, told Upworthy.

"He told every teacher to send whoever was wearing leggings to him or the dean," she added.

An estimated 80 female students were pulled from class for wearing leggings.

Can you believe it? There were that many distractions, just walking around the school in front of everyone — "distractions" who were going to class, reading books, perhaps even studying for the SAT.

Some of the students had to call their parents and ask them to bring a change of clothes to the school. "We were there for over an hour just to deal with wearing leggings," another student told the Pensacola News Journal.

Washington High Principal Michael Roberts spoke to local radio show 1620 News Radio about the incident. "Today, sir, there was no change in the dress code. There was just enforcement of the dress code," he said. You can hear the rest of the interview here.

Within hours of the announcement, students began posting on Facebook about their disappointment with the school's decision — and they decided to take action.

"This is honestly way more distracting than leggings. That has been the only thing we have been talking about in every class," wrote one student, who should maybe consider a future career in school administration.

"I'm tired of having to change my life around to fulfill the needs of men," another girl posted. "I wake up every morning to come to a school to learn."

One student even created a Change.org petition, and McClellan wrote a letter to the school board.

The double standard is not lost on students at Washington High School. Photo by Alexsys McClellan, used with permission.

And women aren't the only ones calling out the administration. McClellan said lots of male students at Washington aren't too happy with the idea that girls should be held to different standards either.

"I'm very proud of them and how they've come together and helped us girls," she said.

"What's really distracting?" Photo by Alexsys McClellan, used with permission.

"The issue is important because we do not want to live in a society anymore where women are judged and lowered because of their gender," she said.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves, Alexsys.

Several years ago, you wouldn't have known what QAnon was unless you spent a lot of time reading through comments on Twitter or frequented internet chat rooms. Now, with prominent Q adherents making headlines for storming the U.S. Capitol and elements of the QAnon worldview spilling into mainstream politics, the conspiracy theory/doomsday cult has become a household topic of conversation.

Many of us have watched helplessly as friends and family members fall down the rabbit hole, spewing strange ideas about Democrats and celebrities being pedophiles who torture children while Donald Trump leads a behind-the-scenes roundup of these evil Deep State actors. Perfectly intelligent people can be susceptible to conspiracy theories, no matter how insane, which makes it all the more frustrating.

A person who was a true believer in QAnon mythology (which you can read more about here) recently participated in an "Ask Me Anything" thread on Reddit, and what they shared about their experiences was eye-opening. The writer's Reddit handle is "diceblue," but for simplicity's sake we'll call them "DB."

DB explained that they weren't new to conspiracy theories when QAnon came on the scene. "I had been DEEP into conspiracy for about 8 years," they wrote. "Had very recently been down the ufo paranormal rabbit hole so when Q really took off midterm for trump I 'did my research' and fell right into it."

DB says they were a true believer until a couple of years ago when they had an experience that snapped them out of it:

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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Two weeks ago, we watched a pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow the results of a U.S. election and keep Donald Trump in power. And among those insurrectionists were well-known adherents of QAnon, nearly every image of the crowd shows people wearing Q gear or carrying Q flags, and some of the more frightening elements we saw tie directly into QAnon beliefs.

Since hints of it first started showing up in social media comments several years ago, I've been intrigued—and endlessly frustrated—by the phenomenon of QAnon. At first, it was just a few fringey whacko conspiracy theorists I could easily roll my eyes at and ignore, but as I started seeing elements of it show up more and more frequently from more and more people, alarm bells started ringing.

Holy crap, there are a lot of people who actually believe this stuff.

Eventually, it got personal. A QAnon adherent on Twitter kept commenting on my tweets, pushing bizarro Q ideas on many of my posts. The account didn't use a real name, but the profile was classic QAnon, complete with the #WWG1WGA. ("Where we go one, we go all"—a QAnon rallying cry.) I thought it might be a bot, so I blocked them. Later, I discovered that it was actually one of my own extended family members.

Holy crap, I actually know people who actually believe this stuff.

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Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

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