Principal apologizes for school’s choice of role models

LOS ANGELES – The principal of a South Los Angeles elementary school has apologized after some children carried photos of O.J. Simpson, RuPaul and Dennis Rodman in a parade celebrating Black History Month.

“Unfortunately, questionable decisions were made in the selection of noteworthy African-American role models,” Lorraine Abner wrote Thursday in a letter sent to parents of students at Wadsworth Avenue Elementary School.

“As the principal, I offer my apology for these errors in judgment,” she wrote.

The school, with a student body that’s more than 90 percent Hispanic, will work with the district’s Office of Human Relations, Diversity and Equity to help students and adults learn from the experience, the letter said.

A call to Abner seeking further comment was not immediately returned.

During a Feb. 26 parade in the school playground honoring Black History Month, some youngsters carried photos of Simpson, RuPaul and Rodman while others displayed more conventional role models such as President Barack Obama and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Simpson, a former NFL star, is serving a nine-year prison sentence for robbery and kidnapping in Nevada. He was acquitted in 1995 of murdering his ex-wife and her friend.

RuPaul is a drag queen performer. Rodman, a former basketball star, has gained notoriety for bad boy behavior.

Three teachers – all white men who teach first, second and fourth grades – were suspended without pay for three days and are now on paid administrative leave while the Los Angeles Unified School District investigates the incident, district spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry said.

Penn lashes out at critics of his Haiti relief work

NEW YORK – Sean Penn has strong words for those who think he’s showing off with his aid to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

In an interview airing on this weekend’s “Sunday Morning” on CBS, the actor says he hopes any cynic who dismisses his efforts as a star turn will “die screaming of rectal cancer.”

Penn has visited the devastated Caribbean nation accompanied by doctors and a U.S. businesswoman with whom he established a relief organization. He has brought water filters for distribution to villages and met with aid groups.

Besides raising funds, Penn says he has contributed his own money.

When asked how much, he replies with a laugh, “Enough that I’d better get a job soon.”

Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Dane welcome baby

LOS ANGELES – A spokeswoman for actors Eric Dane and Rebecca Gayheart says the couple has welcomed their first child, a baby girl.

Publicist Nanci Ryder told The Associated Press that the 38-year-old Gayheart gave birth Wednesday in Los Angeles.

She said in an e-mail Thursday that “mother, father and daughter are doing great.”

The name of the girl was not immediately known.

The 37-year-old Dane stars on the ABC drama “Grey’s Anatomy” and most recently played a Brett Favre-esque retiring quarterback in the movie “Valentine’s Day.” His wife is best known for roles in television shows that have included Fox shows “90210” and “Vanished.”

The couple married in 2004.

Beyonce declared Brooklynite by marriage and moxie

NEW YORK — The president of Brooklyn has declared Beyonce an official Brooklynite.

Borough President Marty Markowitz said Beyonce is a Brooklynite by marriage and by moxie. Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, is from Brooklyn.

The superstar visited the New York City borough Friday for the opening of the Beyonce Cosmetology Center at a residential substance abuse treatment center. The Phoenix House offers programs for residents in carpentry, building maintenance, computer technology and culinary arts.

Beyonce said she thought it also should have more programs geared toward women. She said her mother’s Houston salon helped so many people feel good about themselves and better their lives.

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