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First Coast Connect

05/16/16: Vitti On Transgender Students; 'UnSelfie'; UNF Professor Awarded Fulbright; Cole Pepper

Transgender Students and Bathrooms

A new directive from the Obama administration on the use of school bathrooms by transgender students has provoked a torrent of criticism. It also marks a new front in America's long-running culture wars.

Last week the Departments of Education and Justice sent a letter to every public school district in the country with guidance for how to respect the rights of transgender students.

This at the same time North Carolina and the federal government are suing each other over a state law limiting cities’ ability to protect those same rights.

Part of the letter tells schools transgender students must be allowed to use the bathrooms and locker rooms of the gender they identify with.

The letter does not carry the force of law.

Duval County Public Schools Superintedent Dr. Nikolai Vitti joins us to discuss how First Coast schools are handling the issue.


In the era of smart phones, social media, and instant connectedness, there’s a downside.

Data shows that the so-called “Selfie Syndrome” is leading to an empathy crisis in youth. Teens today are 40 percent less empathetic than just a generation ago, and narcissism has increased 58 percent among young people.

How can we help kids develop empathy?

We speak with internationally recognized parenting and education expert Dr. Michele Borba about her book, UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World.

UNF Professor Receives Fulbright

Dr. Joshua Gellers, assistant professor of political science at the University of North Florida, has been awarded a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar Award to conduct research on public participation in the environmental decision-making process in Sri Lanka.

Gellers will analyze the practices of government officials and attitudes of Sri Lankans regarding their experiences with public participation in decision-making processes for three major foreign-funded development projects.

Gellers joins us with more about receiving the award.

Cole Pepper

WJCT News sports analyst Cole Pepper stops by with a recap of the 2016 PLAYERS Championship and other local sports news.

Sean Birch joined the WJCT team in late 2011 and was with the company until 2016.