Newsstand: March 21, 2016
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Newsstand: March 21, 2016

In the news this morning: using courts to compel kids to go to school, Earth Hour, and a new kind of restaurant.

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The school-to-prison pipeline is a concept that’s more widely discussed in the United States, with its increased focus on policing, incarceration, and the punitive treatment of racialized people, than in Canada. But a recent report from the Globe and Mail delved into the issue, albeit without naming it as such. Attendance counsellors are empowered to use the courts with students who are habitually absent from school, and it’s not unheard of for truant students to spend time in jail. While the tactics were referred to as a last resort several times throughout the piece, Barrie Police Service Constable Nicole Rogers is quoted as saying “it’s not very unusual” to bring absentee students before judges. And with many students who meet the criteria of habitual truancy also dealing with mental health issues, addictions, or other problems, the question of whether court is really the best way to deal with skipping school is even more important.

The tenth annual Earth Hour took place Saturday evening from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Toronto Hydro reported a drop of about 3.2 percent (roughly the amount of power that would be used by 36,000 homes). That’s down slightly from last year, 3.5 per cent, which is in line with PowerStream, the company that serves nine municipalities to the north of the city. They saw a dip of 4.3 per cent this year, down from six per cent in 2015.

Many Torontonians are already familiar with the modern, sharing-economy take on age-old cashless bartering known as the Bunz Trading Zone Facebook group (now also a website and app), but two BTZ aficionados and roommates have taken it a step further. Nadya Khoja and Sarah Lee decided to start a restaurant of sorts, having small groups of strangers reserve seats ahead of time for a once-a-week meal. The idea came from the roommates’ involvement in more standard trades, like DVD box sets for wine, and the realization that their once-weekly gourmet meal always yielded leftovers. Khoja was a contestant on season one of Master Chef Canada; she made it to the second round.