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Farris Hassan - reading between the lies :Iraqi hooky teen's school has neither journalism course nor "immersion" assignment

Pinecrest School principal says' living life of subject journalism' was once discussed in english class
January 11, 2006

School: Teen's Iraq Trip Was Not Result Of Journalism Class

Pine Crest School Does Not Have Such Course

POSTED: 5:52 pm EST January 3, 2006 UPDATED: 6:38 pm EST January 3, 2006 FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. --

The president of the Fort Lauderdale school attended by a teen who recently returned from an infamous trip to Iraq says that there was no assignment given to Farris Hassan that would have involved such a trek. Lourdes Cowgill, president of the Pine Crest School, said she is glad Hassan is safely back home, but that he was never given an "immersion journalism" assignment. Cowgill said there is, in fact, no journalism class at the school. She said there was only a conversation in English class in which students discussed becoming involved in the subject they're writing about. Last Tuesday, Hassan contacted The Associated Press bureau in Baghdad and related his story. Hassan told reporters that he had recently studied immersion journalism -- in which a journalist lives the life of his subject -- and wanted to understand better what Iraqis are living through.

So, he said, without his parents' or school's approval, he took off for the Middle East. Cowgill said her own son-in-law served in Iraq, so she knows how dangerous it is there. She said Hassan apologized to the school principal before going to class Tuesday morning. Hassan will face a disciplinary committee made up of students, teachers and administrators -- and they'll decide his punishment for skipping a week of classes. He won't be expelled, but the 16-year-old junior could lose his honor roll status, face required community service or have points deducted from his grade point average for skipping class. Hassan's mother, Shatha Atiya, said there would be "consequences" for not telling his family that he was going to a dangerous war zone. Hassan was able to secure an entry visa for Iraq because his parents were born there, although they have lived in the United States for more than three decades

. He took his U.S. passport and $1,800 in cash when he left, but didn't tell his family what he was doing until he arrived in Kuwait. He had thought he would be able to take a taxi from Kuwait into Baghdad for the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections, but the border was closed for voting. He stayed with family friends in Lebanon before flying to Baghdad Dec. 25. In Iraq, he stayed at an international hotel along with other Americans, drawing a crowd at a Baghdad food stand after using an Arabic phrase book to order. Previous Stories:

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