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In brief: Texting service fights bullying

WASHINGTON – Students are getting a new weapon to fight back against bullies: their cellphones.

A leading education technology company on Wednesday announced it would give schools a free and confidential way for students to tell school officials via text that they are being bullied or are witnessing bullying. Blackboard’s TipTxt program could change the school climate – or reveal just how pervasive student-on-student harassment has become.

Texts sent through the confidential program will be routed to school officials, who then will determine how to investigate.

Students will be able to text a number posted in school hallways or in handbooks with details of an incident.

The system would send an automated reply to the student texter that someone is looking into it and then alert a designated school official who monitors the text feeds.

TSA finds record number of guns

LOS ANGELES – Airport security officers uncovered a record 65 firearms on passengers boarding planes last week, surpassing the previous record high of 50 guns.

The Transportation Security Administration reported 54 of the guns found at airport security checkpoints around the country were loaded and 19 of those had rounds chambered.

The guns ranged from a snub-nosed revolver uncovered at Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, to a 9 mm handgun at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and a musket at Orlando International Airport. The guns were uncovered from May 17 to May 23, the TSA said.

Passengers are allowed to travel with guns under certain conditions, such as packing the weapon in checked luggage and declaring it to the airline. When TSA officers uncover guns on passengers or in their carry-on bags, they contact local authorities to investigate.

Highway collision kills seven in N.Y.

TRUXTON, N.Y. – Seven people were killed when a tractor-trailer collided with a minivan on a rural two-lane highway in upstate New York.

Police say the rig was headed south around 6 p.m. on Route 13 about 25 miles south of Syracuse when the trailer became disconnected and crossed the center line, hitting a minivan carrying eight people.

The force of the impact ripped the minivan apart, and both vehicles came to rest on the shoulder of the roadway.

Officials have not released the identities of those killed. One person in the minivan was taken to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse for treatment. Two people in the truck were not injured.

California quake does no damage

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The U.S. Geological Survey said a magnitude 4.8 earthquake at 7:38 a.m. Wednesday was centered three miles west of Isla Vista in Santa Barbara County, Calif., and shaking was felt as far away as Bakersfield and Los Angeles.

A Santa Barbara County sheriff’s dispatcher said there were no reports of damage or injuries.