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Listeners: Is Perfect Attendance A Good Thing?


And now it's time for Backtalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere and get to hear from you. Editor Ammad Omar is here with us once again.

Ammad, what do you have for us today?

AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: OK, Michel. We're going to start with a couple of news updates and then get into some listener comments. First of all, there's some major news from the Obama Administration. The White House is announcing that it's going to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants who meet specific criteria, like they came to the United States before the age of 16 or they don't pose a national security threat and they're actually going to start giving them work permits. That's a big shift in immigration policy and we'll definitely keep track of that story as it develops.

We've got another news update, as well. We've spent a lot of time on this program talking about concussions and safety in football, from the head of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, and even high school and youth coaches and medical experts. We've had them all on talking about this.

Well, this week, the Pop Warner Youth Football organization announced new safety regulations for all of its leagues. The group says kids can only spend one-third of a practice playing full contact football and the types of drills allowed at practices are also being changed. Pop Warner is citing safety and new concussion research.

MARTIN: And we definitely plan on keeping up with both of these issues that you cited, Ammad.

OK. What else do you have?

OMAR: All right. Into those listener comments now. You spoke this week with Jalyn Brown. She's graduating from high school after 13 years of perfect attendance and you asked her how she pulled it off. Here's a clip.

MARTIN: Seriously, 13 years, you never felt like sleeping in, never had a headache, didn't want to go?

JALYN BROWN: Well, I had headaches, sniffles, but I just bought a box of tissues, took a little medicine and just went on to school.

OMAR: Well, listener Bill Weinberg(ph) from New York City wasn't so impressed. We recorded an email he sent to us. Here it is.

BILL WEINBERG: I am rather aghast that you held up as a positive example a young woman who went to school when ill in order to maintain her unblemished perfect attendance record. Her dedication is to be applauded, but not when she placed her fellow students at risk of infection. Please, kids, if you are coughing and sneezing, stay in bed and study at home.

MARTIN: Good advice for grown-ups, too. Thanks for writing, Bill. Ammad, anything else?

OMAR: Yeah. Our last letter is coming from Tour France. College professor, Claire Garcia, writes in about our performance chat last week. She writes, quote, "when I saw that you spent almost 18 minutes on the puff piece for Ryan Shaw, I knew that I had to write. I love your show. I listen every day, even during my sojourn to France, so maybe I was especially disappointed that you spent your listeners' time promoting a family member, though maybe I would do the same in your place, but not such a huge portion of the show."

MARTIN: Ryan Shaw is not related to me. He was with his brother-in-law, who was the guitarist accompanying him. I jokingly called him brother-in-law on the program. We would need a whole different format to get my family on the show, but that's another story.

So thanks to everybody who wrote in and remember - and thank you, Ammad.

OMAR: Thank you.

MARTIN: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can call our comment line at 202-842-3522. Please remember to leave us your name. You can also visit us online at npr.org/TellMeMore. While you're there, you can listen to our latest conversations with people like the governor of Florida, Rick Scott, Miami's mayor, Tomas Regalado, or singer/songwriter Ryan Shaw. You can also find us on Twitter. Just look for @TELLMEMORENPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.