Archives for category: Guns in Schools

Leonard Pitts, Jr. wrote the following article in the Miami Herald:

Once again, carnage goes to school. Once again, American students are used for target practice. But conservative leaders are on the case. Recognizing the ongoing threat to our children, they know it’s time for decisive action.

It’s time to do something about books.

And if you expected that sentence to end differently, you haven’t been paying attention. In red America these days, books are Public Enemy No. 1.

As Time magazine recently reported, librarians are seeing a definite spike in censorship activity. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, executive director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, called it “an unprecedented volume of challenges.” From Texas to South Carolina, to Virginia to Florida and beyond, conservative governors and advocacy groups are removing books from school library shelves, particularly those that deal with the two subjects they find most threatening: sexuality and race.

All to protect our children.

Open the link and read the article in full.

This very important story appeared in the Washington Post.

She had seen her grandson’s red, spiral-bound notebook before that night, but now, as Catherine O’Connor sifted through its pages for the first time, what she read astonished her.

“School Shootings,” Joshua O’Connor had titled the first page, above a reconstruction of the Columbine High School massacre that left 13 people dead. In the pages that followed, Joshua, who’d just turned 18, described a detailed plan to carry out his own massacre: the shotguns, pistols, assault rifle and ammunition he would buy and the bombs he would build; the doors he would zip-tie “so bitches can’t escape”; the spot by the bleachers where he would set off the first explosion; the route he would take on his killing spree; the moment, when it was over, that he would end his own life.

“I Need to make this shooting/ bombing… infamous,” he wrote in early 2018. “I Need to get the biggest fatality number I possibly can.”
Catherine O’Connor, a retired probation officer who was Joshua’s guardian, showed the journal to her husband, who was equally disturbed. The next day, after O’Connor dropped her grandson off at school, she searched his room and found a semiautomatic rifle in a guitar case. Then she did what many parents of school shooters never do: called the police to report that a child she loved posed a threat to his classmates, his community and himself.

Last week’s shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, which left four students dead and seven other people wounded, has focused unprecedented attention on the responsibility parents bear when their children fire shots on campuses.

For decades, mothers and fathers have overlooked clear warning signs that their teens were capable of violence, but adults are almost never held accountable when their negligence leads to bloodshed. That’s what makes Jennifer and James Crumbley, the parents of the 15-year-old charged with the shooting, so unusual. They each face four counts of involuntary manslaughter, almost certainly the most serious charges ever brought against an alleged school shooter’s mother or father.

Since 1999, children have committed at least 175 school shootings, according to a new Washington Post analysis. Among the 114 cases in which the weapon’s source was identified by police, 77 percent were taken from the child’s home or those of relatives or friends. And yet, The Post discovered just five instances when the adult owners of the weapons were criminally punished because they failed to lock them up. Another three cases in which adults were charged, including the one against the Crumbleys, are pending.
[More than 278,000 students have experienced gun violence at school since Columbine)

In Michigan, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald has argued that the facts justify the felony charges against the couple, alleging “unconscionable” negligence.

Four days before the shooting, McDonald said, James Crumbley bought a 9mm Sig Sauer, which their son, Ethan, later posted a photo of on Instagram, writing, “Just got my new beauty today.” Three days before the shooting, Jennifer Crumbley posted that she and Ethan were at the gun range “testing out his new Christmas present.”

One day before the shooting, a teacher caught Ethan searching online for ammunition, but when the school alerted his mother, authorities say she instead texted her son: “Lol. I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.”On the day of the shooting, McDonald said, a teacher found a note on which Ethan drew a person shot dead, along with “blood everywhere” and “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” When his parents were summoned to the school, the prosecutor noted, they refused to take him home — nor did they search his backpack for the gun. Less than three hours later, his rampage began.

The Crumbleys have pleaded not guilty, and their attorney denied the prosecutor’s allegation that the 9mm was kept in an unlocked drawer, saying “that gun was actually locked.”

School administrators also deny they did anything wrong, but the parents of two sisters who survived the shooting filed a pair of lawsuits, in federal court Thursday, accusing the district of negligence, too.


Regardless of who’s at fault, research shows that such deadly outcomes are not inevitable. In a report issued earlier this year, the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center reviewed 67 “disrupted plots” targeting schools between 2006 and 2018. Every time, the report said, “tragedy was averted” when others came forward after seeing alarming behavior. In most cases, friends, classmates or other peers spoke up, but in eight instances — or about 1 in 9 — a parent or grandparent noticed and reported something, sometimes after going through a relative’s bedroom or, as O’Connor did, reading a journal.


She discovered that Joshua had scheduled the attack for April 19 — the day before Columbine’s anniversary. She found the list of his self-diagnosed mental illnesses and the pages with the will that he’d written, explaining what was to be done with his ashes. In the journal’s seventh entry, she read this: “So today I just bought a Hi-Point 9mm Carbine rifle. … I can’t wait for April, it will be a blast.”

The day after his arrest, on Feb. 14, 2018, O’Connor watched what happened when another attacker wasn’t stopped.

Just past 2 p.m., 3,300 miles away in Parkland, Fla., another angry teenager who had threatened to shoot up a campus did just that, killing 17 people during the deadliest high school shooting in American history.
‘Not impulsive acts’

She never feared her grandson, but Joshua’s horrifying plot made clear that he needed help she and her husband couldn’t give him.
“What’s the right next step?” she recalled thinking before alerting authorities. “I don’t know what other choice there was.”

Because she made that choice, her grandson never fired a shot or took a life. Police arrived soon after her 911 call and searched Joshua’s room, where they found a collection of bomb parts and confiscated his rifle and notebook. Within hours, he was taken into custody.

Four decades before the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and two decades before the shooting at Columbine, a teenager named Brenda Spencer opened fire on a San Diego elementary school on Jan. 29, 1979, killing two adults and wounding eight children and a police officer.
Spencer was 16, and her father, Wallace, had given her the .22-caliber rifle a month earlier. It was, just like Ethan Crumbley’s handgun, a Christmas gift.

Prosecutors never charged the man with a crime.

His potential culpability garnered little attention in the press at a time when school shootings were considered disturbing anomalies rather than a national crisis that demanded intensive training, expensive technology and armed officers to deter.
[‘Scared to death’: More than 4 million children endured lockdowns in the 2017-18 school year]

Not much had changed by 1998, when Kip Kinkel shot 27 people, killing two, at Thurston High in Oregon. He used three guns from home, including a Glock his dad had bought for the firearm-obsessed 15-year-old as a way to strengthen their relationship.

Kinkel had access to the weapons despite being an angry, violent, depressed and deeply delusional ninth-grader who had twice been suspended for attacking other students and, another time, was caught by police trying to buy a stolen firearm. Whether prosecutors would have charged his parents for their negligence is impossible to know; Kinkel killed them both the day before the school shooting.

Much of the country would not awaken to the threat of school shootings until the next year, when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and wounded more than 20 others at Columbine.

Klebold’s mother, Sue, has talked about her experience perhaps more than any other shooter’s parent, even writing a book about her son, the attack and its aftermath.

“Dylan did not learn violence in our home. He did not learn disconnection, or rage, or racism. He did not learn a callous indifference to human life,” she argued in “A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy.” “Dylan showed no clear and present danger, the way some children do.”


Harris’s parents, who have never given an interview, could not make the same claims, according to Peter Langman, a psychologist and the author of “Warning Signs: Identifying School Shooters Before They Strike.”
“Eric Harris’s parents knew he had anger management problems — they said he punched a wall about every four weeks — knew he had been suspended for hacking into the school’s computer system and stealing everyone’s locker combination, knew he had been arrested for breaking into an electrician’s van and stealing equipment, and also knew that he had built at least one pipe bomb,” Langman said. “They also knew he drank and smoked pot. This, of course, does not predict mass murder, but should have warranted at least conducting room searches to see what else might be going on.”

Mass shooters, experts have found, seldom kill without warning.
“These are definitely not impulsive acts,” said Matt Doherty, who used to run the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center. “They are planned in advance, and that planning can occur over days, weeks or months or years.”

In 2017, parents in Maryland discovered such a plan in their 18-year-old daughter’s journal, where she laid out a “Columbine-type attack” on her high school, said Frederick County Sheriff Charles A. Jenkins.


The teen’s father also found materials for explosive devices, shotgun shells and a shotgun she had purchased, Jenkins said. The parents contacted school officials, who called the sheriff’s office. She later pleaded guilty to possessing explosive material.


“I wonder how parents cannot see signs that are developing in a home and in a family situation,” Jenkins said. “There are always signs somewhere.”

Few school shooters offered more warning signs than Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland gunman who pleaded guilty to the murders.

On the first day that the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission gathered, one of their investigators presented a slide breaking down nearly 50 instances of threatening behavior that people knew about but didn’t report or that authorities knew about and didn’t act on. Instances in which Cruz tortured or killed an animal: seven. Times he was seen with a bullet, knife or firearm: 19. Declarations of hatred he made toward a group or person: eight. References he made about wanting to hurt or kill someone: 11. Threats that he would shoot up a school: three.

The commission’s chair, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, called Cruz’s mother, Lynda, an “enabler.” She died a few months prior to the Parkland shooting.

“There’s no question about it,” he said in an interview, noting that she had taken her son to get a state ID card when he was 18 so he could buy a gun, despite knowing he was violent. Investigators learned that Cruz had once knocked out three of her teeth and, at least once, pointed a gun at her.

“There is no way she should not have known” what her son was capable of, Gualtieri said. “There is no way a reasonable, prudent person wouldn’t have recognized and identified it.”


‘A wake-up call’

Twenty-one years ago, in a town just 40 miles from Oxford, Mich., a first-grader found a handgun in a shoe box, took it to school and used it to kill a 6-year-old classmate. The 19-year-old man who owned the weapon later pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter and served 29 months behind bars.

No gun owners since have faced a harsher penalty for allowing their firearms to fall into the hands of a child school shooter.

Politics are often blamed for the lack of accountability. Three years ago, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mark Blankenship wanted to charge the stepfather of a 15-year-old boy who had used the man’s gun to kill two people and wound 14 more at Marshall County High, in a deeply conservative part of Kentucky.

But, just as in Michigan, state lawmakers in Kentucky had never passed a regulation mandating that adults prevent children from gaining access to their firearms, limiting Blankenship’s options. He lost reelection, blaming the failure, in part, on his comments about going after the stepfather.

Safety advocates now wonder whether the Crumbley case represents a broader shift in the way that the country assigns responsibility after school shootings. But its long-term impact may depend on the outcome. If the couple are convicted, will more prosecutors feel emboldened to go after negligent gun owners and, specifically, parents? If they’re exonerated, will the case have the opposite effect?

Regardless, some experts say, the charges could make a meaningful difference right away.


“My hope is that this will be a wake-up call for gun owners who are not safely storing their firearms,” said Allison Anderman, senior counsel at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “There are millions of teens and children who live in homes with unsecured guns.”

In fact, if the only change America had made after Columbine was to prevent children from obtaining firearms, hundreds of kids who accidentally shot themselves or each other would not have died or been maimed or suffered through the guilt of their mistake, at least 10,000 children might not have ended their own lives in suicide and more than half of the country’s school shootings wouldn’t have happened.

For Catherine O’Connor, the woman who reported her grandson to police in Washington state, doing the right thing came at a devastating cost. She pleaded with the court to show Joshua mercy, but he still received a 22-year prison term.


At a hearing, the judge called her a hero. O’Connor hated that. She just wanted to help her grandson.


The case has eroded her faith in the justice system, but she agreed with the Michigan prosecutor’s decision to charge the Crumbleys. O’Connor couldn’t comprehend why they hadn’t searched their son’s backpack during that meeting at the school.


“That’s so irresponsible, beyond belief,” she said. “That just outrages me.”
O’Connor said she had long been wary of allowing her grandson to go near unsecured firearms. She and her husband owned guns but said they were always hidden and equipped with trigger locks.

Of course, she could do nothing to stop Joshua from buying the semiautomatic rifle when he turned 18. But even her grandson came to a realization about America’s gun culture.


“Grandma,” he said the first time she saw him after this arrest, “guns are too easy to get.”

Nancy Flanagan, a retired teacher in Michigan and expert blogger, asks rhetorically, “Who is to blame?” Obviously the shooter and his parents, who bought the murder weapon and did not lock it away.

But there are other causes of the senseless killings, she writes.

Two things—true things—are repeated endlessly in these dialogues. The first is that the nation exposed its true values nine years ago after the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary, choosing unrestricted gun ownership over the lives of children. The second is that we need a greater understanding and focus on mental health. In our schools, of course.

What is often missing from these heart-wrenching discussions is the fact that schools are just like malls and movie theatres and churches and political rallies—stages for playing out what it means to be an American citizen in 2021, our deepest principles and beliefs.

Despite selfless and heroic actions, despite good parenting and good teaching and due diligence on the part of school administrators and counselors—we live in a pretty ugly country right now.

We live in a country where Kyle Rittenhouse walked free. Where senators and governors boldly lie about election results. Where parents, urged by astro-turf organizations, mob board meetings to protest the teaching of facts and requiring masks in a deadly pandemic. Where thousands of brutal insurrectionists attacked our most sacred building and democratic processes, led by the President of the United States.

Also this: the Oxford HS shooter lives in a state where a gang of angry young men conspired to kidnap and execute the Governor, fantasizing about taking her to a remote location and ‘putting her on trial.

None of this mitigates the reprehensible behavior of this teenager. He is fully responsible for what he did. But it’s worth thinking about the unique context of growing up in America, the people respected as leaders in this nation, the ruthless tactics used to acquire and maintain power and ‘freedom.’

She discusses answers like school counselors, mental health programs, social-emotional learning, and the backlash against them.

It might help to pay as much attention to individual children and their problems as we pay to their test scores.

If we were truly a nation that cared about life, we would enact gun control laws and stop the slaughter of children.

You read the news: another school shooting. This time in Michigan. Students and teachers in most schools have drills to practice defense against a shooter, in this case, a sophomore in the high school. Why did he have a gun? Why did he shoot? What will the country do to prevent future school shootings? Will we ever have gun control? After Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and countless other such massacres, we know the answer. It’s not the answer that one would expect in a civilized country. Next time you hear a politician spouting off about being pro-life, ask him or her how they can be pro-life and pro-gun.

A sixth-grade teacher, Melissa McMullan, shared her reaction to the latest tragedy:

She writes:

Today, I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives, injuries sustained, and emotional trauma that will all reside permanently with those impacted by the actions of a child compelled to bring a gun to school in order to kill. I am also struck by the heroism of teachers.

I find myself thinking about the promise of public education. Education is our society’s most potent weapon. It has the potential to be the great equalizer, eradicating poverty and fostering independence. This drives me to love my students fiercely and continually strive to offer better instruction than the day before. I am not alone. My building and school district are filled to the brim with teachers who pour everything they have into their classrooms every day. We are not alone. Across the country, teachers go into their classrooms every day to give their students everything they have. And then some.

But we are suffering. Our students are suffering. We are asked to keep our students seated three feet apart, make sure they are wearing masks, monitor mask breaks, teach outside, make sure we are simultaneously offering virtual instruction to students who cannot come to school, manage the continual flood of absences and find ways to keep our instruction moving forward. We counsel students, their families, and our colleagues about the uncertainties of living through a pandemic that no one has a handle on. How our students learn, and what they need from us have vastly changed. Yet, as always, we are asked to comply with an antiquated (and irrelevant) teacher evaluation system.

What happened on Tuesday, at a school outside of Detroit, is a sickening reminder of what matters. People sent their children to school and three will never come home. Some were injured, and the scars from those injuries will never leave them. While many others, albeit physically unscathed, will never get over the trauma of having the safety of their school violated in such a manner. And a child had access to a gun, knew how to use it, and used it to injure and kill students and teachers in his school community.

What struck me is that teachers, as always, stepped in and did exactly what they needed to do to protect their students. I am in awe reading about the teacher who heard gunshots and quickly responded. The teacher was able to get all of the students in the room, lock and barricade the door with desks, and ask students to arm themselves with objects to throw should the door be breached. Ultimately the teacher had the students jump out the window for safety.

I am left wondering how many more responsibilities can we give teachers? How long will our leaders ignore the overwhelming list of responsibilities that have been added to our plates, while continuing to evaluate us based upon metrics that have no relevance? We have to ask ourselves:

What do our nation’s children need from public education?

How do we support teachers in meeting our children’s needs?

Our current metrics are not only costing valuable time, energy, and resources, but they are part of a system that is failing teachers and the students they love. What took place in Michigan is not the canary in the coal mine, it’s the mushroom cloud. We need leaders to stand up now.


Melissa McMullan, PhD, 6th Grade Teacher

John F. Kennedy Middle School

Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776

The House Republican conference just indulged in a sick joke: It assigned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to the House Education and Labor Committee. Rep. Greene has identified with the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theorists who believe that Democrats and large sectors of the federal government are controlled by a Satanic ring of pedophiles. She has endorsed the vile claim that the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, were staged or “false flag” operations, intended to build political support for gun control.

Andrew Ujifusa of Education Week reports:

A Washington Post story on Jan. 22 highlighted how, in response to a 2018 comment on Facebook that recent school shootings weren’t real, now-U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene said, “That’s all true.” She expressed a similar sentiment about the 2018 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Facebook in a separate comment that year that the social-media site later removed. 

Several advocacy groups that support robust gun-control measures, including March For Our Lives-Parkland, Moms Demand Action, and Everytown for Gun Safety have called on Greene to resign in light of those comments, the Post reported. 

Greene also has made national headlines for months due to her support for QAnon, the name used for a range of conspiracy theories that have been termed a domestic terrorist threat by the FBI.

In response to questions from Education Week about Rep. Greene’s education priorities and concerns about her past comments on school shootings, spokesman Nick Dyer did not address her comments on the shootings.

“Congresswoman Greene is excited to join the House Education and Labor Committee. Rep. Greene is ready to get to work to reopen every school in America, expand school choice, protect homeschooling, champion religious freedom for student and teachers, and prevent men and boys from unfairly competing with women and girls in sports,” Dyer said in an email.

Earlier this month, Greene announced her support for legislation that would require schools to prevent “biological males” from competing in women’s sports, in order to demonstrate compliance with federal Title IX law...

A relatively large share of the Republicans slated to join the committee are freshmen. In fact, out of 24 total GOP members due to join the committee, 11 just started their first terms in Congress; go here for the list of new members about to join the panel. (Republicans announced new appointments to the committee on Monday, but technically they won’t be official until the GOP conference and full House approves them.)

Another prominent GOP freshman on the list is Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., who spoke at Trump’s Jan. 6 rally in front of the White House shortly before a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol as lawmakers were voting to certify the presidential election results.

Since the U.S. Senate refuses to consider any regulation of guns, some schools are preparing for the next shooter.

In Colorado, students are receiving training in how to respond if they are confronted by an active shooter.

Colorado was the site of the Columbine massacre in a high school and the Aurora massacre in a movie theater. Last May, a student was killed in a charter school in Douglas County.

The gym at Pinnacle High School echoed with laughter and a few cheers Wednesday morning as students took turns tackling a heavily padded man.

While it might have sounded like a game, the orange water pistol in the demonstrator’s hand served as a reminder of what would be at stake if they ever had to use the tactics they were learning on a real assailant.

The Adams County K-12 charter school spent most of the school day having students practice skills such as barricading their classrooms, evacuating the building — and, if necessary, defending themselves. Many schools near Denver and across the country teach the idea of fighting back as one possible option during an attack, but relatively few have students actually practice what they might do if a gunman entered their classrooms.

Clarissa Burklund, president of Pinnacle’s school board, said officials hadn’t discussed having students do more than traditional lockdown drills until this summer. The May 7 shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch, where three students rushed one of two attackers, showed that teenagers could defend themselves and need to prepare for that possibility, she said.

“I hate that they have to talk about this,” she said with a catch in her voice. “I hate that they live in this society. But they do, and there’s no point in denying it….”

There’s no nationwide tracking of how schools prepare their students for active shooters, but emphasis appears to have gradually shifted from “locks, lights, out of sight,” where students are told to take shelter in their classrooms, to “run, hide, fight,” where they are expected to choose their best option for the situation. Some schools also have started conducting more realistic drills, including the sounds of simulated gunfire, but that practice has spurred controversy, especially when students weren’t aware they were only dealing with a drill.

Little evidence exists to show if one type of active shooter training is more effective than another, and some experts have concerns about emphasizing cases in which students have fought back. The fear is that could encourage students to overlook safer options such as evacuating.

Last May, there was a school shooting in the STEM Academy charter school in Douglas County, Colorado, one of the most affluent districts in the state, and a student was killed by another student.

Now there is a debate between the school district leadership and another charter school about arming teachers.

On the one side of the argument is Superintendent Thomas Tucker, who says guns have no place in the classroom.

“Teachers are not armed,” Tucker said. “We will fight tooth and nail of any school whether it’s a neighborhood school or a charter school.”

On the other side of the debate is Derec Shuler, the executive director of Ascent Classical Academies. The charter school currently operates within the Douglas County School District. However, for more than a year staff at Ascent have been training to carry and use, if necessary, firearms inside the school.

“We have staff who volunteer,” Shuler said. “They’re screened and they undergo pretty rigorous training. That’s on-going as well to be able to carry concealed firearms at school to protect kids.”

The Douglas County School District recently had to deal with a school shooting. An 18-year-old student was killed and eight others were hurt during a shooting on May 7 at the STEM Academy.

The superintendent insists that only security personnel will carry guns.

He has told the charter that it can leave the district if it insists on arming teachers. The charter may take him up on his offer.

Superintendent Tucker arrived in Douglas County after the defeat of a board led by rightwing zealots who controlled the school board and wanted to offer vouchers. Tucker had to take charge and restore confidence in the public schools. He looks like he is a take-charge guy. No doubt he has read the stories about the teachers who misplace their guns, drop their guns, forget their guns in the restroom, accidentally discharge their guns.

 

The parents of the children massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT. have been subject to unending abuse by conspiracy theorists who claim that the massacre was a hoax, that it never happened, that the children and parents were “crisis actors,” and that it was staged by advocates for gun control.

The parents have fought back with defamation lawsuits against Alex Jones, the chief perpetrator of this calumny, and his followers.

EdWeek reports that one parent just won a defamation case. 

The father of a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has won a defamation lawsuit against the authors of a book that claimed the shooting never happened—the latest victory for victims’ relatives who have been taking a more aggressive stance against conspiracy theorists.

The book, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,” has also been pulled to settle claims against its publisher filed by Lenny Pozner, whose 6-year-old son Noah was killed in the shooting.

“My face-to-face interactions with Mr. Pozner have led me to believe that Mr. Pozner is telling the truth about the death of his son,” Dave Gahary, the principal officer at publisher Moon Rock Books, said Monday. “I extend my most heartfelt and sincere apology to the Pozner family.”

A judge in Wisconsin on Monday issued a summary judgment against authors James Fetzer and Mike Palacek.

Pozner has been pushing back for years against hoaxers who have harassed him, subjected him to death threats, and claimed that he was an actor and his son never existed. He has spent years getting Facebook and others to remove conspiracy videos and set up a website to debunk conspiracy theories.

Lately, the fight has been joined by others who lost relatives in the Dec. 14, 2012, school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. After quietly enduring harassment and ridiculous assertions for years, some have changed their approach, deciding the only way to stop it is to confront it. Their efforts have turned the tables on the hoaxers, including Alex Jones, host of the conspiracy-driven Infowars website.

Robbie Parker, whose 6-year-old daughter Emilie was among 20 1st-graders and six educators killed at Sandy Hook, spent years ignoring people who called him a crisis actor. His family moved to the West Coast, but still the harassment didn’t stop. He would get letters from people who found his address. He was once stopped in a parking garage by a man who berated him and said the shooting never happened…

Pozner is the lead plaintiff in several of at least nine cases filed against Sandy Hook deniers in federal and state courts in Connecticut, Florida, Texas, and Wisconsin.

In the case against Jones, the families of eight victims and a first responder say they’ve been subjected to harassment and death threats from his followers. A Connecticut judge ruled in the defamation case that Jones must undergo a sworn deposition, which is scheduled for July in Texas.

I hope that justice is done.

Tim Slekar produced a podcast about school shootings and their aftermath.

Two survivors of the Parkland mass shooting committed suicide, as did the father of one of the children killed at Sandy Hook.

Tim describes the podcast:

“Parkland, FL mother Rosemarie Jensen.  Rosemarie’s son survived the Stoneman Douglas school shooting and talked to us last year about that day.  In this interview Rosemarie talks about the aftermath of living “after a school shooting.”  Last week two “survivors” committed suicide.  But WHY?  And what’s being done now?

“Educated Educators Talking Education:Joanna Rizzotto talks to us about life inside the classroom “after school shootings.” Are we making it safer or simply adding to the anxiety of children and teachers.  Plus we talk to Dou Vang—currently a substitute teacher— who quit teaching after being “shot” during an active shooter drill.

In the Public Interest is a nonpartisan organization that tracks the privatization of public services and assets.

Its latest report:

Is school security the next gold rush? A year after the harrowing school shooting in Parkland, Florida, investor cash is pouring into the school security market. But big money was already being spent on unproven technology shielded from public view. “Schools and other education-related buyers are the fifth-biggest market for surveillance systems across the world but the top market in the United States, with $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017.” The Washington Post

A warning to D.C.’s education leaders. A former board member at Indianapolis Public Schools describes her experience working with former superintendent Dr. Lewis Ferebee, who also happens to the D.C. mayor’s choice for the next D.C. Public Schools chancellor: “Under Dr. Ferebee’s leadership, we created ‘Innovation Network Schools’— partnerships between IPS and charter schools. But it turned out that Innovation Network Schools aren’t really partnerships at all. In fact, they’re an underhanded way of turning over public resources and assets to private hands.” 730DC

Huge salaries for charter school leadership. Journalist Rachel Cohen digs into charter school administrator salaries in Washington, D.C., revealing startling figures: “The head of Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School and the highest-paid charter official in D.C., received a 24 percent salary increase between 2015 and 2016, from $248,000 to $307,000. Then, in 2017, she received another 76 percent increase, bumping her compensation to $541,000.” Washington City Paper

Police in school don’t make students of color feel safer. Rann Miller of the 21st Century Community Learning Center critiques the final report from President Trump’s Federal Commission on School Safety: “The recommendations from Trump’s school safety panel benefit school privatizers, and institutions like prisons, at the expense of people of color. It’s the American way.” The Progressive

“Wherever there’s a battle over public education lately, a billionaire is somehow involved.” Jacobin Magazine weighs in on the upcoming Oakland teachers strike: “Although charter schools don’t improve student outcomes, they have all sorts of destructive impacts. As noted above, they massively drain resources from public schools. In the 2016–17 school year alone, Oakland Unifed School District lost over $57 million in revenue to charter schools, according to a report by In the Public Interest.” Jacobin

ICYMI: the U.S. spends more on its prison system than it does on public schools. The country’s incarceration rates have more than tripled over the past three decades, even as crime rates have fallen. During the same period, government spending on K-12 education increased by 107 percent. Daily Mail