Archives for category: Guns in Schools

 

A super-large coalition of organizations representing teachers, principals, superintendents,  parents, School Boards, and gun control advocates are participating in a nationwide day of activities on April 20 in support of school safety and against gun violence in schools.

The Network for Public Education is actively involved in planning and coordinating this event, and we urge everyone to join in, wear orange (for gun control), and design your own activities.

Everyone involved expresses their solidarity with the students and educators at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and expects that the April 20 Day of Action will build on the movement they created.

The date April 20 was chosen because it commemorates the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting of students at Columbine High School in Colorado.

The following statement was released by the American Association of School Administrators:

AASA Issues Statement on ‘National Day of Action’

Alexandria, Va. – April 17, 2018 – Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, issued the following statement in advance of April 20: A National Day of Action to Prevent Gun Violence in Schools.

“This Friday, April 20, we commemorate not only the most recent school massacre in Parkland, Fla., but also the 19th anniversary of the Columbine school shooting in Colorado. And while our hearts still weigh heavy with the loss of life within our schools, we are using Friday—as the National Day of Action to Prevent Gun Violence in Schools—as an opportunity for students, educators, schools and communities to demonstrate their support for legislation and programs designed to reduce gun violence in schools.

“We are focused on supporting superintendents as they support their students, and you can check out our comprehensive set of resources for information related to responding to trauma, supporting student expression and first amendment rights, facilitating tough conversations, and a list of suggested activities for April 20, among other things.

“Through this day of action, we urge teachers, families, students, administrators and every member of the community to engage in acts of advocacy and civic engagement in and around their schools. Create actions that work best in your school and community. We ask that any activity be respectful and peaceful in honor of those we have lost. We are working together as educators, students, families and communities to send a clear message to policymakers and legislators: Not one more child murdered in school.

“Not one more student murdered in school. Not one more parent living the nightmare of grieving a child who doesn’t return from school. Not one more educator or school staff stepping in to protect students against a gunman. Not. One. More.”

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For additional questions, please contact Noelle Ellerson Ng, AASA associate executive director, policy and advocacy, at nellerson@aasa.org.

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For more information:
Sign your school or district up for the day of action.
Check out our list of recommendations of actions or activities to host as part of your school’s day of action.
Read our position paper on school safety.

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About AASA
AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children. For more information, visit http://www.aasa.org.

Well, here is a creative alternative to arming teachers, which most teachers oppose.

“The Utah Association of Public Charter Schools recently brought on YouTactical founder, Dave Acosta, to conduct training sessions around the state, centered around a program that teaches educators to, among other things, defend their students from active shooters with their bare hands…

”Friday, roughly two dozen administrators and teachers gathered at Thomas Edison Charter Schools South, in Nibley, to learn from Acosta.

“How many people can a bad guy shoot in 5 minutes if nobody interferes?” Acosta asked the group. “If nobody interferes, it’s a lot of people. Let me just say that.”

“The educators also watched and practiced techniques to disarm would-be active shooters in scenarios that featured handguns and AR-15 rifles.”

 

 

The Washington Post reports that the Alt-Right conspiracy theorists have created fake portraits and videos to attack student leader Emma Gonzalez. The most infamous is a doctored video allegedly showing her tearing up the Constitution, changing the original, in which she ripped an NRA target.

Disgraceful. There is no limit to how low the far right will go.

 

Jennifer Rubin was hired by the Washington Post to Be inte “conservative” columnists. But a funny thing happened after Trump’s election. She became one of his sharpest critics because she recognized that he betrays conservative principle, lies with abandon, and shames the nation.

In this article, she reflects on the March for Our Lives.

“By the hundreds of thousands, they came. They gave impassioned and articulate speeches. The shared their experiences in Chicago, South Los Angeles and Florida. They gave one TV interview after another, displaying remarkable poise and heart-breaking sincerity. Adults decades older watched with awe. These are teenagers. How did these kids learn to do this?

“The sense of amazement among adults, including jaded members of the media, was palpable — both because supposedly sophisticated adults had not pulled off this kind of change in attitudes about guns in the decades they’d been trying and because the teenagers shredded the talking points, the lies, the cynicism and the indifference that we’ve become accustomed to in our politics.

“If this was a movie, you’d think it was inauthentic. However, it may be our image of our fellow Americans and teenagers that has been wildly inaccurate and unfairly negative. Too many of us have bought into the notion that teenagers are passive, addicted to their phones and lacking civic awareness. Too many have been guilted into accepting that “real Americans” are the Trump voters, and that the rest of us are pretenders, pawns of “elites.” The crowd reminded us of the country’s enormous geographic, racial, gender and age diversity. (Plenty of teachers, parents and grandparents turned out.) And in the case of guns, these people are far more representative of the views of the country than the proverbial guy in the Rust Belt diner….

“The decision to let only children and teenagers speak was key to the entire endeavor. No canned political speeches; no feigned emotion. The experience of the more than 180,000 students who have been exposed to gun violence in schools over the past few decades was suddenly very real, very immediate.

“Those on the event stage talked about their friends, their certainty in political change, their solidarity with other victims, and their fearlessness in the face of naysayers and cynics. They mocked and condemned the National Rifle Association and the politicians who take their money. (Sen. Marco Rubio was a favorite punching bag.) They sounded angry, sad and serious. They spoke about democracy and urged the crowd to vote; they inveighed against party politics.”

She concludes:

”And so we are left with the stark contrast — the sincerity of the students vs. the canned platitudes of the gun absolutists; the speed and vibrancy of a mass movement vs. the gridlock and sameness of our politics; the dogged determination of teenagers not yet world-weary vs. the sense of futility that pervades our politics. The outcome is not preordained. Yes, democracies are under assault. Xenophobes and nativists certainly have come out from under the rocks. The president has tried to make the abnormal commonplace and the unacceptable inevitable. But if nothing else, the marchers reminded us we have a choice. We can be fatalistic and passive, or determined and active. If teenagers can take the capital by storm, surely the rest of us can do something more than complain and yell at the TV.”

The next time you hear some blowhard rail against the younger generation, remember “The March for Our Lives,” an international event organized by teenagers in less than six weeks after a horrific event.

Every great revolution begins with the young. They have the idealism, energy, and fearlessness to lead.

 

Tim Slekar, dean of education at Edgewood College in Wisconsin, is a tireless activist for public education and teachers. He created a podcast that hits on every important issue and he interviews important figures in education.

In this powerful podcast, he interviews two mothers of amarjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. They remember that terrible day when they didn’t know whether their children had survived.

Please listen.

PS: A spokesperson for the Gates Foundation announced on Twitter that it was launching the first podcast ever by and for teachers, created by the Gates-funded Educators for Excellence, as Astroturf group of young teachers who frequently testify against tenure, seniority, unions, and other job protections that Bill Gates finds unnecessary. Obviously, Gates never heard of Tim Slekar’s “Busted Pencils” or “The Rick Smith Show” or the BATS podcasts. But then, they are not Gates funded.

 

 

The U.S.-based Guardian invited student journalists  at Marjory Stoneman Douglas to edit this issue.

This article is a student manifesto about school security and student safety. 

Please read their reasonable and thoughtful proposals.

The kids have more sense than our so-called leaders. Anyone who complains about “kids today” is going to have to get past me first. These kids are a great generation. I am in awe of their integrity, intelligence, knowledge, and poise. They are a damn sight better than the clowns currently running our government.

 

The U.S. edition of the Guardian invited student journalists from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to guest edit today’s issue. The articles are outstanding.

Most compelling is this one about the dilemma of teachers: Their training for an active shooter told them to lock the door and go into hiding. But for many, their hearts told them to open the door to save students who were trapped in the hallways. What would you do?

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/23/florida-school-shooting-parkland-teachers-impossible-choice

 

Betsy DeVos has been put in charge of a task force to make recommendations on school safety. The only members are Cabinet members. No students, teachers, principals, or Superintendents will be on the task force or commission. Anyone who has worked in the federal government will tell you that Cabinet members are very busy people, and they are surrounded by yes-men and -women and assistants and speech writers. In their own domains, they are sovereign. They will give very little time or attention to this sham assignment. This is a farce. Chances are that the report has already been drafted by an NRA member of Betsy’s staff.

Politico reported this morning:

WHY TRUMP’S SCHOOL SAFETY COMMISSION OMITS STUDENTS, TEACHERS: The new White House commission on school safety will consist of just four Cabinet secretaries – prompting concerns from parents, students, teachers and school administrators who feel they should play a bigger role. But the Trump administration says it’s about getting to work quickly.

– Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday testified during a hearing of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education funding. While she was there to discuss the Trump administration’s fiscal 2019 budget proposal, she offered new details about the commission’s makeup. DeVos will chair the commission, which was recently unveiled by the White House in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last month that left 17 people dead. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will join her, she told lawmakers.

– “Is that it? Just four Cabinet secretaries? No experts? No Democrats?” asked Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.). DeVos replied, “This is an urgent matter and we want to ensure that we’re able to move and operate as quickly as possible and without getting bogged down by a lot of bureaucracy.”

– What does DeVos mean by “bureaucracy”? Keeping the commission to just four federal officials who have jurisdiction over school safety issues means the group can “get up and running as quickly as possible,” said Education Department spokeswoman Liz Hill.

– “Advisory commissions with non-Federal employees have to follow Federal Advisory Committee Act rules, which adds significant bureaucratic bloat,” Hill said in a statement. “FACA imposes many bureaucratic hurdles, such as requiring a charter that must be approved by the General Services Administration and the appointment of an Agency Committee Management Officer and a Designated Federal Officer, as well as other requirements that would delay the start of this important effort.”

– Input from students, parents and teachers “will be critical,” Hill added. “The Commission will receive input from and hold meetings over the coming weeks and months with students, parents, teachers, schools safety personnel, administrators, law enforcement officials, mental health professionals, school counselors and others holding a wide variety of views.”

– Still, education groups want to ensure they’re heard. “It is critical that parents have a seat at the table whenever decisions are made that impact their children, and particularly on the critical issue of school safety,” said Jim Accomando, president of National PTA, which represents parent-teacher associations nationwide.

– “As school building leaders, principals must be heard on school safety and student well-being issues,” said L. Earl Franks, executive director of the National Association of Elementary School Principals. Noelle Ellerson Ng, associate executive director for policy and advocacy at AASA, The School Superintendents Association, said that “by keeping it only to Cabinet members, it’s necessarily political … I would venture a guess that the commission described by Secretary DeVos today isn’t set it up to be super productive.”

 

Daniel Losen of the UCLA Civil Rights Project warns that the Trump administration is trying to pin the blame for the Parkland massacre on the Obama era school discipline policies, which sought to reduce disparities between white and black students who were punished for misbehavior. Betsy DeVos is supposed to head a commission on school safety, and the Obama era guidelines are sure to be scapegoated, although it is difficult to see any connection between Nikolas Cruz and the controversial guidelines. This maneuver is a distraction, an effort to change the subject from gun control to school discipline.

Losen posted this comment last night:

“Tomorrow the House Judiciary committee will hear from Max Eden who recently joined his pal Michael Knowles in this podcast. https://www.dailywire.com/podcasts/27958/ep-117-guns-dont-kill-people-schools-kill-people

“Folks need to realize that some masquerading as researchers are using every opportunity to mischaracterize the joint civil rights guidance on school discipline. The latest salvo distorts and lies about what actually happened in Broward County Florida to suggest is was leniency in school discipline, and a program intentionally trying to reduce the unnecessary arrests of Black youth for misdemeanors that lead to the murder of 17 children. Eden and his friend claim that the policy was for schools not to report such behaviors to the police. In fact the Promise Program never involved the shooter, but does require cooperation with the police and attorney general’s office so that when a non-violent misdemeanor is committed, there are alternatives beside locking up the children. Further, this program came on the heals of Broward county being the second highest in the state for school based arrests. In this interview Eden says he is trying to change the framework from being about guns to being about what he considers to be top down discipline policy. That is also a lie and is obvious to anyone who actually reads the guidance. Part of Eden’s argument is informed by his pro-charter position. He wants no part of civil rights protections for children if it means sacrificing charter autonomy. In this interview he also embraces “no excuses” approaches arguing that their communities “might not be able to give them values…” Eden’s agenda is deeper than the guidance. He is a staunch opponent of the civil rights regulations dating back to the 1960s that made unjust or unjustifiable policies and practices with a disparate impact potentially unlawful because they harmed protected subgroups of children more than others.

“I recently debated Eden before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv_GgG-igBE&t=10624s

“and more recently, debated Michael Petrilli on Education Next journal. Folks should weigh in against stripping children of the civil rights. http://educationnext.org/dont-walk-back-needed-discipline-reform-forum-losen/

“Tomorrow Kristen Harper will be on the panel with Max Eden. It will be life streamed at 10 a.m.”

 

Education Week reports that the headmaster of Barron Trump’s private school issued a statement opposing the arming of teachers. 

“The head of St. Andrew’s Episcopal School—where President Donald Trump’s son Barron attends—joined dozens of other Maryland private schools in urging the president, Congress, and state policymakers to improve background checks, especially for automatic weapons and strengthen mental health measures.

“And they don’t want to see the schools arm teachers with guns. The heads of school called that move—which has been embraced by Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos—”antithetical to our profession as educators,” wrote St. Andrew’s head, Robert Kosasky and more than 100 other heads of school in an open letter published as an advertisement in the Baltimore Sun this week. The letter is also slated to be published in the Washington Post this weekend.”