Legislature ends: Guns in school parking lots. More tolerance. Less texting.

It’s 11 p.m. and no action yet in the Legislature on Senate Bill 521, which creates a framework for merit pay and advances Georgia’s application for a federal Race to the Top grant.

There is only one hour left of the 2010 session, and I can’t imagine that legislators will get to this  piece of legislation, which has become the hot potato of the session. In the last update, the AJC is reporting that a senator was in search of a bill to attach the governor’s language.

The General Assembly did pass state Sen. Emanuel Jones’ bill on  zero tolerance that we’ve discussed here several times.

“This legislation gives kids in Georgia a voice.  They will now have due process against a policy that makes no distinction between well-behaved students who make youthful mistakes and those whose misconduct warrants harsher punishment,” said Jones.  “It’s time we start applying some common-sense when disciplining our children, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach.”

Senate Bill 299 changes Georgia’s juvenile criminal code to make a first offense equal to a delinquent act, rather than a designated felony, and gives judges more discretion.

The ban on texting that we’ve also discussed passed as well. In fact, two bans passed.  House bill prohibits Class D drivers – mostly teens – from talking on their cell phones while driving. Senate Bill 360 goes further. Known as the Caleb Sorohan Act after a Morgan County teenager who died while texting and whose family pushed the legislation, the Senate bill bans texting by all drivers.

If Gov. Perdue does not get his performance pay framework bill, he can be consoled by the passage earlier this session of his bill to overhaul school boards, which grew out of the Clayton County mess.

In a statement, the governor said:

With last night’s final passage of Senate Bill 84, all Georgia students will now be assured that the state has the ability and authority to step in when a local school system’s accreditation is threatened. This bill strikes the appropriate balance between local control and state intervention when a system is in crisis. It was deeply frustrating to look in the eyes of parents from Clayton and Warren counties and tell them the state could not do anything in time to rescue their schools.

The General Assembly expanded where guns can be carried. While Senate Bill 308 forbids guns in k-12 schools, people with a license will be able to keep their guns in their parked vehicles.

Citizens with a conceal carry license will be able to leave their weapon in a parked vehicle on college and university campuses. But it will be a misdemeanor if they have a license and bring their gun onto a college or university campus.  It will still be a felony crime to carry a weapon onto a campus if  you don’t have a license to carry.

36 comments Add your comment


April 29th, 2010
11:49 pm

Wonder if the zero tolerance bill will stop this kind of stupidity: 10 year old arrested

Veteran teacher, 2

April 29th, 2010
11:54 pm

Well, Governor Purdue, it is deeply frustrating to me that you looked me in the eye on two occassions and told me that teacher input was very important to you, and that you would listen (anybody remember “Sonny Listens:??). It is deeply frustrating to me that you said if you were Governor you would line-item veto all pork in the budget. It is deeply frustrating to me that you said in your campaign that you would tell Washington DC, “NO’, and you would work to get rid of federal rules and regulations. SO WHY DO YOU WANT RTTT SO BADLY?? It is deeply frustrating to me that you would think that no one would remember all of these things and that you can do whatever you want with no consequences. Sorry, we remember!!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Maureen Downey. Maureen Downey said: End of session looms. No sign of merit pay framework bill http://bit.ly/duzWDf [...]


April 30th, 2010
1:27 am

Sine Die!

SB 521 never came to the floor.


April 30th, 2010
1:32 am

This was truly a wonderful day for Georgia schoolchildren and Georgia educators.

Devil's Advocate

April 30th, 2010
5:26 am

Yes! We can go back to not having any real evaluation tool in place, because 99% of us really are completely satisfactory teachers. No need to improve our profession, just gotta fix all those terrible parents!


Testing makes us paranoid

April 30th, 2010
5:49 am

Ol’ Sonny forgot a lot of things he promised. Good riddance in November.

Teaching in FL is worse

April 30th, 2010
5:51 am

I went from Jeb Bush to Sonny. I don’t know what to do with myself now.

Teaching in FL is worse

April 30th, 2010
5:55 am

BTW, IMHO if Jeb Bush had won the first time he ran in 1994 for gov of FL, he would have been in the White House instead of George W. Keep an eye on him. He was a standard-bearer for testing and giving schools a letter grade.


April 30th, 2010
7:00 am

Ms. Downey, don’t you think Ms. Torres needs to amend her report today to note how the “80%” came about? As it is now, it seems rather misleading. Also, it was not just teachers who were polled, and that should be noted. Perhaps another note should be on how many teachers say they never saw it (I did).

Teaching in FL is worse

April 30th, 2010
7:57 am

Good news: if merit pay passes NEXT YEAR, we could always live off of road kill without fear of microchips while wearing our seatbelts in our pickup trucks. (Sorry about the run-on sentence.)


April 30th, 2010
8:02 am

DA: We DO have evaluation tools in place. At least, I have about ten formal snapshots, plus the GTOI, plus those from the reading coach, plus a couple of dozen additional visits to watch what I do. Every teacher in our school has these. In addition, our test scores are monitored. Get real, or get educated.

Proud Black Man

April 30th, 2010
8:43 am

“I went from Jeb Bush to Sonny. I don’t know what to do with myself now.”

Typical tea bagger ignorance; cutting off your nose to spite your face.


April 30th, 2010
8:54 am

WILD -so leaving a firearm in your vehicle, which has more potential for break-in & theft, is better than carrying it or leaving it home? The minds that lead us are lost.


April 30th, 2010
10:00 am

I vote we send senator Jones all the miscreant kids and their protesting parents, so HE can decide which ones should be punished. Then, if the behavior continues, or if the parents think he is being unfair, HE can be subject to lawsuit.

Teaching in FL is worse

April 30th, 2010
11:27 am

PBM; huh? I am truly offended you would mention me in the same snetnce as as the tea baggers. You must have truly misunderstood my intentions. Look up sarcasm in the dictionary.

the prof

April 30th, 2010
11:39 am

Disregard PBM, he isn’t actually black.


April 30th, 2010
12:11 pm

Frankly, the entire “weapons free school zone” law needs to be scrapped. It is a bad idea that has never deterred the criminal, but yet gets the innocent in trouble.


April 30th, 2010
12:54 pm

I am also a victim/veteran teacher of Florida schools and Jeb was a disaster. He single handedly destroyed the profession and made it a miserable place to work. I came to Georgia hoping to escape the stupidy that was/is Jeb Bush and yet I see his name popping up here as well. I tell you all this now, if ANY of Jeb’s policies are adopted here we will suffer the same fate as Florida and this will become the education cess pool that the sunshine state is now.


April 30th, 2010
2:58 pm

Disregard PBM, he isn’t actually black.

or a man…

Teaching is worse in FL

April 30th, 2010
3:04 pm


The thing about the pay structure in GA is that you can tell a county’s commitment to education (and wealth) by looking at their pay supplement. It made my choice easier.

I also found that many more people had advanced degrees here, since the step was generous. In Florida, the pay bump was LESS than 1k per year (at least in my county.)

Ole Guy

April 30th, 2010
5:28 pm

I just love to watch Jethro, of Beverly Hillbillys fame, as he proudly extolls his “achievements” in reciting the “timses tables”. Meanwhile, Ole Stalwart Jed proclaims, with equal pride, just what a sixth grade “edycashun” can do.

Are we, the people of Georgia, to feel anything short of “gyped” in the “achievements” of the overpaid, underaccomplished “sixth grade graiets” of the Ga Legislature? Rather than attack real issues, requiring real work, they crap around with issues which could have/should have been addressed and resolved on legislative session day #2.

Send em packin…every lazy one of em…


April 30th, 2010
7:15 pm

So now I can go directly from work to the firing range without the trip home to get my pistol?

Almost makes the furlough days worth it!

The answer

April 30th, 2010
11:25 pm

Our approach to public education leaves one essential question unanswered. Where is a good asteroid when you really need one?

ga is that far gone

April 30th, 2010
11:32 pm

ga must be a troll, because anybody who would condemn legal action being taken against someone who would physically assault a teacher is too far out of touch to contribute anything meaningful to an educational debate.


May 1st, 2010
12:22 am

do you think arresting a 10 year old is a reasonable solution? What was the antecedent in the meltdown. If said child is special needs, something really went wrong. Arresting a 10 year old tells me somebody at the school doesn’t know their job too well. Far better solutions


May 1st, 2010
11:20 am

ga, they didn’t put her in the adult jail, they took her to the “reform school”.

Has the child been in trouble before? Does her mother also have trouble controlling her? What do YOU think they should have done with her?

ga is a troll

May 1st, 2010
12:38 pm

Yes, arresting a ten year old does tell us someone at the school doesn’t know their job too well.

The student! And in no uncertain terms, the student needs to know that you don’t assault teachers.

ga will surely be donating to a defense fund for the assailant, claiming it’s the school’s fault because the mother didn’t breastfed her and the school didn’t take the appropriate interventions to address that.

ga is a troll

May 1st, 2010
12:47 pm

Want to know the real school to prison pipeline? It’s when schools, caving into the likes of ga, disempower children by not holding them responsible for their actions.

Then a judge has to issue a life intervention that the school should have tried years ago.

Only this time, the judge doesn’t give a rat’s @ss about what whiny apologists like ga think.

That’s the real school to prison pipeline. Aided and abetting by people like ga, who think they are so morally superior they can’t even begin to see the damage they wrought to the social order.


May 1st, 2010
2:21 pm

During tough budget years, it is customary for our politicians to offer legislation that give “carrots” to the voters. It is astounding that the people of Georgia elect these same representatives over and over. They have no understanding of how education works. They were told by someone within the party to be for or against something, so they are. The teacher merit pay issue gave us a good picture of how the official talking points are used and facts are ignored. The gun legislation comes from a group of politicians who thrive on the support from a national organization. They have to show that they are “improving” the rights of gun owners in order to continue to receive the funding for their campaigns. The “zero tolerance” mess was created by an act of the legislature, yet they found ways to twist the scenarios to show how schools abuse students by using the very laws they passed. Give me a break!

Finally, I must take exception to the posts by “ga” regarding an extremely disruptive and out of control person in a school. A person who attacks others in a school is dangerous. It is not a sign that someone at the school “didn’t do their job”. Rather, your remarks are a sign that you are ill-informed regarding the role of school personnel in maintaining safety within a school. When students, regardless of age, create a situation that is as unsafe as the one described by the article referenced above then the school must involve the police. I can not believe that a reasonable adult would take a situation like this out of context and push some sort of personal agenda that would jeopardize the safety of students and teachers in schools.

Barack Obama

May 1st, 2010
5:06 pm

I say that texting while driving should be banned, and that is why I support this bill!


May 2nd, 2010
4:32 am

Is it rumor or fact? I heard something about not requiring 1st and 2nd grade to give the CRCT. And something about dismissing the 3rd and 5th grade writing tests. Yet I can’t find it anywhere on line. Can you find out more about this?

Proud Black Man

May 2nd, 2010
2:12 pm

@ Tony

“It is astounding that the people of Georgia elect these same representatives over and over. They have no understanding of how education works.”



May 2nd, 2010
8:45 pm

Scooter – the test removals are true. As the closing day legislation is gradually getting out, we found the tests were removed. That is 1st and 2nd grade CRCT, and 3rd and 5th grade writing. I was notified by e-mail by a friend who is a lobbyist.

You Asked

May 3rd, 2010
11:40 am

Good for them for putting some common sense and administrator responsibility back into the “zero tolerence” policies.

Too many kids were being kicked into the legal system and juvenile justice’s hands when they should have been the subject of in school discipline. When an Eagle Scout forgets to take his camping equipment out of his car from the weekend before and gets arrested for having a hatchet locked in his car in the parking lot, or a kid gets sent to trial because he dared defend himself after being jumped by a gang of bullies- the schools are failing to protect and educate children.

My own son was part of a group of 30+ students suspended and referred to the police in Jr High becuase a small group of students found a way to game the system and accuse classmates of threatening terroist acts or having guns at school (mostly quiet nerdy boys with no record of misbahavior).

When push came to shove there was no evidence that any wrongdoing was done by any of them. One administrator used a map of the school with rooms circled on it as “evidence” against my son. The judge determined that the map was the same one given to him on the first day of school by the administration so students could find their rooms. He marked his classrooms on it and kept it in his backpack. (He never did clean his backpack).

One of his classmates was kept under in school suspension for two weeks while evidence of a gun was searched for. He was finally let back to class with not even an apology for the hassle.

What happened to the kids who made the false accusations? Nothing.

One apologized to my son later in High School when he found out he was one of the kids being bullied by the system and inept administrators. He said the gang of accusers really didn’t know how badly they were messing up their classmates lives.

The one good thing that came out of this experience was that my son learned that his family had his back and believed him when false accusations were made. We had to contact 5 different lawyers before we could find one who was willing to defend my son without insisting we sue the school. After talking to a therapist my son decided he’d rather prove himself innocent then drop the case, rather than seek revenge on the school.

He is now an Eagle Scout, High School Graduate and serving an overseas church mission. Not so bad for an “accused terrorist.”

Zero tolerence is a great way for paranoid and lazy school administrators to throw good kids or even misbehaving kids under the bus when they don’t want to deal with the hassle of doing their jobs.

Buzzed Mom

May 6th, 2010
9:21 am

Not sure what the guns-on-campus final answer is to armed robberies of students at Tech & elsewhere around town (Emory, Morehouse), but I will not be encouraging my hs junior to apply to GA Tech in the Fall, where he would have to pack his Kevlar and stay inside after dark. Too bad–I used to have warm fuzzy feelings for my alma mater. Our tuition money (out of state) will go elsewhere. Thank you news media for bringing it to my attention.