Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

Instant heat in response to NRA study calling for armed officers and gun-carrying staff in schools

tb1605There are many passionate responses from education leaders today to recommendations from a National Rifle Association- sponsored study that schools hire armed security officers and allow trained staff to carry weapons to prevent another Newtown tragedy by reducing response time. The recommendations were released at a press conference today.

Here is a statement from Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children’s Defense Fund:

“Why is the NRA afraid of the truth? The truth is there is no evidence that armed guards or police officers in schools make children safer. Columbine High School had an armed guard, and Virginia Tech had a full campus police force.

Today’s report is nothing more than a continuation of the NRA’s attempts to prey on America’s fears, saturate our schools with more guns and turn them into armed fortresses. It must be soundly rejected.

It is long past time for us to protect child safety instead of guns. We must not allow the gun lobby to enrich gun …

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Nearly one in five high school boys diagnosed with ADHD. Is it big problem or Big Pharm?

grabarart0920Mining CDC data, The New York Times is reporting today nearly one in five high school age boys and 11 percent of school-age children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Are we over-diagnosing attention deficit hyperactivity, especially in boys, because we have less tolerance of what were once understood and accepted as normal kid behaviors?

Have we become a nation that spots a fidgety 5-year-old and thinks a pill is the answer?

Are these behaviors more troubling in an era where even kindergarten has an academic focus and where children are measured by test scores? Are parents buying the pharmaceutical industry’s promise that it can turn a restless student into a focused scholar?

A child with ADHD is easily distracted, hyperactive and impulsive. More than overactive, these children often can’t sit still long enough to respond to a question or listen to a story. Some can’t slow down between idea and action, leaving them …

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House leader blames “fourth branch of government,” the Board of Regents, for downing campus carry bill

tb1605A miffed Rep. Alan Powell, R-Hartwell, took to the House well with 25 minutes left in the 2013 session Thursday to decry those who blocked the effort to allow guns on college campuses.

He blamed the “fourth branch of government,” the Board of Regents, who, he said, declared the campus carry issue “taboo.”

“The Board of Regents has been opposed to this since day one and, yes, they are the fourth branch of government,” he said. “We were fighting an uphill battle.”

Senate Bill 101 would have expanded where guns are allowed in Georgia, including much of college campuses. It passed the House by a vote of 116-55 but stalled in the Senate over the issue of guns on campuses.

Chairman of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, Powell said House and Senate negotiators had agreed Wednesday to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry weapons on college campuses with the requirement that permit holders between the ages of 21 and 25 would have to complete an …

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Does a parent have a choice when the school tolerates bullying? Was this protective mama bear out of line?

ART-Bully020207I’ve been watching a subtitled Swedish mystery series, “Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter,” in which the feisty protagonist is a crime reporter for a major newspaper. In the episode I watched last night, Annika is upset because her sweet 8-year-old son is being bullied and the school refuses to act even after the bully pushes her son off the monkey bars and seriously injures him.

So,  Annika strides onto the school playground, confronts the bully as he terrorizes another child and warns him that she will kill him if he touches her son again. The threat sounds even more ominous in Swedish.

I have to admit rooting for Annika, who takes heat for making the threat. But she’s not arrested.

A Clayton woman who did the same thing to protect her child was not so lucky. Marvis Renae Henry was charged with disorderly conduct and disrupting school operations and released today on $5,000 bond.

You cannot help but feel for the 59-year-old Sunday schoolteacher who believed that her …

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Do or die: Last chance for bills in the Legislature, including the controversial guns on campus effort

tb1605If you have time today, tune in to watch the last gasp of the 2013 legislative session where guns on campus will be one of the top stories.

Today marks the final day when bills either pass or die.

The state’s universities are battling hard against a push to allow college students to carry guns on campus, and seem to have the state Senate on their side. But the Georgia General Assembly is among the nation’s most gun friendly, and most lawmakers do not want to alienate the gun lobby. So this will be a close battle and one that is getting national attention.

To watch from your computer, go here and click on the links on the left side. Updates also will be posted frequently on ajc.com.

According to the AJC summary of where the gun bill and the budget stand:

Efforts to expand access to guns across Georgia in places such as schools and college campuses are going right down to the wire. The crux of the issue: The House wants to allow guns on college campuses; the Senate, so far, …

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Guns on campus bill meets greater resistance now that it passes House and moves to Senate

Should Georgia allow guns on its college campuses? (AJC file photo)

Should Georgia allow guns on its college campuses? (AJC file photo)

While the guns on campus bill sailed through the House, it’s encountering greater resistance on its journey over to the Senate. Passage in both chambers of the General Assembly is necessary for a bill to become a law.

House Bill 512, the Safe Carry Protection Act, would permit guns in in bars, churches, parts of college campuses and into unsecured government buildings, including courthouses.

The bill was opposed by the chancellor of the University System of Georgia. “I am suggesting that adding loaded weapons to an already potentially volatile mix of youthful exuberance, stress, and yes, at times alcohol and other factors, could lead to a tragedy of our own making that we could otherwise avoid,” Chancellor Hank Huckaby told lawmakers.

He didn’t make much headway with them. The bill won overwhelming approval in the House last week, passing 117-56, largely along party lines.

The bill’s success in the House …

Continue reading Guns on campus bill meets greater resistance now that it passes House and moves to Senate »

Gun incident at Grady High highlights socio-economic divide. Can students overcome differences?

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun in the accidental shooting at Grady Wednesday. (Joe Lavine, Southerner)

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun in the accidental shooting at Grady on Feb. 27. (Joe Lavine, The Southerner)

One of the strongest images to emerge from the accidental shooting 10 days ago at Grady High School was a photo taken by a student photographer who was in-between classes when a classmate accidentally shot herself in the leg in a school courtyard. Grady senior Joe Lavine is on the staff of  high school’s nationally acclaimed student newspaper, The Southerner.

Lavine has written a guest column about the shooting. (Lavine is interviewing today for a college scholarship. Good luck to him.)

By Joe Lavine

Yes, I took the picture of  the gun a Grady High classmate accidentally discharged  last week in the school courtyard. Yes, I threaded my way through the monkey grass and snapped a photo of that abominable, life-ruining object seconds after the student accidentally shot herself in the leg and rushed off to the school clinic, leaving the gun …

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The real crime in APS school shootings: No one did anything to stop these kids earlier.

Former civil rights and criminal defense attorney Tom Dunn is a high school teacher in Atlanta and the father of three Atlanta Public School students. He wrote this piece in response to the shootings at Grady High School and Price Middle School. He teaches classes in law and justice.

By Tom Dunn

After the Feb. 27 shooting at Grady High School, my students at another Atlanta high school and I continued our discussion about guns in schools and how to make schools safer.

The students in my Introduction to Law and Justice class agreed that allegedly bringing a gun to school was wrong, no matter what the rationale may have been of accused senior Morgan Tukes. Their proposed solutions were to tighten security and gun control, or enforce the laws we have and lock up the alleged offender for a long time.

My teaching point was that the best solution was social responsibility — what we once called community.

First, someone allegedly gave Ms. Tukes that gun. Allowing a gun to get into …

Continue reading The real crime in APS school shootings: No one did anything to stop these kids earlier. »

Chancellor: Keep guns off Georgia’s college campuses

Should Georgia allow guns on its college campuses? (AJC file photo)

Should Georgia allow guns on its college campuses? (AJC file photo)

Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby spoke in opposition today to House Bill 512, which would comprehensively sweep away most restrictions on carrying firearms in Georgia, including on college campuses, on public school grounds and in churches.

Contrary to other states where the debate has shifted to restricting guns in the wake of the Newtown school massacre, many of two dozen gun bills filed in the Georgia Legislature aim to expand firearms access and reach.

Many educational leaders are concerned with bills allowing guns in schools and on campuses.

Here is Huckaby’s official statement from today’s hearing on HB 512:

I appear before you today as the chancellor of the University System of Georgia – a system of 31 institutions with 314,000 students and over 40,000 faculty and staff members. But I am also a father, and grandfather. I am a gun owner with many lifelong friends who are gun owners and hunters. Like …

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Student who took photo of gun at Grady explains how and when. But he says bigger question is ‘why’ behind incident.

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun in the accidental shooting at Grady Wednesday. (Joe Lavine, Southerner)

Grady High student Joe Lavine shot this photo of the gun possibly involved in the accidental shooting at Grady High School In Atlanta on Wednesday. (Joe Lavine, The Southerner)

I asked Joe Lavine, the Grady High School student who photographed the gun that may have been used in yesterday’s shooting at the APS school, to tell us how he happened upon it. The photo has appeared in the AJC and on TV.

There was a concern on the blog that a student photographer was “roaming” the Grady campus in the midst of a lockdown after a 17-year-old girl shot herself accidentally in the leg Wednesday morning in a school courtyard.

I had suggestedthat the student photographer may have been crossing the courtyard en route to class.

Morgan Tukes, a 17-year-old senior, left the hospital Wednesday and was taken to the Fulton County jail, where she is charged with a felony — possession of a pistol by a minor — and three misdemeanors: carrying a weapon within a school safety zone, reckless …

Continue reading Student who took photo of gun at Grady explains how and when. But he says bigger question is ‘why’ behind incident. »