Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

Grady shooting shows the power of social media

Here is the power and reach of social media. My daughter in New York called to alert me to a shooting at Grady High School in Atlanta as a friend of hers in North Carolina posted a Facebook note about it after getting a text from his sister, a Grady student.

It turned out that a female student accidentally shot herself in the leg in the school parking lot this morning. Police have the gun, and the wounded student is at the hospital. Everyone at the school is safe. Grady is on lockdown, but classes will resume in a few minutes, according to student Facebook postings.

APS has been sending out alerts to worried Grady parents, but it appears that students inside the school were never in danger. (Why a Grady student showed up at school with a gun or why she was handling a gun in the parking lot is not clear.)

If you want to see an amazing photo and read a minute-by-minute accounting of the APS Twitter reports, go to the Southerner, Grady’s award-winning student newspaper. (Evidence …

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By arresting fewer students, we create safer schools that put more kids on path to college, jobs and not prison

Here is an op-ed on school safety by Judge Steven Teske of the Clayton County Juvenile Court and Judith Browne Dianis, co-director of the national civil rights group Advancement Project.

By Judge Steven Teske and Judith Browne Dianis

In the wake of the horrific school shooting in Newtown, policymakers across the nation are grappling with how we keep our schools and communities safe. Georgia is no exception. Local school districts in Georgia and across the nation are developing plans to create their own police departments.

While the safety of our children is our highest priority, we must not allow isolated acts of violence to result in reactionary policies that, though well-intentioned, actually undermine school safety and the educational outcomes of our children.

Research shows police in schools operating absent a written protocol do not increase safety, and they do not catch early indicators of mental health needs, identify root causes of underlying violence, or use the …

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Why is the image of public education distorted by media?

grabarart0920Here is an interesting essay by University of Georgia professor Peter Smagorinsky, a regular contributor to this blog.

He writes about the distance between the reality of public education and the images portrayed in the media.

By Peter Smagorinsky

A few years ago, Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly was invited to dinner in a Harlem restaurant by the Rev. Al Sharpton. Each has served as a foil for the other’s constituencies. To O’Reilly, Sharpton represents Black Wilding, the phenomenon that many in the Fox News audience assume is a daily urban occurrence: when a band of poor, black youths roam the streets engaging in social mayhem from assault to robbery to rape to vandalism to murder.

To Sharpton, O’Reilly represents those aspects of White society that believes that all Black people are Wild, based on media reports that emphasize crime and rely on fear to construct images that serve to characterize whole groups of people according to stereotypes based on the behavior of the …

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A tornado, a dark hall and frightened children. A school saddles up to meet the challenges.

Jim Arnold leads the Pelham City Schools in Mitchell County, Ga. He is a frequent essayist on this blog. Here is his latest piece:

By Jim Arnold

Public school teachers are fighting battles on many fronts. These challenges have been presented and debated again and again. Everyone seems to have an answer but no one can present a viable solution. Many believe that teachers and public school students are being held hostage by state and federal politicians to promote an agenda of privatization; others are convinced the public schools are irretrievably broken and beyond redemption.

Furlough days that directly affect teacher pay and quality of life, denigration of public schools and of the teaching profession, the use of public schools as instruments of social experimentation and reform, the imposition of more and more standardized tests as an educational end unto itself rather than a means to improve achievement, the threat of tying meaningless test scores to teacher evaluations, …

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Alabama school bus kidnapping ends with release of little boy and death of assailant

Kudos to the FBI hostage team and police officers who freed the Alabama 5-year-old this afternoon from the gunman who killed a bus driver and kidnapped the child off a school bus a week ago.

I am thrilled the boy will celebrate this 6th birthday Wednesday at home with his family.

Kidnapper Jim Lee Dykes, 65, is dead. He was keeping the 5-year-old in an underground bunker on his rural property for reasons that are still unclear.

Now that this horror story has ended, can someone explain how a man who reportedly shot at his neighbors and beat a dog to death with a lead pipe was not in jail? It sounds like the people who lived around Dykes were in terror for their lives.

The AJC reported: Neighbors described Dykes as a man who once beat a dog to death with a lead pipe, threatened to shoot children for setting foot on his property, and patrolled his yard at night with a flashlight and a firearm. Dykes had been scheduled to appear in court {last}Wednesday to answer charges he …

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Oglethorpe University president: College leaders unite to end silence on gun safety in America

Oglethorpe President Lawrence Schall. (Oglethorpe)

Oglethorpe President Lawrence Schall. (Oglethorpe)

Lawrence Schall, president of Oglethorpe University, shared this letter with me late Thursday night. He wrote the letter for the Chronicle of Higher Education where it was published earlier this week.

In the wake of the Price Middle School shooting, I am sharing Dr. Schall’s letter here this morning:

The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, who served the University of Notre Dame as its president for 35 years, wrote an article in 2001 titled Where are College Presidents’ Voices on Important Public Issues?”

He began this way: “When I was a college president, I often spoke out on national issues, even when they didn’t pertain to academic life. Yet, nowadays, I don’t find many college presidents commenting on such issues.”

I will suggest that the silence has grown even more deafening in the decade since Father Hesburgh penned those words. This month, the silence was broken.

Over 330 college and university presidents signed a letter, …

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A student shot to death in Chicago. A student shot in the neck in Atlanta. What is happening and can we stop it?

Hadiya Pendleton (From AP)

Hadiya Pendleton (From AP)

With the terrible news that a Price Middle School student was shot today in Atlanta by a classmate, I thought I would share Chicago Teachers Union President and National Board chemistry teacher Karen GJ Lewis’ statement about a shooting in Chicago Tuesday in which a high school student died.

King College Prep student Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed Tuesday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. while walking through a Chicago park with a dozen classmates. The teens had been dismissed early from their high school classes after finishing their finals. The group had dashed under a canopy in the park when it began to rain. In an apparent case of mistaken identity, a gunman running through the park opened fire on the high school group, killing Hadiya and injuring two other students

A member of her school’s majorette team, Hadiya had just returned from Washington after performing at an inaugural event.

(The official statement from APS on the shooting here Thursday: …

Continue reading A student shot to death in Chicago. A student shot in the neck in Atlanta. What is happening and can we stop it? »

Pressure mounts to tame videogame violence. Good call or bad move?

Snow-covered stuffed animals with photos attached sit at a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012. People continue to visit memorials after gunman Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Friday, Dec. 14, and opened fire, killing 26, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Snow-covered stuffed animals with photos attached sit at a Newtown memorial to the children who lost their lives in the Dec. 14th school massacre (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

In the Newtown aftermath, everyone is looking for ways to reduce violence, including banning gory and gruesome videogames.

One town in Connecticut, Southington, even considered a voluntary collection of violent video games, but canceled the event this past weekend.

We have discussed the issue here on the blog in response to a piece by the headmaster of Pace.

In his essay, Fred Assaf wrote, “Each of these games, simply put, eats away at a child’s sensitivity toward killing. We have ‘gamified’ the murder of people, and our children shoot, steal, and bomb in their virtual worlds. Like the basketball player who practices foul shots, we get better at things when we practice. Their habits become automatic, reactive, and second-nature.”

There are calls in Congress to impose more regulation on the $60 …

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Watching video of Bartow school board member, you have to wonder: How do these folks win elections?

Bartow County school board vice chair Angela Cornett made a smart decision in resigning her post after a troubling surveillance video captured her seemingly lurching into a teen attempting to hold a parking spot in a Walmart.

The video has now gone viral, and Cornett has been charged with reckless conduct.

The teen involved appeared on national TV to decry the incident. Seventeen-year-old Emily Gulledge is a Bartow County student. On the “Today” show, Emily said, “I was the child in the situation and she acted like the child. I can’t believe somebody would actually hit somebody with a vehicle especially over a parking spot.”

This story first came to my attention when a Bartow resident sent me a link to the Bartow for a Better Board of Education site.

I was also sent a link to a video where Cornett goes after a teacher by name at a public board meeting.

After watching the videos of the parking lot incident and the school board meeting, I have to wonder if there are any …

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Helicopter parents turn into stealth bombers and court orders them to stop stalking daughter at college

We read a great deal about college students who are overly dependent on their parents, but 21-year-old Aubrey Ireland contended that she faced the opposite problem –  obsessive parents who secretly monitored her emails and calls, watched her sleep at night via Skype and showed up at her college uninvited to check up on her and speak to her department head.

A court sided with Ireland, ruling that her parents’ behaviors amounted to stalking and ordering them to stay clear of their only child while she was finishing school. Among the parents’ transgressions: Installing monitoring software on her computer and her phone.

A dean’s list music theater major from Kansas, Ireland said she had no choice but to take her parents to court. Outraged, her parents are now attempting to recoup the $66,000 in tuition they paid the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. (The school gave Ireland a scholarship to complete her final year.)

Ireland told “Good Morning …

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