Archive for the ‘safety’ Category

Newtown shooting demands we consider our “call of duty” as parents

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 memorial in Newtown, Conn. On Dec. 14, Adam Lanza walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and opened fire, killing 26, including 20 children, before killing himself. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

I admire Fred Assaf, head of Pace Academy in Atlanta, because he doesn’t shy away from the tough issues. Here is another example of his willingness to speak out on behalf of children.

In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, Assaf questions the popularity of violent video games, which many kids received as Christmas gifts last week.

Please note that all comments to the blog will be moderated and appear only after they are read and approved.

By Fred Assaf

Because I come to know 6-year-olds every year by having lunch with them in our Lower School, I know the boundless joy and optimism they have in the heart. They raise their hands when they don’t know the answer. When they run out of knock-knock jokes they know, …

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NRA wants armed guards in every school. Will that make schools safer or raise risks?

NOTE: I am moderating all comments to the blog today in response to some of the stuff I was seeing in an earlier post today. Your comment will not appear until I read and approve it.

After its low profile following the Newtown shooting, the NRA today called for armed officers in every school.

“The truth is that our society is populated by an unknown number of genuine monsters — people so deranged, so evil, so possessed by voices and driven by demons that no sane person can possibly ever comprehend them. They walk among us every day. And does anybody really believe that the next Adam Lanza isn’t planning his attack on a school he’s already identified at this very moment?” said NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre at a news conference interrupted by a protester holding the sign “NRA is killing our kids.”

He continued: “How many more copycats are waiting in the wings for their moment of fame — from a national media machine that rewards them with the wall-to-wall …

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Newtown shooting: Focusing on young black men in hoodies while ignoring young white men with Glocks

Veteran teacher Bob Fecho, now a reading education professor at the University of Georgia, writes about young men, violence and guns in the wake of the Newtown shooting:

I am a white male. I’ve been in education for nearly 40 years and for 24 of those years I taught in three different secondary schools in Philadelphia. The students in all those schools came from working class and working poor black families.

When I would tell other whites who I’d meet casually—a taxi driver or a sales clerk, for example—where I worked, I’d hear anything from the coded “It must be hard teaching them kids” to the bald “You should get a medal for teaching there.” I suspect they imagined a school running amok, with fights breaking out daily, gangs terrorizing teachers, and mayhem rampant. Such was never the case.

Instead, I would see how the young men I taught were frequently vilified in local media, how black on white crime was plastered across the 11 o’clock news, despite its …

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Derail the school-to-prison pipeline in Georgia

Rob Rhodes is director of projects with the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. This is his first piece for the AJC Get Schooled blog:

By Rob Rhodes

Along with the fiscal cliff, the United States faces an “education cliff” — the growing problem of unacceptably low graduation rates made worse, at least in part, by the reliance on school disciplinary practices that contribute to the “school to prison pipeline.”

Georgia’s significantly lagging high school graduation rate is the result of many factors. A key cause may be an overuse of exclusionary discipline, such as suspensions and expulsions, and the regular referral of incidents of schoolyard misbehavior to juvenile court.

The Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice has conducted a comprehensive study of student discipline policies, which found sharp differences among the school districts in the use of exclusionary discipline.

In 2011, eight school districts reported overall out-of-school suspension …

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Fulton school chief: Reflections on Newtown, school safety, balance and life

Robert Avossa

Robert Avossa

Here is a piece by Fulton Superintendent Robert Avossa on the tragedy in Newtown:

By Robert Avossa

The recent events in Connecticut have shaken us all, making us realize just how precious a young life is and how we have a great responsibility to protect it. This tragedy is a parent’s and an educator’s worst nightmare.

While parents have always carefully dropped their children off at school or to the bus stop, they may now hesitate, taking one last moment to hug or kiss their child before they send him or her along the way. School employees are now more alert and aware of unusual people and sounds, and law enforcement officers and first responders are extra watchful in protecting those they serve.

Though national headlines have alarmed us, we should be reminded that school violence of this magnitude is very rare. It’s natural to question school safety in the aftermath of such a terrible tragedy, but the reality is that our schools are still one of the safest …

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Principals oppose efforts to allow them to carry guns in response to Newtown

A joint statement from the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals on allowing principals and teachers to carry guns in school:

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, we all feel a desperate need to honor the memories of the victims and take steps to prevent such horror from happening again. In that spirit, many well-meaning policymakers are proposing to allow teachers and principals to carry firearms in school. As the professional organization for our nation’s principals, we strongly oppose such policies.

A principal’s first responsibility is to foster a safe, orderly, warm, and inviting environment. To be effective, schools must be perceived as safe havens where students want to be. The presence of armed school officials on campus conveys the opposite message to students and to the local community.

Is the school really safe, a parent might wonder, if the principal feels …

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Michigan governor vetoes concealed weapons in schools

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a controversial bill today that would have allowed gun owners to carry concealed weapons in schools, day care centers, churches and stadiums.

Senate Bill 59 permitted gun owners who receive additional hours of training to carry their weapons in formerly gun-free areas. We discussed the bill on the blog as it generated strong opposition from school boards and teachers’ groups, including the American Federation of Teachers.

“Firearms have absolutely no place in our schools—the Dec. 14th tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., is a chilling and heartbreaking reminder of this. Twenty innocent young children have been robbed of their lives, many shot multiple times. Six public servants, who were trying to save these children, were murdered in an environment that should be considered a safe sanctuary for students, educators and school visitors,” wrote Randi Weingarten, AFT president, and David Hecker, president, …

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A local parent of a mentally ill child says: “Change our mental health system now before more blood is shed.”

In response to Newtown, a local parent sent this letter about her struggles getting help for her mentally ill son. At the parent’s request, I am not using any names:

The Sandy Hook tragedy should be a clear indication that our mental health system needs a complete overhaul. My husband and I adopted a child six years ago. We expected joy and love from our adopted child, but instead we have faced years of mental illness filled with rages and violence.

We have turned to psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and our local school for help to no avail. I will give you a few examples so you will understand our situation. This past spring we endured hours of extreme raging and violence every day to the point where my biological son and I would have to hide in a closet. We made the difficult decision to have our son committed to Peachford Hospital. Within a week, he was home and the raging began again within 24 hours.

When I called the doctor and asked him how he could send …

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Noah Pozner of Newtown: Eulogy for a much loved and missed little boy

One of the first eulogies of the Newtown shooting victims, courtesy of the Associated Press.

A message read at the funeral of 6-year-old Noah Pozner by his uncle Alexis Haller, of Woodinville, Wash.:

On Friday, Dec. 14, we tragically lost a most beloved member of our family. Noah was a 6-year-old little boy, and he was so dear to all of our hearts.

Words cannot express the unfathomable loss we feel.

Noah was a wonderful son and a loving brother. He was kind, caring, smart, funny, and sometimes even a little mischievous. He liked to tell his sisters that he worked in a taco factory; when they asked him how he got to work, he would give them a funny look as if to say he knew something that they didn’t.

Noah was a little kid. He loved animals, video games and Mario Brothers. He was already a very good reader, and had just bought a Ninjago book at a book fair that he was really excited about reading. He was also very excited about going to a birthday party he had been …

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Should teachers be armed? Should parents be allowed to carry guns into schools?

Should teachers be armed?

Should parents with conceal carry permits be allowed to bring guns into schools?

Would it give a school under siege by an armed lunatic a fighting chance or would it lead to more violence?

These are the questions being asked in Michigan, where the Legislature passed a bill last week — over the protests of the state’s school boards — that would  allow concealed weapons in schools. Under the bill — now on the governor’s desk — citizens of Michigan who hold concealed weapons permits could bring firearms into schools, stadiums or churches, if they underwent additional training.

Supporters contend the law could help prevent another Newtown massacre.

According to the Detroit Free-Press:

Proponents of the legislation said if the bill is signed into law, it will give people the opportunity to respond to crimes and possibly stop a similar situation. “This kind of tragedy is hard to process, but if one person – a faculty member or a parent – could …

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