Archive for the ‘Newtown’ 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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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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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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Obama cites Georgia as proof that pre-k works. Calls for College Scorecard and redesigned high schools. Real goals or rhetoric?

President Obama praised Georgia for its pre-k program in his speech. (AJC)

President Obama praised Georgia for its pre-k program in his speech. (AJC)

In his fifth State of the Union address, a buoyed President Obama called for making “high-quality preschool available to every child in America. Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on – by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime.”

Citing Georgia as an example, the President said states that have treated early childhood as a priority have children who “grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, and form more stable families of their own.  So let’s do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”

He called proposed cuts to education and job training a terrible idea, saying, “Most Americans, Democrats, Republicans and independents, understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.” While saying that …

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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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Reaction of education groups to Obama gun proposals

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. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

President Barack Obama proposed universal background checks and prohibitions on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like the ones used in the Newtown where a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children, in an elementary school last month.

According to the AJC:

A month after that horrific massacre, Obama also used his presidential powers to enact 23 measures that don’t require the backing of lawmakers. The president’s executive actions include ordering federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointing a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.

Related, Gov. Nathan Deal told the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs and Issues breakfast this morning that he sees value in the controversial proposal of …

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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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Would armed administrators stop school shooters who begin their rampages expecting to die?

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. 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)

School systems across the country are beefing up security in the wake of the Newtown massacre that took the lives of  20 young children and six educators, including the principal and school psychologist who confronted the gunman.

(Here is a story on the White House’s plan to meet this week with gun violence victims’ groups, gun safety organizations, gun ownership groups and representatives from the entertainment and video-game industries to discuss ways to stop the next Newtown.)

One response is to increase the number of guns in schools, either through armed police officers in every school rather than only in middle and high schools or by …

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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, the …

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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 attention and …

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