7 Suggestions for Better School Discipline – Education Week

7 Suggestions for Better School Discipline – Education Week

It seems pretty likely that the Trump administration will revise or rescind an Obama-era directive intended to address racial disparities in school disciplinary actions. The “Dear Colleague” letter in question, issued by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice in 2014, has been the subject of much debate of late. It stated that school districts could be investigated and found guilty of violating students’ civil rights when doling out punishments, even if the discipline policies were race-neutral and implemented in even-handed ways (in other words, even if there was no evidence of discriminatory treatment of students).

Yet, the latest federal discipline data, released earlier this month, show that African-American students continue to be disciplined at higher rates than white students. While U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos held roundtable meetings with lawmakers in April to hear debates about the guidance from both sides, there is no timeline for the administration’s final decision.

But school discipline reform did not begin with President Barack Obama, and it won’t end with President Donald Trump. Efforts for change have been gaining steam for years, which legislatures and school boards have increasingly codified into laws and practices at state and local levels.

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Democrats invite students affected by gun violence to intern for the summer

Democrats invite students affected by gun violence to intern for the summer

By Isabella Gomez and Justin Lear, CNN

House Democrats are inviting students affected by school shootings to participate in an internship program on Capitol Hill, where they will work on issues related to violence prevention.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley from New York announced the Gun Safety Internship Program on Thursday.

“My colleagues and I are thrilled to invite these young men and women to intern on Capitol Hill this summer and bring their energy and dedication to Congress,” he tweeted.

The Congressman is working with Vice Chair Linda Sánchez from California, Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Mike Thompson from California and Rep. Ted Deutch from Florida to lead the effort.

Read more at https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/25/us/democrats-offer-internships-to-parkland-students-trnd/index.html?utm_content=2018-05-25T21%3A11%3A06&utm_source=twCNN&utm_medium=social&utm_term=image

VIDEO: Trump Panel Slammed on Slow Pace of School Safety Work – Education Week

VIDEO: Trump Panel Slammed on Slow Pace of School Safety Work – Education Week

Education Week logoNearly three months—and six school shootings—since President Donald Trump created a commission to seek solutions to school violence, the Cabinet-level panel is being slammed for what critics see as its slack pace, lack of transparency, and limited representation.

Advocates, parents, and educators note that the commission, which is led by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, has met only once since it was set up in the wake of February’s massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. They say there’s been very little outreach to the education community. And they worry that the commission seems to have already made up its mind about where to go on school safety.

“It really begs the question of how seriously they are taking this situation,” said Myrna Mandalowitz, the director of government relations at the School Social Work Association of America. “It’s past time for this commission to meet and get the ball rolling.”

Besides DeVos, the commission includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. It has had one organizational meeting, on March 28. Since the commission was first announced on March 11, there have been six school shootings resulting in death or injury, according to Education Week tracking of such incidents

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Will the Texas Shooting Prompt Action From Trump’s School Safety Commission?

Will the Texas Shooting Prompt Action From Trump’s School Safety Commission?

Education Week logoEarlier this year, shortly after 17 students and teachers were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., President Donald Trump created a school commission, led by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to explore solutions.

And now that there has been another deadly school shooting, at Santa Fe High School in Texas, educators, parents, and others, including advocates in Washington and folks on social media, are wondering just what the commission has been up to since its inception in early March.

Besides DeVos, the commission includes Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. It has had one organizational meeting, on March 28. By contrast, there have been seven school shootings since the one in Parkland, Fla., according to Education Week’s tracker.

Separately, DeVos met May 17 with experts and those personally affected by past school shootings. That meeting was not open to the public or press, but has been posted online here…

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Source: Education Week Politics K-12

Arne Duncan: Parents Should Boycott Schools Until Gun Laws Are Fixed

Arne Duncan: Parents Should Boycott Schools Until Gun Laws Are Fixed

Education Week logoParents of public school students should consider pulling their children out of school until the nation passes new restrictions on gun laws, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan tweeted Saturday.

Duncan, who has long argued that tighter gun restrictions would save children’s lives, was co-signing an idea, also floated on Twitter, from his one-time communications chief, Peter Cunningham. Cunningham now heads up Education Post, a K-12 advocacy and communications organization.


Duncan’s comments came in the wake of a school shooting Friday in Sante Fe, Texas, which left 10 dead, mostly students.

He said in an interview with the Washington Post that the idea was meant to spark discussion.

“I’m open to other ideas, I’m open to different ideas, but I’m not open to doing nothing,” Duncan told the Post. “We will see whether this gains traction, or something does, but we have to think radically…”

Read the full article here: May require an Education Week subscription.

Source: Education Week Politics K-12

NAACP Statement on Santa Fe High School Shooting

NAACP Statement on Santa Fe High School Shooting

BALTIMORE, Md., May 18, 2018 /NNPANewswirePR/ The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s premier civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas:

The NAACP mourns the tragic and senseless loss of 10 lives on Friday, May 18 at Santa Fe High School in Texas. In addition to those killed, 10 individuals were also wounded. Nine of the 10 fatalities were students, studying subjects they loved and planning for their future. This is the 22nd school shooting of 2018, according to CNN. We cannot sit back and allow gun violence to continue to take the lives of our students. The NAACP sends our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of the victims and everyone whose lives they touched. Talk alone is not enough to address the issue of gun violence in our communities and schools; sensible gun reform must become a priority among our politicians and policymakers.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas here.

If You See Something, Say Something: The Seriousness of Gun Threats at School

If You See Something, Say Something: The Seriousness of Gun Threats at School

As schools all across America continue to get back to a sense of normalcy after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, in Parkland, Florida, they continue to remain on edge as the number of threats and activity that schools have witnessed since the Parkland shooting has significantly increased, especially here in Harris County.

This past week, Houston Community College closed its Central College campus located at 1300 Holman Street on Monday and Tuesday (May 7-8) as a result of a shooting threat that was made on social media over that weekend.

HCC officials immediately responded to the threat and took every precaution to protect students from any potential harm, in spite of finals being scheduled for that week.

“It was my decision to close the campus for the last two days,” said HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado. “It was a decision made out of an abundance of caution and concern for everyone’s safety and based on input from law enforcement and my leadership team.”

After an intense investigation by HCC Police, a person of interest was identified and investigators sought to have charges brought against that individual. Upon review of the information, the Harris County District Attorney’s office charged 21-year-old Luis Antonio Rivera with allegedly making a terroristic threat at HCC’s Central Campus. The HCC Central Campus eventually reopened, but HCC identified that this matter was too important to ignore.

“Houston Community College remains vigilant and responds thoroughly whenever any reports of a concerning nature are received and, as always, we will be proactive in the safety of our campuses,” HCC said in a statement. “We want to thank the many agencies that were involved in responding to this threat and remind everyone if you see something, say something.”

Since the beginning of the year, America has found itself having to deal with countless acts of domestic terrorism as a result of gun violence. Sadly, many of these acts came after warning signs were displayed and threats were made through openly accessible outlets like social media.

In the case of 19-year-old domestic terrorist suspect, Nikolas Cruz, the Florida Department of Children and Families had been alerted to social media posts where Cruz talked about buying a gun and doing physical harm to himself at least a year and a half before he shot and killed those seventeen people in Parkland, according to a state report. Even after a person close to Cruz called into a tip line to identify him as a gun owner who had intentions of potentially murdering people at a school, the F.B.I. publicly admitted to not investigating the tip. Cruz had just legally purchased a semiautomatic AR-15 rifle in February 2017 – a year prior to killing his victims.

Just a day after the Parkland shooting, 17-year-old Jaquinn Alani Smith tried to come to school at the Hobby campus of Houston Can Academy with a gun in his backpack. Because Houston Can Academy had a screening process to enter the school, the gun was discovered and Smith ran away. Smith was eventually arrested by members of law enforcement and charged with carrying a weapon in a prohibited place, but the thought of what had happened the day before in Florida was fresh on the minds of students, teachers, administrators and parents.

This is a prime example of why monitoring these types of threats, particularly social media activity, is critical and can stave off a potential tragic event like the Parkland shooting and others.

Back in September 2016, then-14-year-old Jesse Osborne, went onto social media to ask his Instagram friends whether he should go back to his former elementary school or to the middle school he had been suspended from, a week before he fatally shot 6-year-old Jacob Hall and wounded two others at Townville Elementary School.

According to the F.B.I., Osborne’s social media posts showed that he stated he was going to kill his father, get the keys to his truck and drive to Townville Elementary School to commit the act of violence. Less than a year before the Townville shooting, Osborne was criminally charged with bringing a machete and a hatchet to his middle school because he was being bullied.

On December 7, 2017, 21-year-old William Atchinson went to his former high school in New Mexico and fatally shot Casey Marquez and Francisco Fernandez before killing himself. Minutes before he committed the horrific act, he posted a message on social media talking about what he planned to do.

Ironically, that was not the first time Atchinson had made these types of comments on social media. He was investigated by the F.B.I. a year prior for making disturbing comments on social media, but the F.B.I. did not charge him with anything because they said he was no threat at the time. Atchinson went on to legally buy the gun he used to kill his victims and himself.

According to officials at the Harris County District Attorney’s office, at least 140 criminal cases involving threats against students and school campuses have been filed with their office since the Parkland shooting, with most of the individuals charged being between 12 and 16 years of age.

Much of the gun violence tied to schools can seemingly be prevented, and it begins with a simple focus. If you see something, you must say something – before it is too late.

The Forward Times plans to continue being a part of these discussions related to gun violence, and will keep our readers informed on any new developments surrounding this important issue of gun violence in our country.

The post If You See Something, Say Something: The Seriousness of Gun Threats at School appeared first on Houston Forward Times.

School Safety Forum Held by Florida Senators Highlights Prevention, Security

School Safety Forum Held by Florida Senators Highlights Prevention, Security

Education Week logoWashington, DC — A school safety forum on Capitol Hill hosted by Florida’s U.S. senators focused on how to help students head off threats from their peers, and on improving security measures for schools, among other topics.

Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican, also used the event here on Wednesday to tout their support for having the federal government offer states incentives to adopt “red flag” laws that prevent those who represent a threat to themselves or others from accessing or purchasing firearms, while preserving legal protetions for those individuals. Rubio and Nelson introduced a bill to this effect, the Extreme Risk Protection Order and Violence Prevention Act, last month, after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Advocates and public officials also emphasized the importance of communication at various stages to help address school violence, from making it easier for students to share their concerns with adults, to helping law enforcement respond to violent incidents more quickly.

Nicole Hockley, whose son was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, highlighted the “Start With Hello” training program that helps children communicate with each other about their difficulties. The program is run by Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit group led by Hockley that works to prevent children from violence. “It sounds so simple. But the best programs are,” Hockley said.

And Indiana officials attending the session pointed to a school that’s become a model for new security measures, from bullet-resistant classroom doors to smoke bombs that can fill a hallway and disorient a school shooter. (The latter clocks in at a cost of $400,000.) Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill said the state has emphasized “what we can do to harden our schools, but not make them a prison.”

In expressing interest in creating national school safety standards, Rubio pointed to the Americans With Disabilities Act that created national building standards to address the needs of people with disabilities. While he said the analogy to gun violence and school safety isn’t perfect, “It’s an indication of where federal policy could help over time.” He also expressed an interest in making it easier somehow for school leaders to discover “best practices” for safety, so that “they can hear from one another about what other places are doing…”

Read the full article here: May require an Education Week subscription.

COMMENTARY: How Schools Have Successfully Prevented Violence – Education Week

COMMENTARY: How Schools Have Successfully Prevented Violence – Education Week

Education Week logoBy Frank Straub, Sarah Solano & John Rosiak

After every school shooting, we ask how the horrific tragedy happened and whether anything could have been done to prevent it. In the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla., shooting, it came to light that law-enforcement officials had not followed up on a tip they received in January about accused perpetrator Nikolas Cruz’s concerning behavior. We are not asking the right questions soon enough. Did anyone see warning signs? Could anyone have taken action?

For every tragedy, there are many more instances of averted school violence that don’t make the news beyond the affected school district. The higher ratio of averted vs. successful acts is known as the “near miss” concept. For many years, incident prevention has informed best practices in the reduction of aviation, fire, and medical injuries and fatalities.

That’s why the Police Foundation, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to improve policing through innovation and science, began tracking incidents of averted school violence in a national database. The project began in 2015 and is funded by the National Institute of Justice and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which are both housed in the U.S. Department of Justice. Through careful study and analysis of a sample of averted incidents, the foundation has identified valuable lessons in attack prevention. This work should prompt schools to revise safety policies, procedures, and training to respond more effectively when the threat of an incident arises.

Read the full article here: May require an Education Week Subscription.

March for Our Lives Milwaukee: The Youth are in Power

March for Our Lives Milwaukee: The Youth are in Power

By Nyesha Stone

It’s 2018 and America’s youth is showing the world how to use their voices in an impactful way. After the Parkland, FL shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, that killed 17 students and staff, students said enough is enough and decided to fight back.

March for Our Lives is a nationwide movement that was created by students that survived the shooting under the hashtag and name #neveragain. Students across the nation held their own versions of the march on March 24, to fight for stronger gun regulations to put an end to mass school shootings.

The largest march was in Washington D.C. with nearly 800,000 people in attendance, according to NBC news. Like the rest of the nation, Milwaukee had its own version with 12,000 people, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

There wasn’t an age limit or race issue when it came to this march. Everyone came together for one reason: to keep the youth safe.

March participant and Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design (MIAD) student Alyssa Krieg said she just wants to feel safe.

“I don’t want to feel scared [and] I won’t be silenced,” said Krieg. “You can speak out and your thoughts will be valued.”

[/media-credit] Around the country, people are fighting for stronger gun regulations. 

This was Krieg’s first march and she plans to continue participating in important matters because she understands the power of coming together, even if you’re considered a child.

The march started at the County Courthouse and ended at City Hall. There was music playing throughout the march unless a speaker was at the podium. Seventeen white bags with the names of the Parkland victims sat on the stairs of the county jail as the crowd chanted for change.

Speaker and Rufus King junior Tatiana Washington encouraged her peers to speak louder and for the adults to listen.

“What adults fail to realize, we are just getting started. Our age does not limit our power,” said Washington. “I am urging you to vote responsibly because we are scared for our lives.”

The entire march lasted around four hours with thousands of signs being lifted high in the air.

Matt Flynn, who is running for the office of Governor, said things won’t improve until legislature changes.

“As long as the Republicans are in power nothing’s going to change,” said Flynn.

There are three things that he says needs to happen before things get better: ban assault weapons, eliminate gun shows and better background checks.

Flynn isn’t the only person with power that agrees that change needs to happen when it comes to gun regulations.

Senior Vice President of the Milwaukee Bucks Alex Lasry says it’s time to stop listening to the adults and follow the youth.

“Look at what happens when we get all of the adults out the way and let the kids lead,” said Lasry. “What will the rest of us do now that we’ve been woken up?”

Some of the same students that participated in the march also attended another march four days later. Forty Wisconsin students marched 50 miles from Madison to Janesville, which is House Speak Paul Ryan’s hometown. The students called their movement 50 Miles More. It’s clear the youth are going straight to the people with power because that’s where change happens.

This isn’t the first-time youth have stood up for themselves, but this time, they won’t stop until change happens.