Sen. Marco Rubio sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week wrongly blaming the Parkland shooting on the Department of Education’s School Discipline Guidance package. This guidance, released in 2014, reminded schools of their responsibility to address racial discrimination in school discipline, which affects students in every state.
It was late in the evening on Feb. 16 when Joey Wong’s flight from La Guardia Airport in New York City landed at Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida. Instead of going to his family’s home, he headed straight to his friend Robert Schentrup’s house. Schentrup’s sister, Carmen, had been killed two days earlier. She was one of the 17 slain by Nicholas Cruz when he entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida with a loaded AR-15.
Before the slaughter at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, The New York Times produced a powerful graphic showing the millions of NRA dollars some individual, yes, individual, U.S. senators and members of Congress have received, juxtaposed with their prayers and condolences to the families of shooting victims. That kind of hypocrisy didn’t surprise. It’s what we, as a nation, have become.
NEW YORK -- It’s a frigid morning on Staten Island’s South Shore, with the temperature struggling to crack 20 degrees as a stiff wind buffets the Eltingville neighborhood. The elementary school students showing up at P.S. 55 are cocooned in puffy jackets, gloves and hats as they jump out of warm cars and onto the sidewalk towing large backpacks, some adorned with the face of Justin Bieber, others with the logo of the New York Giants. Amidst an ongoing school bus strike, it’s a fairly orderly scene on this Tuesday. Parents drive up to the curb, let their children out and move on to the rest of the day. Directing traffic, and gently scolding the occasional parent who pulls a U-turn on Koch Boulevard, is Mike Reilly, a former New York City police lieutenant who is a few days shy of his 40th birthday.
Story produced by the Chicago Bureau. President Barack Obama delivered his second inaugural address Monday, promising to focus on climate control and pursue greater equality for gay Americans. Those issues, however, are just the beginning of the challenges he must face as he starts his second term. Fixing a broken global economy still ranks first in the minds of many Americans, along with ending our conflicts abroad. On the domestic front there’s no getting around the debate over gun control, with both sides digging in for a fight in Congress – spurred on by a mounting body count that now includes a family in New Mexico, shot dead by a 15-year-old boy.
In the aftermath of the deadly shooting last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., intense public debate has focused on protecting students – and the role of student resource officers (SROs), in particular – in the event of future shooting sprees. Generally, school resource officers are local law enforcement officers appointed to patrol schools and handle juvenile disciplinary issues. The effectiveness of SROs is highly debated. A National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) report claims the presence of SROs has reduced juvenile arrests in some schools by nearly 50 percent. On the other hand, the Justice Policy Institute issued a report that found SROs had little effect on curbing criminal activity in schools, and may even lead to inflated, and potentially unnecessary, juvenile arrests.
President Barack Obama announced his support for a range of gun control policies this afternoon that addressed not only the threat of mass shootings but also the recurring gun-related violence that takes dozens of lives in the country every day. After his speech, he signed multiple executive measures ordering some immediate changes, while four children who had written to urge him to take action against gun violence stood behind him. “This is our first task as a society: keeping our children safe. This is how we will be judged,” Obama told an audience that included parents of children killed by a gunman last month at an elementary school in Connecticut. “We can’t put this off any longer.”
The president backed universal background checks for all gun purchases, including those sold privately and at gun shows, a ban on the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, increased hiring in law enforcement, and initiatives on mental health and school safety.
Ambitious and certain to draw criticism, President Barack Obama’s plan to rid the nation of the most powerful weapons on the market and attempt to arrest mass and everyday shootings was expected by Congress Wednesday, marking a sharp turn in a decades-long fight to curb America’s gun violence. As the debate was playing out in Washington, several local and national leaders gathered at the University of Chicago Tuesday evening to discuss guns and policy, with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, whose city holds the dubious “murder capital” title, among the group and pushing sweeping gun control legislation that cracks down on assault weapons. Also on the panel was Democratic political consultant David Axelrod, who this week said that the National Rifle Association’s recent assertion that Congress would not enact the sort of change that Obama and others were pressing, was off base. In fact, he said, real legislation will squeeze through the legislative process and signal real change in the nation’s laws and gun dialogue. Also in attendance was the head of the University of Chicago CrimeLab, who noted that while the United States has managed to improve its count of more common crime – property theft, etc.