The Battle Lines Over Guns Often Drawn by Funding

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.

Young People Throng to Nation’s Capital to Catch a Glimpse of History

WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than a million people poured into downtown Washington, D.C., yesterday, a federal holiday dedicated to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., for the festivities marking the start of President Barack Obama’s second term in office. The crowd included hundreds of thousands of young people from around the country, from elementary school students accompanying their parents to college-age youth hanging out with their friends. They spent hours traveling on buses and trains to the National Mall, more hours waiting in the January cold for the ceremonies to begin, and many more stuck in gridlock at security checkpoints and Metrorail stations afterward on their way home. Youth Today asked some of these young people, many of whom were too young to vote for Obama either time, why they were there. On the Orange Line Metrorail from Vienna, Va., to L’Enfant Plaza, D.C.

“I just wanted to see what Michelle was wearing,” joked Sarah Allu, 19, who boarded a Metrorail train in Vienna, Va., at the far end of the Orange Line, early Monday morning to head to the National Mall with Amandeep Sandhu, 20, and Pravarjay Reddy, 18.

Anti-Bullying Programs Pushed Aside by Federal Budget Woes

On March 10, President Obama turned up the spotlight on school bullying. For a couple of years, a handful of high-profile tragedies — often having to do with the rising problem of students picking on other students via social media — had brought unprecedented attention to the issue. Now, the White House was holding its first ever “Conference on Bullying Prevention.” And the president and the First Lady welcomed an audience of parents, educators, advocates and government officials by expressing how seriously they took the issue — both as leaders and as parents. “We’ve got to make sure our young people know that if they’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help and young adults that can help,that even if they’re having a tough time, they’re going to get through it, and there’s a whole world full of possibility waiting for them,” Obama said. “We also have to make sure we’re doing everything we can so that no child is in that position in the first place.”

Here’s the irony: At the same time that educators, parents and politicians decry bullying and other school violence, the Obama administration has presided over the elimination of all funding for the chief federal program designed to prevent school violence — a program that had been the backbone for anti-school-violence efforts across the country.

Administration’s Turn-About on Juvenile Justice

In the Good News Department it seems the Obama administration has come to the conclusion that cutting juvenile justice programs and making them competitive isn’t such a good idea after all. A few days ago, the administration announced it had altered it original proposal maintaining and adding certain crucial programs.

See the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention press release for more details.