School And Mass Shooting Data Are Wrong

Observations Data on school and mass shootings are often wrong and continue a history of misinformation when it comes to crimes against children. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior […]

The post School And Mass Shooting Data Are Wrong appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

Observations Data on school and mass shootings are often wrong and continue a history of misinformation when it comes to crimes against children. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former Senior […]

The post School And Mass Shooting Data Are Wrong appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

NPR Can Verify Only 11 of 240 Reported School Shootings

The U.S. Education Department reported shootings at 240 schools in 2015-2016. NPR says most of them never happened.

This spring the U.S. Education Department said that in the 2015-2016 school year, “nearly 240 schools … reported at least one incident involving a school-related shooting.” The total is far higher than most other estimates. NPR reached out to every one of those schools and found that more than two-thirds of these reported incidents never happened. Child Trends, a nonpartisan nonprofit research organization, assisted NPR in analyzing data from the federal Civil Rights Data Collection. Only 11 incidents were confirmed. In 161 cases, schools or districts said no incident took place or couldn’t confirm one. In at least four cases, something happened, but it didn’t meet the government’s parameters for a shooting. “When we’re talking about such an important and rare event, [this] amount of data error could be very meaningful,” says Deborah Temkin of Child Trends.

Asked for comment, the Education Department said it would update some of these data  this fall. NPR’s reporting highlights how difficult it can be to track school-related shootings and how researchers, educators and policymakers are hindered by a lack of data on gun violence. The Civil Rights Data Collection required every public school — more than 96,000 — to answer questions on a wide range of issues. One question was, “Has there been at least one incident at your school that involved a shooting (regardless of whether anyone was hurt)?” The answer — “nearly 240 schools (0.2 percent of all schools)” — was published this spring. The government’s definition included any discharge of a weapon at school-sponsored events or on school buses. Even so, that would be a rate of shootings much higher than anyone else had ever found.

from https://thecrimereport.org

School Safety Measures Expand After Parkland Shooting

About one-third of today’s parents fear for their child’s safety in school, finds a Phi Delta Kappa poll. That’s the highest proportion since 1998 and a steep increase from 2013, when the number was only 12 percent. Schools are using more devices like security cameras, metal detectors and bullet-resistant doors.

As students troop into new classrooms and teachers put finishing touches on lesson plans, concern over school safety in an age of mass shootings is at an all-time high, reports USA Today. About one-third of today’s parents fear for their child’s safety in school, finds a poll by Phi Delta Kappa. That’s the highest proportion since 1998 and a steep increase from 2013, when the number was only 12 percent. Schools are taking action to confront the reality that they could be the next target. From sophisticated surveillance technology to programs that train and arm staff, many school boards have new safety measures. “Twenty years ago, we weren’t even trained to do active-shooter drills in the school,” said Curtis Lavarello of the School Safety Advocacy Network, which helps schools assess  vulnerabilities and develop safety plans. “Our primary goal now in law enforcement is to make sure that the school is equipped to handle the very worst of the worst.”

The Parkland, Fl., school shooting and a burst of activism by survivors cemented gun violence in the public conversation for longer than usual. “I’ve never seen this phenomenon,” Lavarello said. Parkland “happened last February, and it still seems as fresh in everybody’s mind today as it did right after it occurred.” Requests for help with safety plans jumped 60 percent since last year. Parkland students returned to classes Aug. 15 amid guards, locks and 52 new security cameras. Santa Fe, Tx., High School, site of a shooting that killed 10 in May, greeted students with metal detectors and armed officers Monday. Charleston County, S.C., schools are experimenting with bullet-resistant doors. New Hampshire’s Londonderry school district allows teachers to press a panic button on their computers and alert authorities. A Haverhill, Ma., school installed a network that identifies the sound of gunfire and alerts officials.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Man Accused in N.M. of Training Youth for School Violence

A suspected child abductor found with 11 children and four other adults at a squalid New Mexico compound had trained at least one of the minors to use an assault rifle in preparation for a school shooting, prosecutors said.

A suspected child abductor found with 11 children and four other adults at a squalid New Mexico compound had trained at least one of the minors to use an assault rifle in preparation for a school shooting, prosecutors said Wednesday, reports the Washington Post. The children, between the ages of 1 and 15, were taken to the compound by some adults for the purpose of receiving weapons training for future acts of violence. Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, who was wanted on suspicion that he had abducted his 3-year-old son, was arrested along with four other adults after Taos County officials raided the barren property in the midst of scrubland on Friday. A judge ordered the group held without bond.

The arrests were the culmination of a months-long search for the missing child, Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. The young boy was not among the 11 children found at the property, and investigators are working to identify a child’s remains that they say they found in the area after getting a second search warrant. The search for Abdul-Ghani began nine months ago in Jonesboro, Ga., where his mother told police that her husband had taken him to a park and never returned. The boy was encephalopathic, had trouble walking, suffered from seizures and required an emergency medication that the father did not have, his mother told police. Law enforcement officials in Taos County said they received information about a child who had been abducted by their father in May. And the compound in Amalia, N.M., had not gone unnoticed by local law enforcement authorities, who surveilled the location in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and noticed that it had a shooting range.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Federal Panel Hears Chilly Response to ‘School Sentinels’

The commission on school safety held a “listening session” in Cheyenne, Wyo., where attendees were cool to the idea of arming teachers. It’s like “asking your plumber to cut your hair,” said one school principal.

While President Trump and the NRA have touted the idea of arming school staffers, educators, students and citizens who showed up Tuesday for a federal school safety commission “listening session” in ruby-red Wyoming, a state that allows its districts to arm certain school staff members, were deeply divided on the proposal, reports Education Week. Brian Cox, principal of Johnson Junior High School in Cheyenne, where the event was held, said he’d rather see resources directed to mental health. “Asking school personnel to do the job of law enforcement and military personnel is nothing short of asking your plumber to cut your hair. It’s just not the job you’d want them to do,” Cox said. But Bill Tallen, executive at a business that trains school staff to carry weapons, said, “When shooting starts, the only way to mitigate the consequences, to protect innocent lives, is to have armed adults at the school able to swiftly engage and stop the shooter before police arrive and to provide life-saving, immediate medical care to the injured.”

The commission is charged with making policy recommendations in the wake of the Feb. 14 school massacre in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 people dead. This was the commission’s third of four listening sessions. Its chair, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was absent. So were three other cabinet members on the commission, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary Alex Azar of Health and Human Services. Each sent a representative. Wyoming and South Dakota allow school districts to decide whether to let teachers carry guns after going through special training, but only a handful of these “sentinels” have signed on, officials said.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Federal Panel Hears Chilly Response to ‘School Sentinels’

The commission on school safety held a “listening session” in Cheyenne, Wyo., where attendees were cool to the idea of arming teachers. It’s like “asking your plumber to cut your hair,” said one school principal.

While President Trump and the NRA have touted the idea of arming school staffers, educators, students and citizens who showed up Tuesday for a federal school safety commission “listening session” in ruby-red Wyoming, a state that allows its districts to arm certain school staff members, were deeply divided on the proposal, reports Education Week. Brian Cox, principal of Johnson Junior High School in Cheyenne, where the event was held, said he’d rather see resources directed to mental health. “Asking school personnel to do the job of law enforcement and military personnel is nothing short of asking your plumber to cut your hair. It’s just not the job you’d want them to do,” Cox said. But Bill Tallen, executive at a business that trains school staff to carry weapons, said, “When shooting starts, the only way to mitigate the consequences, to protect innocent lives, is to have armed adults at the school able to swiftly engage and stop the shooter before police arrive and to provide life-saving, immediate medical care to the injured.”

The commission is charged with making policy recommendations in the wake of the Feb. 14 school massacre in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 people dead. This was the commission’s third of four listening sessions. Its chair, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, was absent. So were three other cabinet members on the commission, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary Alex Azar of Health and Human Services. Each sent a representative. Wyoming and South Dakota allow school districts to decide whether to let teachers carry guns after going through special training, but only a handful of these “sentinels” have signed on, officials said.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Texas School Safety Report Steers Clear of Gun Control

A committee of senators recommended more funding to train and arm school personnel and “harden” school buildings but shied away from endorsement of “red flag” protective orders that advocates say could help prevent future shootings.

In a school safety report, Texas state senators this week recommended more funding to train and arm school personnel, but they did not endorse “red flag” protective orders that advocates say could help prevent more school shootings, reports the Dallas Morning News. The Senate Select Committee on Violence in Schools and School Security did urge the state to provide more mental health resources to students by freeing school counselors from administrative chores and expanding “mental health first aid training” for school staff who interact with students. As expected, the report by the select group of senators also pushed for a “hardening” of campuses, with more funding for metal detectors. It also recommended that the Legislature examine whether to update school building codes “to ensure best practices are used in designing new school facilities.”

The report did not estimate the costs of the recommendations. Physical enhancements of school security have been a priority of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who created the nine-member panel after after the May 18 Santa Fe High School shooting that left 10 dead. Houston businessman Mike Collier, Patrick’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 election, assailed the report. It shies away from recommending red flag laws, which would temporarily restrict access to firearms for people who show signs of being a danger to themselves or others. The laws, passed in 11 other states, are effective, Collier said. Failing to promote them demonstrates that Patrick is “too tied to the gun lobby to even consider consequential steps to keep our kids safe,” he said.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Guns a Taboo Topic for Trump’s School Safety Commission

Five months after its creation, the Federal Commission on School Safety is under criticism for failing to tackle the politically thorny issue of gun control as part of its search for a federal response to the violence. Gun control groups are being shunned by the panel.

The day before she was to testify before President Trump’s school safety commission, Jennifer Johnston, an expert on media coverage of mass shootings, received a phone call from an Education Department advisor who asked her to “refrain” from any gun-control remarks, says the Los Angeles Times. The official, Kent Talbert, cited a section of her pre-submitted testimony that called for federal officials to “greatly restrict the sale of semiautomatic and automatic weapons across states,” Johnston recalled. The assistant psychology professor at Western New Mexico University was stunned that a commission set up after the deadly Parkland, Fla., shooting would ask her to omit something she considered so relevant. Now, nearly five months after its creation, the Federal Commission on School Safety is under criticism for failing to tackle the politically thorny issue of gun control as part of its search for a federal response to the violence.

“I’m not saying in their hearts they don’t want children to be safe, but if you’re not willing to stand up against the gun lobby, not a lot will happen in that respect,” said Abbey Clements, a teacher who survived the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. During more than 20 hours of testimony in five panels, three field visits and two public listening sessions so far, commission officials have largely avoided, limited or suppressed discussion of gun-control measures. None of the more than 100 people invited to speak at panels or field visits represented gun control groups. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence says its repeated requests to testify at a panel have been ignored. The panel’s discussions have focused primarily on mental health issues, the role entertainment plays in youth violence and the need to “harden” schools by improving emergency preparedness and increasing law enforcement presence.

from https://thecrimereport.org

‘Errors’ Cited in Parkland Killer’s School Therapy Plan

A newly released report finds little fault with the Broward school district’s handling of Nikolas Cruz, charged with killing 17 people at his former high school last Feb. 14. But the New York Times cites “two key errors” that left the troubled Cruz without therapeutic services from the district for more than a year before the shooting.

A newly released report about the educational history of Nikolas Cruz, charged with killing 17 people on Feb. 14 in a Parkland, Fla., school shooting, found little fault in the Broward school district’s handling of Cruz’s special needs. Yet two key errors his junior year left Cruz without therapeutic services from the district for more than a year before the shooting and prevented him from returning to the only high school where he had improved his behavior and found some academic success, reports the New York Times. They are the latest in a series of lapses by federal, state and local officials who came in contact with Cruz during his troubled teenage years but failed to take actions that might have prevented the shooting.

Cruz was an 18-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland when a spate of disturbing behavior led to a meeting about the future of his schooling. Education specialists told Cruz he should transfer to Cross Creek, an alternative school for students with emotional problems where he had thrived in ninth grade. But Cruz was legally an adult, and he wanted to graduate from Stoneman Douglas, according to the new report. He stayed there but was not given special-needs protections. On Feb. 8, 2017, Cruz’s failing grades forced him to withdraw from school. Three days later, he legally bought an AR-15 assault rifle that he would be used a year later when he returned to Stoneman Douglas and killed 17 students and staff members in one of the deadliest school shootings in American history. Cruz, now 19, is jail awaiting trial on charges of capital murder.

from https://thecrimereport.org

‘Errors’ Cited in Parkland Killer’s School Therapy Plan

A newly released report finds little fault with the Broward school district’s handling of Nikolas Cruz, charged with killing 17 people at his former high school last Feb. 14. But the New York Times cites “two key errors” that left the troubled Cruz without therapeutic services from the district for more than a year before the shooting.

A newly released report about the educational history of Nikolas Cruz, charged with killing 17 people on Feb. 14 in a Parkland, Fla., school shooting, found little fault in the Broward school district’s handling of Cruz’s special needs. Yet two key errors his junior year left Cruz without therapeutic services from the district for more than a year before the shooting and prevented him from returning to the only high school where he had improved his behavior and found some academic success, reports the New York Times. They are the latest in a series of lapses by federal, state and local officials who came in contact with Cruz during his troubled teenage years but failed to take actions that might have prevented the shooting.

Cruz was an 18-year-old junior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland when a spate of disturbing behavior led to a meeting about the future of his schooling. Education specialists told Cruz he should transfer to Cross Creek, an alternative school for students with emotional problems where he had thrived in ninth grade. But Cruz was legally an adult, and he wanted to graduate from Stoneman Douglas, according to the new report. He stayed there but was not given special-needs protections. On Feb. 8, 2017, Cruz’s failing grades forced him to withdraw from school. Three days later, he legally bought an AR-15 assault rifle that he would be used a year later when he returned to Stoneman Douglas and killed 17 students and staff members in one of the deadliest school shootings in American history. Cruz, now 19, is jail awaiting trial on charges of capital murder.

from https://thecrimereport.org