Posts Tagged ‘ school safety ’

Details Emerge in Pennsylvania School Stabbing

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

The suspect–16-year-old Alex Hribal–has been identified in the frightening stabbing incident that occurred Wednesday morning at Franklin Regional Senior High School in the upscale community of Murrysville, Pennsylvania.  Other details are also emerging in the case, which injured 20 students and a school security guard.  More from CNN:

Hribal, who was arraigned as an adult, faces four counts of attempted homicide, 21 counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of a weapon on school grounds, the documents show….

…Hribal is accused of using two 8-inch stainless-steel knives in the attack, according to the complaint. He is being held without bail at the Westmoreland County Regional Youth Services Center.

The carnage began shortly before the start of classes, when an attacker began stabbing students in a crowded hallway and then went from classroom to classroom.

Student Matt DeCesare was outside the school when he heard a fire alarm ring and then saw two students come out of the school covered in blood.

Then he saw teachers running into the building and pulling “a couple of more students out,” he told CNN. The students had been stabbed.

To stanch the bleeding, the teachers asked the students for their hoodies.

“We all took our hoodies off and handed them to the teachers to use as tourniquets to stop the bleeding,” he said.

Recordings of emergency calls released in the wake of the attack provide a soundtrack of sorts to the terror and chaos that played out inside the school.

“I don’t know what I got going down at school here but I need some units here ASAP,” one officer can be heard saying.

Minutes later in another call, another official, breathlessly, can be heard detailing casualties: “About 14 patients right now.”

Then another call for help. “Be advised inside the school we have multiple stab victims,” one of the officers said. “So bring in EMS from wherever you can get them.

Student Mia Meixner was standing at her locker.

“I heard a big commotion like behind my back,” she told CNN. “And I turned around and I saw two kids on the ground.”

She thought a fight had broken out, but then she saw blood.

“I saw the kid who was stabbing people get up and run away,” she said.

Then she saw a girl she knew standing by the cafeteria. “She was gushing blood down her arm.”

Meixner dropped her books and went to help the girl.

“I started hearing a stampede of students coming down from the other end of the hall, saying ‘Get out, we need to leave, go, there’s a kid with a knife.’ Then a teacher came over to me and the girl I was trying to help. And she said she would handle the girl and that I should run out. So then I just ran out of the school and tried to get out as soon as possible.”

Meixner never heard the attacker utter a word.

“He was very quiet. He just was kind of doing it,” she said. “And he had this, like, look on his face that he was just crazy and he was just running around just stabbing whoever was in his way.”

She said she didn’t know the boy, but he had been in a lot of her classes. “He kept to himself a lot,” she said. “He didn’t have that many friends that I know of, but I also don’t know of him getting bullied that much. I actually never heard of him getting bullied. He just was kind of shy and didn’t talk to many people.”

Assistant Principal Sam King is being credited with bringing the carnage to an end.

King tackled the teen, Peck told reporters. A school resource officer was able to handcuff the suspect, Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said.

The accused teen was being treated for injuries to his hands, the chief said.

Police Officer William “Buzz” Yakshe, who also serves as a resource officer at the school, helped subdue the suspect, said Dan Stevens, the county deputy emergency management coordinator. Yakshe is “doing fine,” Stevens said. “He’s more upset than anything else over what happened, because these are his kids.”

A fire alarm that was pulled during the attack probably helped get more people out of the school during an evacuation order, Seefeld said.

Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying
Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying
Back to School: Dealing With Meanness and Bullying

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Multiple Wounds Reported at Pennsylvania School Stabbing

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

As many as 20 students at a high school near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania were injured in a multiple stabbing attack Wednesday morning–and at least some of the injuries qualify as “life-threatening,” according to doctors at the scene.  The suspect, who is a male student at the school, is in custody and is being questioned.  More from CNN.com:

The violence, Stevens said, happened in classrooms and a hallway. The suspect was handcuffed by a school resource officer, Murrysville Police Chief Thomas Seefeld said, and a school principal had “an interaction” with the suspect, leading to his apprehension.

Four people were flown to hospitals by helicopter, Stevens said.

Seven teens and one adult were being treated at nearby Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, according to Dr. Chris Kaufmann. Their injuries are “quite serious,” and “some are clearly life threatening,” he said.

Victims were stabbed in their torso, abdomen, chest and back areas, and two people were sent to surgery immediately after arriving, he said. Those two patients had low blood pressure, he said. A third was being prepared for surgery Wednesday morning, and the rest were being evaluated to see whether surgery was necessary, he said.

Eleven victims were taken to four University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospitals, UPMC spokesman Cindy McGrath said. One was sent to UPMC Presbyterian; four were taken to Children’s Hospital; one was taken to UPMC Mercy; and five were taken to UPMC East. She did not have ages or conditions of the victims.

The students who were hurt range in age from 14 to 17, Stevens said. All of the injuries are stabbing-related, such as lacerations or punctures, and there were no guns involved he, said.

The alleged attacker is being treated for injuries to his hands, Seefeld said, adding that the security guard is among the injured.

A message on the Franklin Regional School District’s website said all of its elementary schools were closed after the incident, and “the middle school and high school students are secure.”

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Government Will Pay for GPS Devices for Autistic Kids

Friday, January 31st, 2014

The U.S. Justice Department has agreed to fund a program that would provide voluntary GPS tracking devices to children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The hope of the program, and legislation sponsored by New York Senator Charles Schumer, is the prevention of incidents in which autistic kids wander away from caregivers and are unable to communicate their way back to safety.

Schumer told The New York Times that the voluntary-use GPS tracking devices, which cost about $85 each plus small monthly fees, will be like those used to track people suffering from Alzheimer’s. The Justice Department already provides grants to help pay for Alzheimer’s patients’ devices.

More from NY1 News:

It comes on the heels of the disappearance and death of Avonte Oquendo.

The 14-year-old, who suffered from autism, exited his school in October.

His remains were found in the East River earlier this month.

Schumer pushed for legislation to provide GPS tracking devices for children with autism and other conditions, in which they tend to wander off from caregivers or parents.

The Justice Department has agreed to use grant funds to pay for the voluntary devices.

The news comes as new video surfaces of Avonte leaving his Long Island City school through a door that had been left ajar by someone exiting the school.

According to the Oquendo family attorney, it was left open for about a half hour before being closed by a school safety agent.

What career will your child have? Take our quiz to find out!

Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism
Early Signs of Autism

Image: School door, via Shutterstock

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Obama Administration: End ‘Zero Tolerance’ School Policies

Friday, January 10th, 2014

“Zero tolerance” policies in schools, while well-intentioned, are often ineffective and overly zealous, and they create a school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately affects minority students, the Obama administration said this week in a set of new guidelines.  The guidelines urge schools to abandon “zero tolerance” policies in favor of alternate methods of deescalating classroom conflicts before they become violent and dangerous.  More from PBS.org:

The wide-ranging series of guidelines issued Wednesday in essence tells schools that they must adhere to the principle of fairness and equity in student discipline or face strong action if they don’t. The American Civil Liberties Union called the recommendations “ground-breaking.”

“A routine school disciplinary infraction should land a student in the principal’s office, not in a police precinct,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.

Holder said the problem often stems from well intentioned “zero-tolerance” policies that too often inject the criminal justice system into the resolution of problems. Zero-tolerance policies, a tool that became popular in the 1990s, often spell out uniform and swift punishment for offenses such as truancy, smoking or carrying a weapon. Violators can lose classroom time or become saddled with a criminal record.

Police have become a more common presence in American schools since the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999.

The administration said research suggests the racial disparities in how students are disciplined are not explained by more frequent or more serious misbehavior by students of color.

“In our investigations, we have found cases where African-American students were disciplined more harshly and more frequently because of their race than similarly situated white students,” the Justice and Education departments said in a letter to school districts. “In short, racial discrimination in school discipline is a real problem.”

Daniel A. Domenech, executive director of the School Superintendents Association, acknowledged that students of color were being suspended and expelled in disproportionate numbers.

In American schools, black students without disabilities were more than three times as likely as whites to be expelled or suspended, according to government civil rights data collection from 2011-2012. Although black students made up 15 percent of students in the data collection, they made up more than a third of students suspended once, 44 percent of those suspended more than once and more than a third of students expelled.

More than half of students involved in school-related arrests or referred to law enforcement were Hispanic or black, according to the data.

Domenech said his organization will work to educate members about the recommendations. “Superintendents recognize that out-of-school suspension is outdated and not in line with 21st-century education,” he said.

Image: Prison bars, via Shutterstock

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Reporters Expose Security Gaps at Some NYC Schools

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

A team of NBC News investigative reporters were able to enter a number of New York City-area schools without being stopped or asked for identification, exposing what they are saying are some gaps in school security measures that are particularly troubling as the one-year anniversary of the terrible school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut nears.  More from NBC News:

Today Show National Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen was able to enter one New Jersey school without giving a name. Unescorted, he went looking for the main office, per school policy. As he looked, he walked past several classrooms with kids, stopping at one to ask a teacher for directions. No one asked who he was, or what he was doing there. For two minutes, he walked through the halls, and was only stopped once he arrived at the office.

The school’s PTA told NBC the findings were a “wake-up” call.

“This is incredibly problematic,” said safety consultant Sal Lifrieri, a former director of security at the New York City Office of Emergency Management, after watching the video. “Something like this, two minutes of not being challenged, it’s just too much harm you could have caused if you really had intent.”

At the other four schools he visited, however, he was asked for identification and kept away from children and classrooms.

He was buzzed in after identifying himself at one school, and was escorted straight to the principal’s office. At another, a guard intercepted him outside the building and asked for identification.

But in New York City, Jonathan Vigliotti of WNBC was able to walk in to seven out of 10 schools without being challenged. “I had a harder time getting into my friend’s apartment building,” said Vigliotti.

At one school he was able to bypass the metal detector, roam the hallways, and enter a gym full of kids. Approached later, the guard at the metal detector was surprised to learn Vigliotti hadn’t signed in. “Wow,” said the guard. “I thought you were a teacher.”

The New York City Police Department, which trains public school guards, said it would investigate after it was contacted by NBC.

Image: School security cameras, via Shutterstock

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