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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Monday, October 21st, 2013
Two people are dead and two minors are hospitalized in critical condition after a shooting at a Nevada middle school Monday morning, school officials have told news agencies. CNN has more on the developing story:
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Sparks Middle School, outside Reno, remains an active crime scene, school officials said in a Twitter post.
Two minors are in critical condition at Renown Regional Medical Center after the shooting, a hospital spokeswoman said.
Authorities released few details about the incident, but city officials said in a statement that the suspect was “neutralized.”
“Law enforcement assures that the school and community are secured at this time,” the statement said.
City officials said authorities received emergency calls from students and staff at the school about 7:15 a.m. about an active shooter on campus.
Authorities said students were being taken to a nearby high school to meet their parents. School was canceled for the day at Sparks Middle School and nearby Agnes Risley Elementary, officials said.
“I was deeply saddened to learn of the horrific shooting at Sparks Middle School this morning,” Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval said in a statement.
Wednesday, October 16th, 2013
An elementary school in Nashua, New Hampshire has banned the classic recess game of tag, citing some injuries that have happened at the school after kids have tagged each other too forcefully. More from Reuters:
“The other issue with tag is that students are running and not paying attention to where they are going,” Patricia Beaulieu, principal of the Charlotte Avenue Elementary School in Nashua, said in a notice on the school’s website.
The action, which followed several playground injuries attributed to the game, was criticized by some parents.
“Tag is one of the oldest playground games anywhere,” Bill Chisholm, 43, told Nashua’s Telegraph newspaper. “To ban tag is just ridiculous.”
Plus: Find great educational toys at Shop Parents, or use our free Activity Finder for ideas on how to keep your kids active and entertained.
Image: Empty playground swings, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, October 10th, 2013
A group of Malibu, California teachers are alleging that a number of chronic health issues they’re suffering from, including asthma and migraine headaches, are the result of poor building conditions at their schools. More from CNN.com:
A group of [high school junior Nicholas] Wiseman’s teachers at Malibu High School sent a letter to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s risk manager on October 4, complaining about a variety of illnesses. They suspect their working environment is at fault, but administrators say they are still investigating, and some experts are skeptical.
“At this point, there is nothing to let people know, other than employees had health concerns,” Sandra Lyon, the district superintendent, told CNN Newsource affiliate KCAL/KCBS. “We don’t have any evidence whatsoever that there is any contaminant, any issue in or around that building.”
The letter says the teachers “are extremely concerned about their health and safety.” Three teachers at the school have been diagnosed with stage 1 thyroid cancer in the past six months. Some seven teachers complained about migraines. The letter says the teachers who are sick work primarily in the main middle school building (the school services grades 6 through 12), the music and drama building, the visual arts building and in the school’s theater.
When one teacher moved to another building, her migraines got better, the letter states.
Another teacher who moved from one of the suspected buildings stopped getting a rash she’d been suffering from for four years.
The letter publicly requests environmental tests be done at the school and asks the district to make those test results public.
Image: Teacher with a headache, via Shutterstock
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