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
Add a Comment
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
Amid the tragic stories that emerged following the tornado that devastated the town of Moore, Oklahoma on Monday afternoon were a number of heroic tales of teachers comforting and protecting their students at great personal risk during the terrifying storm. CNN reports on Plaza Towers Elementary School, which suffered the loss of 7 students:
“It was scary,” student Julio Rodriguez told CNN. Teachers instructed the kids to crouch down, “and you covered your head with your hands,” he demonstrated.
The school quickly became the epicenter of the tragedy in this shattered town, part of the metropolitan Oklahoma City area.
First responders and volunteers rushed to the scene to begin the treacherous work of searching for survivors.
“We had to pull a car off a teacher and she had three little kids underneath her,” one first responder, in tears, told KFOR. “Good job, teach.”
“I was on top of six kids,” one sixth grade teacher said, working her way across the rubble. “I was lying on top. All of mine are OK.”
Teachers helped tear through several feet of rubble to rescue sobbing students, some of them injured.
Rescue teams successfully pulled several kids from the leveled school.
But with each passing hour, the hope began to fade.
Crews continued their search around the clock, rummaging through nearly 40 feet of rubble, CNN affiliate KOKH reported.
Some students were fortunate — they got out of the school before the tornado struck.
Officials had managed to bus some children to a nearby church, which turned out to be clear of the tornado’s direct path, KFOR reported.
Add a Comment
Monday, April 15th, 2013
An upstate New York state school district has apologized after a high school teacher gave his English class an assignment in which students were asked to write from the perspective of Nazis, arguing that Jews are “evil” and the source of the German government’s problems. More from CNN:
The assignment from the unidentified teacher was designed to flex students’ “persuasive writing” skills.
But Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, superintendent of the City School District of Albany, called the assignment “completely unacceptable.”
“It displayed a level of insensitivity that we absolutely will not tolerate in our school community,” Wyngaard said, “I am deeply apologetic to all of our students, all of our families and the entire community.”
She told the Albany Times Union newspaper that one-third of the students refused to complete the work.
The teacher has not been in school since the district learned of the assignment.
The school district is considering disciplinary action, according to Ron Lesko, director of communications. Options include termination, but no decision has been made, Lesko said.
In the assignment, students were to pretend the educator was a member of the Nazi government.
“You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!” the teacher’s assignment sheet said.
The assignment reiterated, “You do not have a choice in your position.”
Image: High school students writing, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Thursday, December 20th, 2012
School officials across the country are contemplating the horrific events of last week’s shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut and asking the question, how can we keep our schools safe? Parents tend to have very strong opinions on the broader question of whether teachers should ever be armed. But a more measured question–whether schools should hire armed security guards–is capturing more attention as the days unfold. The debate is playing out across social media, across dinner tables, and, as The New York Times reports, among school board members nationwide:
“Across the country, some 23,200 schools — about one-third of all public schools — had armed security staff in the 2009-10 school year, the most recent year for which data are available.
Now, in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, school officials across the nation are reviewing security protocols, including lockdown drills and building entry procedures, but also whether to hire more armed guards.
These questions arise amid a broader political and societal debate about gun control. While some people view the prospect of bringing additional guns into schools as fueling a culture of violence, others say children need the protection.
On Sunday, a former education secretary, William J. Bennett, indicated on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he would support such measures. “I’m not so sure I wouldn’t want one person in a school armed, ready for this kind of thing,” said Mr. Bennett, who served under President Ronald Reagan.
With national sentiment starting to move in favor of stricter gun laws, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan vetoed a bill on Tuesday that state lawmakers had passed just a day before the shootings in Newtown, allowing registered gun owners to carry concealed weapons in schools. But also on Tuesday, a legislator in South Carolina introduced a similar bill that would allow school employees to carry guns in schools.
The question of whether to place trained security guards with guns in schools is left up to local districts. These officers are charged with protecting students not just from intruders but also from each other. They often conduct classes in preventing gang violence or bullying, as well as handle more prosaic tasks like issuing traffic tickets.
According to the Council of the Great City Schools, cities including Albuquerque, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and St. Louis have armed officers in schools, either contracting with local police forces or recruiting their own dedicated security staff. Other cities, including Boston and New York, place unarmed security officers in schools. Sandy Hook Elementary did not have a security guard on campus.”
Image: School hallway, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
The heroes of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were, everyone agrees, the teachers, many of whom gave their lives in efforts to protect their students. The story of kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer and first-grade teacher Kristen Roig, who survived the attacks, are among the inspiring stories. From CNN:
Kindergarten teacher Janet Vollmer knows at least half of the killed children.
“Ten of them were in my class last year,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Sunday. “It’s tough. It’s tough.”
When the shots rang out, Vollmer locked her classroom door, covered the windows, including the one in the door, then took the children into a nook between bookcases and a wall.
She read them a story to keep them calm.
“They kept saying ‘How come we’re here for so long?’ ‘Well, it will be a little longer.’ ” she answered. “When they’re 5, you do whatever you can to keep them safe and keep them calm.”
“We’re going to be safe,” Vollmer told them, “because we’re sitting over here and we’re all together.”
First-grade teacher Kristen Roig herded her students into a bathroom, locked the door and told them not to make a peep.
They got impatient, antsy, wanted someone to go out and see what was happening. No, she told them. She was afraid they would all die.
“If they started crying, I would take their face and tell them, ‘It’s going to be OK.’ I wanted that to be the last thing they heard,” she said, “not the gunfire in the hall.”
The wait dragged on, Vollmer said.
“Maybe it was 20 minutes, a half-hour; I’m not sure.”
Police knocked at the door to take them all out. They instructed her to have the schoolchildren hold hands and close their eyes.
“At 5, it’s not so easy to close your eyes and walk,” Vollmer said. “So I had them look toward the wall.” They all had to be brave.
For more on Parents.com about the Sandy Hook Tragedy, visit the following:
Add a Comment