School Resource Officers, “pillars of the community”

Just a few news articles about school resource officers over the past couple weeks.

9/23/2019 – Florida school resource officer arrests, handcuffs 6-year-old girl
School resource officer fired after arresting 6-year-olds(“She was having a tantrum,” so apparently police were called in. Their hands were bound with zip ties, they were fingerprinted and charged with battery. But the officer was fired, so I guess all’s well that ends well, right?)

9/24/2019 – School resource officer faces charge after student said he choked him (A Mississippi SRO was placed on administrative leave. The student says he was pushed into the ladies’ restroom and choked. The SRO insists it’s all a lie. Witnesses, including two teachers, corroborate the student’s story.)

9/26/2019 – Alabama grandmother alleges SRO harassed middle school student (An SRO approached a group of children in the lunch room and asked “Which one of y’all’s daddies have I not arrested yet?” When a girl responded that her father hadn’t been arrested, the SRO responded with, “That’s because you don’t know who your daddy is.” This officer has an apparent history of harassing students, yet he remains on duty.)

10/1/2019 – Lawsuit alleges disabled Parma student was sprayed with drink by school resource officer prior to suspension (Ohio parents filing the lawsuit claim they have audio proving the SRO sprayed the child with a juice box as they waited for the principal. They are also claiming discrimination – the student is American, but of Arab descent. Many of these incidents involving SRO’s are allegedly racially motivated.)

10/4/2019 – Jasper Middle School resource officer resigns after probe into texts with students (The Tennessee SRO resigned even though there was found to be “nothing inappropriate” about texting middle school students at all hours of the day and night.)

10/4/2019 – School resource officer sentenced to 1 year in jail for sexually assaulting 3 high school students (A Michigan SRO pleaded no contest to charges such as criminal sexual assault of a minor, assault, and misconduct in office. One of his victims had aspirations of becoming a police officer. Now she is scarred for life. He gets a whopping year in prison.)

This woman gets it. Her article about the need to eliminate school resource officers is spot on, and advocates for the students SRO’s do not. Schools infringe on civil liberties as they are, but school resource officers only compound the issue.

Caught on video: student resource officer chokes, handcuffs high school student

handcuffs

Student resource officers are little more than glorified CO’s at the prison that is public school. While supposedly intended to promote good relations between inner city and low-income students and police officers (assuming that they are destined to deal with them regularly in the future?), these officers regularly abuse their positions, and children have little to no rights when it comes to dealing with them.

This time, it was all captured on a cell phone camera, the video taken once things became violent. A’kayla Johnson spoke about the incident with reporters, saying, “He choked me and drug me in the hallway. I couldn’t breathe while he was choking me.”

Bobby Burnett, the officer in question, is a former chief of police who was fired from that job, and wound up working at the school. He “detained” Miss Johnson apparently because she was loitering on Brinkley High School property after hours, even after she attempted to explain she was waiting for a ride home.

Johnson is now reportedly afraid to come back to school and wishes for the resource officer to be punished. School officials are, as usual, “looking into the incident,” and assure parents the district is just as concerned as they are.

Brinkley Public Schools serves 534 students in two schools in Brinkley, Arkansas. Over 65% of its students are ethnic minorities, and it is well below the state average for reading and math test scores. Brinkley is the same school district that just last month sent out a letter to parents telling them of a reported gun on one of their school buses, so maybe they feel a real need for police presence.

VIDEO: Mid-South high school student choked, handcuff by student resource officer

Brinkley School District – Public School Review

 

Scabies infestation in Virginia school district

scabies
source: Corbis

At least eight cases of scabies have been confirmed among students within Cumberland School District in Virginia – six at the local elementary school, and two at the middle school. While assistant superintendent Elizabeth Jamerson insisted as recently as October 3 that the incident was isolated to the elementary school, reports surfaced just a few days later of there being cases over at least two schools within the district.

Extra staff were brought in to clean the known-to-be-infested schools, and students were sent home with scabies facts sheets (linked below) from the Virginia Department of Health. Superintendent Amy Griffin posted a cell phone video on the district website addressing parental concerns and assuring them the schools and buses would be cleaned over the next 12 weeks. She urged parents to “do their part” to prevent the spread of the disease, including practicing good hygiene and keeping any children presenting symptoms at home.

Scabies is a contagious skin infection caused by a mite that burrows into the skin. It is most often passed through prolonged (10+ minutes) contact with the skin of another person, through close living conditions and/or sex. High incidence has been reported in places such as daycare facilities and prisons (school is, arguably, both). Symptoms of scabies usually don’t present themselves until between two and six weeks after infection, so it’s safe to say more cases will be reported before all’s said and done.

Cumberland County Public Schools serves 1,364 students in grades PK, K-12 in three schools, and according to Niche, scores at a B or below for everything but diversity. Over 65% of the student population receives free or reduced lunch.

Several cases of scabies confirmed at Cumberland school

Scabies infestation spreads at Cumberland Schools

Multiple confirmed cases of scabies at Cumberland County Schools

Scabies Fact Sheet – Virginia Department of Health

HEALTH UPDATE FROM DR. AMY GRIFFIN – Cumberland County Public Schools

Cumberland County Public Schools – Virginia – Niche

School administrator pulls gun on staff

auroraprep

Aurora, Colorado: home to the 2012 movie theater mass shooting that left a city, and a nation, in mourning, once again questioning what the Second Amendment means and how it should be implemented; now also home to Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, where an administrator brandished a gun at a staff meeting on Wednesday, threatening fellow employees at the school.

Tushar Rae, Dean of Instruction at the school, was arrested Wednesday on charges of bringing a concealed weapon to school and making violent threats. An arrest affidavit filed in district court says Rae took a gun from his waistband during a meeting with principal Taisiya Tselolikhin (say that name three times, fast) earlier that day, placed it on a table between them and threatened to shoot two school administrators.

The altercation apparently had something to do with test scores, and subsequently prompted a lockdown of the school while Rae left the premises – he was later arrested at his home.

A letter to families, which follows below, was made available in both English and Spanish via email and the school website. As usual, vagueness was the order of the day.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE AURORA WEST LOCKDOWN

APS Community:

I know that many of you may have questions about the lockdown that occurred at Aurora West College Preparatory Academy on Wednesday. First off, I want to thank the students and staff at AWCPA for following our safety and security protocols seamlessly. I also want to thank parents at AWCPA for their patience and support. Safety is our top priority.

We acknowledge that many of you have questions and may be frustrated. Please know that this is both an ongoing criminal investigation and personnel matter. We have many limitations we must adhere to in order to respect both processes.

During emergencies, we understand the urgent and important need to communicate with our community. Please know that we always work to share information that is timely, accurate and actionable through phone calls, emails and text messages. We cannot share information that is not confirmed, information that would compromise an ongoing criminal investigation or protected personnel information.

We have been working closely with the Aurora Police Department, Denver Police Department and other law enforcement agencies as their criminal investigation continues. Our focus remains on providing as much support to our students, staff and community as possible.

Many of you may be seeing media reports that have raised concerns. APS staff have met with AWCPA staff, students and families to address concerns. We appreciate the opportunities we have had to talk with the school community throughout this week.

We know that this event has been upsetting for students and staff. We have had and will continue to have counselors available for those who need support. Counselors will continue to be available at Aurora West on Monday and throughout next week.

I would like to thank the AWCPA family for your vigilance, teamwork and support. It has been an extremely tough week and we will continue to work together to heal, support our students and each other.  

Rico Munn
Superintendent
Aurora Public Schools

Aurora West College Preparatory Academy, located just 15 minutes from where the mass shooting in 2012 that left 12 people dead and 70 injured, has a 3/10 rating on GreatSchools, citing low test scores (in some cases as low as 2% passing — far below state averages) and poor college readiness – proof, I think, that a fancy-sounding school name is not enough to get prepare youth for college. The school also boasts a 95% minority student population.

Educator accused of taking gun to school, threatening staff

GreatSchools – Aurora West College Preparatory Academy

Dean at Aurora West College Preparatory Academy arrested after lockdown

Aurora West Preparatory Academy – Official Website

Teacher forces student to wipe off Ash Wednesday cross

ashwednesday
@artz on UnSplash

Bountiful, Utah, situated less than a half hour north of Salt Lake City, is the state’s 15th largest city. Its residents primarily belong to a Christian sect known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and are often collectively referred to as Mormons. There was, however, no Christian understanding for a fourth grade boy who was forced by his teacher to wipe off his Ash Wednesday cross yesterday.

“I’m Catholic. It’s the first day of Lent. It’s Ash Wednesday,” William McLeod told his friends when they asked what was on his forehead. As one of the few observant Catholics at Valley View Elementary in Bountiful, McLeod said he was the only one who came to school that day with ashes. Apparently, it was too much for his classroom teacher, who later approached him and asked him to remove the religious symbol. He tried to explain his reasons for keeping it, to no avail. McLeod informed his family when he returned home, and they approached the teacher, citing the boy’s First Amendment rights (which are notoriously infringed upon in public schools). The teacher claimed to have never read the Constitution.

Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams apologized, as did the unnamed teacher – the latter, with a handwritten note and candy (interesting to note: many Catholics give up something for the 40 days of Lent, and candy is a common sacrifice). The teacher may face disciplinary action.

If schools in a conservative state like Utah can’t seem to honor people’s religious beliefs (especially when those beliefs are Christian), what hope do more liberal states have? The pressure to keep schools as secular as possible (though, some will argue, the push has more to do with keeping Christianity out of schools, not other religions) has some teachers acting in ways they might not otherwise have thought wise.

Utah teacher forced student to wash off Ash Wednesday cross on forehead, family says

Utah teacher forced student to wash Ash Wednesday cross off his forehead

 

Middle school students threaten to shoot teacher and her family

southwoodmiddleschoolshooter.png

A teacher is sleeping a little easier tonight now two of her students at Southwood Middle School in Palmetto Bay, Florida were arrested Sunday after they threatened, via Instagram, to kill her and her children on Valentine’s Day. The news comes as Florida mourns the anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

 

The victim, a 36-year-old teacher who by many accounts is beloved by her students, was told “You and your children are next on Valentine’s Day for making my life I’m finna kill all yo family and shoot up yo bitch ass school.”  They also brought to her attention a picture of her infant daughter. The woman, fearing for her life and that of her family, contacted police, who were able to trace the bogus social media account account (appropriately-named, and very indicative of the young children who created it, “Southwood School Shooter”) and arrest a 13-year-old child, who then implicated his 12-year-old friend as an accomplice. Both boys confessed and were charged with Aggravated Stalking and Written Threats To Kill or do Bodily Injury and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools issued the following statement through their Superintendent, Alberto Carvalho:

“Recent arrests of students for hoax social media threats demonstrate clearly and unequivocally that Miami-Dade County Public Schools has a zero-tolerance policy related to this type of activity. Parents and students must understand that any threat – real or fabricated – to schools and students is a serious matter. It is unacceptable and those involved in such activity will be prosecuted. Prank and hoax threats made against a school are counterproductive to the life-saving work of law enforcement and compromise the safety of everyone.”

Televised interviews show parents who seem content to believe that the district has done enough to keep their children safe, and that they do an adequate job of communicating all of the potential threats in their schools to families. Some believe it’s not that serious because it’s “most likely” just a hoax, anyway.

DCPS states they’ve received 60 threats to their schools in 2019, and 12 of them have resulted in arrests.

Southwood Middle School is the site of a fatal stabbing that took place in 2004, when Michael Hernandez murdered classmate Jaime Gough, earning him a life sentence. Both victim and perpetrator were 14.

Today, the school boasts a positive report on GoodSchools.Org, with above average test scores in the state for both reading and math, as well as a decent representation of ethnicities among the student population. Southwood serves approximately 1500 students in grades 6 through 8.

2 Southwood Middle School students accused of threatening to shoot teacher

Two Southwood Middle School Students Arrested For Threatening To Shoot Up School, Kill Teacher

Southwood Middle Students Threaten to Kill Teacher on Valentine’s Day

Press Release – Hoax Threat to M-DCPS School Results in Arrests

‘You and your children are next on Valentine’s Day.’ Boys threaten teacher, police say.

(2016 article) Student who stabbed classmate to death at Southwood Middle returns to court for sentencing

Southwood Middle School Center for the Arts

GreatSchools.Org – Southwood Middle School

Teen steals, then runs over accuser

thousandoakshs

A 16-year-old boy was arrested after he allegedly ran over a woman with his car after she accused him of stealing, leaving the victim in critical condition.

Some articles said she confronted him about stealing candy or “packaged food items,” while others assert it was money that was pilfered. Either way, the incident took place in Thousand Oaks High School in Thousand Oaks, California, during a basketball game last Friday evening. Lisa Solis, an activities assistant at the school, witnessed the teen stealing from a concession stand at the event, and confronted him about it when he fled outside to a Mercedes Benz sedan in the parking lot along with four of his friends. Solis stood in front of the car to prevent him from leaving when he decided it’d be a good to idea to not only use the car to knock her to the ground, but run over her as he left the scene. She was subsequently rushed to the hospital, and police quickly caught up with the unnamed teen, who was taken into custody on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, and booked at Ventura County’s Juvenile Justice Center.

Solis remains in critical condition with extensive injuries, including bleeding on the brain, broken ribs and collar bone, punctures in both lungs, and a broken jaw. Her family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical bills.

Thousand Oaks High School is part of Conejo Valley Unified School District and serves approximately 2300 students in grades 9 through 12. Nestled in an affluent, primarily-white neighborhood where homes regularly sell for well over half a million dollars, the school boasts a 98% graduation rate, and above average performance on standardized tests, as well as an elevated SAT college readiness rate. A student reports via GreatSchools.org that minorities receive a great deal of bullying within the school. This is a perfect example of the school construct itself breeding criminal activity, and not merely culture or socioeconomic status. A spoiled rich kid deliberately ran over a school employee in his Mercedes, while his friends laughed in the back seat. This isn’t a blog about white privilege, but one cannot help but draw those parallels. Still, one only needs to look at prisons throughout the world, in every location, housing people from every walk of life, to see that crime begets crime, criminals come from anywhere, and concentrating them into as unnatural of circumstances as prisons (or schools) serves as a detriment to those there that aren’t a threat to society. They just get caught in the crossfire.

Teen arrested after hit-run leaves Thousand Oaks school employee in critical condition

Teen suspected of deliberately running over a Thousand Oaks High assistant is arrested

Teen intentionally ran over woman at Thousand Oaks High School, authorities say

California teen runs over woman with car after she confronts him about stealing at high school: officials

GreatSchools.Org – Thousand Oaks High School

Thousand Oaks, CA Real Estate – Realtor.com

Conejo Valley United School District – Thousand Oaks High School

#stayingstrongforlisa – GoFundMe Page for Lisa Solis