On Friday afternoon I was over at the McDonalds on Mercer Island to get some basic take out of a classic chicken burger.
The McDonalds has a newspaper rack and someone, for no known reason, had pulled away the first section and left exposed the front page of the local section, if I remember right. I do not always check the Seattle times for news, but given that I was waiting for my chicken burger, I did look at the headlines that were visible.
Maybe God or an angel led some previous customer to leave the newspaper that way for me to see when I would be getting my chicken burger, so as to agitate me a bit with the story of a Seattle high school teacher who disregarded a death and shooting threat. At least, I did not see such news in the online seattlepi and komonews I read every day.
And within the Seattle times on Friday, there was an article about a threat to shoot in a school, in which
1) the student reported the threat to a teacher, who then laughed off the threat and did nothing;
2) the student made a 2nd report to another teacher of a 2nd incident who then did in fact report the threat to law enforcement;
3) the newspaper article says that they have no clear idea what idea as to the fate or discipline, if any, of the 1st of the teachers who declined to properly report the threat.
We would hope that no teachers on MI, or no teachers at RHS, or anywhere in Washington state or the USA or anywhere in the world, would make such a bad mistake as failure to report such a threat.
However, despite such a hope, at least one teacher has made that error and there are probably others who have made that error and other similar errors in the past.
A person who searches for Scott Israel and biographical information finds that he has a saying that great and important success will be found in arresting as few kids as possible. The statement he made is up and was made before the Parkland shootings, and now, it appears that no one of his office or staff has realized how poorly it will look when some media person questions him about his expressed desire and how it would fit with conduct with a dangerous person such as Nikolas Cruz.
Garfield high school, the site of the alleged failure to report by a teacher who had a responsibility to report, probably has some students of various races . . . and conceivably there are teachers or other students who, perhaps based on a racial protection idea, desire to not report certain crimes. Whether that was a motivating factor in failure to report, we do not know.
In any case, I would suggest that it would behoove every school and every school district to ensure that the teachers and staff regard certain crimes as being subject to mandatory reporting. If we were part of the legislature, in fact, they should be changed to be made a subject of “mandatory reporting”–but none of us are part of the legislature. And among the crimes of kids subject to mandatory reporting is threatening individuals with guns, in person, by brandishing or assault, or with threats of gunfire at school in the future. How obvious could it be?
In fact, bored reporters should ask the legislature and the Seattle school district leadership how it is that such a crime, allegedly done in Garfield high school, was not regarded as the subject of “mandatory reporting” and why the teacher in Garfield is not being investigated. You folks will investigate and charge a doctor, nurse or counselour for failure to report suspicions of sexual abuse . . . but there is no law requiring teachers or staff to report actual, credible death threats made against persons in the school? Really? And one or more Seattle school teachers laugh off death threats?
Why is a death threat or a shooting threat, when known to a teacher or school staff, not a subject of “mandatory reporting?”
I will email or call persons in the Washington state legislature to find out why death threats and shooting threats, when reported to teachers and staff in schools, are not subject to mandatory reporting. Maybe the legislature thought it would be so obvious that no sane person would ever fail to report it . . . but, now, every time I meet or encounter a member of the legislature, until it is resolved, I shall inquire about “mandatory reporting to police” of death threats and shooting threats made in schools or persons known to be students or teachers.
Students are on the front line in terms of stopping school shootings. Not because they can take down a shooter who has arrived at the school with a weapon (at least, not usually), but because the vast majority of the school shooters let 1 or more other people know in advance of his plans.
There is the group called Sandyhookpromise and they have a website sandyhookpromise.org. This group and site were created by a woman who lost a child at Sandy Hook. I don’t know all of the proposals of this group, or whether they are good or bad, but this lady’s website does have a nice summary of some statistics which are useful for people such as you for reflection on policy.
If you go to “sandyhookpromise.org” and then click on get the facts, you will be able to download a basic fact sheet of several pages. According to the “sandy hook promise” fact sheet, in 80% of school shootings at least one other person, other than the shooter, knew of the plans to shoot at the school.
Therefore, to reduce school shootings, the kids must be encouraged to report on their friends, acquaintances and classmates all such threats and teachers and staff must regard such threats as a topic of mandatory reporting if the report is credible, and not an obvious fabrication . . .
Moreover, any given kid/student who reports the threat, if he sees that nothing is done or if he has reason to believe that nothing has been done, should take action to ensure that police know of the threat. That could mean either a personal and direct call to police by the student or that could mean reporting the threat to a 2nd teacher or that could mean, consulting with the first person to take the report of threat to find out what action was taken.
Kids certainly know how to call 911 on a cell phone of theirs, the cell phone of a friend or their phone at home. If the kid sees no action being taken, the kid needs to dial 911 on his cell phone or at the earliest convenient opportunity. Kids should know that teachers and staff are not infallible and that teachers and staff can in fact make the error of failure to report and failure to act, or so I believe, though it may be unpleasant to tell kids that teachers or staff might make errors on such a matter as a death threat made against a person or persons within a school. Who could believe that teachers would make the error of not reporting such a thing? Yet, it is in yesterday’s Seattle Times . . . and I have not even thought about visiting the Seattle school board to complain about such idiotic behavior on the part of a teacher hearing a death threat. Wow . . . I might be a bit more passionate than usual . . .
We can suppose that there is no need to have any additional school staff or school boards become nervous or agitated about my visits . . . but . . . do you folks not agree that it is quite a bit strange and very irresponsible for a teacher in a school to not report a death threat by means of shooting at school?
If you folks have a ERPO law–as we do in Washington–and if the kids themselves report classmates and acquaintances . . . and if they take appropriate action in the absence of the action by teachers or staff . . . and if school districts regard the crime of threatening to shoot up a school, or an individual within a school, as a matter of mandatory reporting, then,
many school shootings would be and will be stopped before they begin.
Oh, erpo is the acronym for extreme risk protection order. Some form of this law exists in about 5 states and is now being proposed in a party different form with a slightly different name in Florida by Rick Scott.
I have written you folks several posts on the topic of security dogs. Today on foxnews there was the story of the German Shepherd here in Washington state who took several bullets while his owner or master was in the closet and there was an evil home-invader.
The news now is that it was not just 1 officer who declined to enter the shooting scene, but now it is being alleged that there were 3 or 4 officers in the Parkland situation who intentionally declined to enter, confront and kill the gunman, while waiting for even more backup to arrive.
This high school had reportedly more than 3000 students. The school admin or the local police who supply the school resource officers should have had a conversation with school admin and said, “Based on this size school and our budget, we need and want to have 2 or 3 or 5 security dogs.”
One guy such as Cruz and 3 to 5 security dogs . . . would Cruz even have wanted to try?
I do not claim that security dogs in schools are the complete solution . . . They will not prevent or stop every shooting. However, security dogs at Parkland would have done what officers did not and would not.
If Parkland had 3500 students, and if they had an income to pay for them of $20,000 per student per year, that would have been $70 million dollars per year as a budget, but maybe I or google has goofed with the numbers of zeros.
Here on Mercer Island there are supposedly about 1600 students in the high school. 1600 times $20000 per year comes to about a bit more than $30 million per year. Maybe I am missing some part of the math or the zeros. With a budget of $30 million a year or with a budget of $70 million a year, someone should sit down and figure out if the cost of 1 or 2 or 3 security dogs fits into that budget. If so, how many would you like to have?
The dog will be happy to take down an aggressor without regard to their own safety. The dogs move at 30 mph; these dogs are on video leaping over cars to attack aggressors and they can be and are trained to distinguish between aggressors and ordinary persons.
At some point when I am speaking with some police person or some legislator, I will ask about a person falling through cracks, by means of the state having an erpo law, but police not getting an erpo while the guy does not have a firearm, and his later going to purchase one. In addition to an erpo law or a red flag law, I believe the same procedure or criteria need to be evaluated or exercised, for purchases.
By the way, although the NRA is seemingly opposed to erpo or red flag laws, and though Lars Larson is convinced that they won’t work constitutionally . . . and though John Carlson the talk show host seems to not realize he was advocating for a process that already exists in the law . . .
At the President’s 2nd listening session there was Curtis Hill the AG of Indiana and a Republican who said he had just made sure that all the law enforcement people in his state knew the Indiana red flag law.
It seems to me to be crazy obfuscation on the part of the more extreme right wing, to avoid the fact that a red flag law or erpo is a reasonable and necessary idea . . . Apparently the “far far right” is unaware of what the regular right such as Curtis Hill advocates and what we have anyway, already, in Washington.