Columbine High Could Be Torn Down, District Blames ‘Morbid Fascination’ with 1999 Massacre

By Orion Donovan-Smith - Rep: June 12, 2019

For more than two decades since it entered the American lexicon, Columbine High School has stood on the same site in Littleton, Colo., mostly unchanged since the massacre that made it synonymous with school shootings. But now, the district is considering tearing down the school, citing overwhelming attention and concern that the site is influencing those who may become school shooters.

In a letter published during the first week of June, Jason E. Glass, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools, asked for the community’s feedback on a proposal to raze most of the existing school and build new facilities. On April 20, 1999, two Columbine seniors killed 13 people and wounded 21 in an event that Glass called “a point of origin for this contagion of school shootings.”...

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Commentary

The Case for Federal Funding for School Infrastructure

By Laura Jimenez, Center for American Progress - February 24, 2019

America’s infrastructure is falling apart. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recently estimated that it would take a $4.5 trillion investment to upgrade the country’s roads; buildings; transportation, water, and energy systems; and other essential underpinnings. The ASCE has graded the country’s infrastructure as an overall D+. Infrastructure is the backbone of the U.S. economy, and the lack of investment in transportation infrastructure alone will cost the country $340 billion in lost business revenues from 2017 to 2023. While most infrastructure discussions consider transportation, energy, and more, they too often ignore K-12 public schools, which welcome more than 50 million children and adults every day. K-12 public schools represent the nation’s second-largest infrastructure sector...

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Protecting Students from Gun Violence

Does "Target Hardening" Do More Harm Than Good?

By Bryan R. Warnick and Ryan Kapa - February 24, 2019

When confronted with the horror of school shootings, we face a dilemma. Naturally, we are deeply troubled by such incidents. The tragedies are so sad and profound-for the families, the schools, the surrounding communities, and the nation as a whole-that it is difficult to ignore these events as statistical white noise. Yet from a rational perspective, we need to recognize that schools, on the whole, are extremely safe places for young people. A joint report from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Department of Education concluded that children and youth were 87 times more likely to die by murder or suicide outside of school than in it (see Figures 1 and 2).

How do we weigh our awareness of the overall safe character of U.S. schools against the compelling desire to prevent more school shootings if at all possible? How do we find balance between these two perspectives? In our view, achieving such a balance means taking rational and effective actions to prevent school shootings while also being cautious not to sacrifice educational goals or the school climate for the sake of exaggerated safety concerns...

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“School Hardening” Not Making Students Safer, Say Experts

By Tim Walker, National Education Association - February 24, 2019

It may be no surprise that 2018 was the worst year on record for school shootings. According to federal data, there were 94 gun incidents at U.S. schools last year. That’s an increase of almost 60% over the previous high, recorded in 2016.

One of those incidents of course was the horrific shooting on Feb. 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students and staff members. This attack – and the many school shootings that followed – galvanized a long-dormant national debate over gun violence. Students mobilized across the country, demanding elected officials step up and fix the nation’s lax gun laws...

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ACSA Launches Fatal School Violence Toolkit, with Checklist of Things To Do Before, During and After an Incident

November 1, 2018

The first priority of educators nationwide is to provide a healthy and safe school environment for all students and staff. ACSA has taken a proactive role in school safety with the creation of the Fatal School Violence Toolkit.

“We believe there is a need to have serious discussions about school safety,” said ACSA President Holly Edds. “With regard to school violence and threats, we are facing new challenges every day, and we’ve built this toolkit to include resources designed to save lives.”...

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With Students, Parents Worried About Recent Shootings, School Safety Becomes a Team Effort

November 1, 2018
By Tom Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association

As the academic year proceeds, students and their families may find themselves concerned about the safety of their schools. After 22 school shootings in the first half of 2018 alone, their worry is reasonable.

The National School Boards Association believes that the federal government has a role to play in providing resources to promote local school safety. These include school resource officers, school counseling, emergency preparedness and response training, interagency coordination and comprehensive resource guides on available federal assistance. We also support greater, sustained federal funding that expands access to mental health resources...

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Next Governor Urged to Release $7 Billion in School Facilities Funding

August 22, 2018

California students are going back to school this week and, unfortunately, many will be returning to inadequate school facilities. In 2016, California voters approved $7 billion in facility bond funds to address this issue and repair, upgrade and modernize California schools. Two years later, the state is holding on to those funds, instead of releasing the money so it can be used to improve school environments and optimize student learning.

The California School Boards Association wrote the following open letter to California’s gubernatorial candidates asking them to release the full $7 billion in school facilities funds when they take office so schools can better meet the needs of California’s students. The letter appeared in today's editions of the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Diego Union Tribune, and the Bay Area News Group newspapers, including the East Bay Times, Marin Independent Journal and the San Jose Mercury News...

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State Allocation Board Defers Action on Proposal to Cease Accepting Applications Once Bond Authority Has Been Exhausted

June 29, 2018

On June 28, the State Allocation Board (Board) deferred action on a proposed regulation to cease accepting applications once bond authority has been exhausted. Approval of this proposal would essentially eliminate the School Facility Program (SFP) for projects outside of Proposition 51 bond authority. New Construction Proposition 51 bond authority is expected to be exhausted by October 2018, and Modernization bond authority is expected to be exhausted by September 2019.

California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH) urged the Board to defer action and to thoroughly vet the proposal and its significant impacts. Chair Jacqueline Wong-Hernandez stated that she would like the proposal to come back before the Board in August 2018, and indicated that she intends to involve stakeholders in the review process...

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CDE Reminds Schools to Update School Safety Plans

March 9, 2018

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced on March 2 that the California Department of Education is taking a new step to help ensure student safety by auditing comprehensive school safety plans that are required of all schools by Education Code 32280-32288. The state compliance audit requirement will begin in the 2018-2019 school year.

Local school districts must approve safety plans for all schools in its district by March 1 of each year. School safety plans are mandatory and help ensure that schools are as prepared as possible for emergencies and also maintain safe and secure learning environments...

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Solar Capacity at Schools Has Nearly Doubled Nationwide Within Last Three Years

December 4, 2017

With installation costs plummeting, American schools are switching to solar energy at a rapid pace, reducing their electricity bills and freeing up resources to invest in education. There are now 5,489 K-12 schools in the United States that use solar energy, nearly double the total solar capacity that was installed at schools in 2014, according to a new report by The Solar Foundation, Generation 180, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

The dramatic growth in solar school adoption has been driven by rapidly declining installation costs. The average price of a solar school installation has dropped 67 percent in the last 10 years, and 19 percent in 2016 alone, this report found...

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