Law enforcement authorities around the United States on Thursday were responding to a wave of bomb threats that demanded bitcoin and targeted schools, hospitals and businesses. In a statement released just after 3 p.m. ET, the FBI said it was "aware of the recent bomb threats made in cities around the country, and we remain in touch with our law enforcement partners to provide assistance." In New York City, Bronx Science said it evacuated its building at 11 a.m. after it received a bomb threat by phone. The school said students were "well supervised at neighboring schools." view article arw

The panel investigating the Florida high school massacre recommended Wednesday that teachers who volunteer and undergo extensive background checks and training be allowed to carry concealed guns on campus to stop future shootings. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission voted 13-1 to recommend the Legislature allow the arming of teachers, saying it's not enough to have one or two police officers or armed guards on campus. Florida law adopted after the Feb. 14 shooting that left 17 dead allows districts to arm non-teaching staff members such as principals, librarians and custodians — 13 of the 67 districts do, mostly in rural parts of the state. view article arw

As a state commission concluded that the police response to Florida’s deadliest school shooting was marred by mismanagement, prosecutors released official accounts Wednesday from the cops who plunged headfirst into the chaos. In their words: view article arw

Four unvaccinated children in Sarasota County — the county with the highest rate of kindergartners who have religious exemptions to attend school without meeting vaccination requirements — have been diagnosed with measles, the Florida Department of Health in Sarasota announced. According to the DOH, the Sarasota children, who have close contact to each other, were not vaccinated. view article arw

Preliminary results from an Austin ISD survey on the district's Human Sexuality and Responsibility curriculum were revealed last week. The survey, which was sent to parents, staff, and some high school students, asked respondents to assess whether and when topics are appropriate for K-8 students. For example: By eighth grade, students should be able to "explain the range of gender roles." Respondents indicate that topic should be taught in sixth, or seventh, or eighth grade – or all of the above. As of press time, 5,863 surveys had been tallied; including close to 4,700 from families (most with students in elementary schools), 496 from staff, and 526 from students. The survey divides topics into three grade-level groups (K-2, 3-5, and 6-8); in all of these, respondents broadly supported teaching "personal safety" (such as consent) and "healthy relationships" (such as respecting all types of families in all grades). However, only 46% felt third-graders should be taught that sexual orientation is defined as "romantic attraction" between an individual and "someone of the same gender or a different gender"; 31% said this information should be withheld until fifth grade. view article arw

During the upcoming 2019-20 school year, Pflugerville ISD will no longer subcontract its district police force through Pflugerville Police Department, according to a district news release. PfISD Police Chief Patrick Pehtherbridge was sworn in Dec. 11 as the first employee of the school district’s independent police force, according to the release. The ceremony marked the beginning of a transition away from the district’s current interlocal agreement with Pflugerville Police Department. Under that agreement, PfISD subcontracts police officers who are employees of PPD. view article arw

Twelve new automated external defibrillators units have been added to Lufkin ISD campuses. The AED units can be used by anyone to help someone who is experiencing cardiac arrest. "Looking at the layout of our facilities, we wanted to make sure that we had an AED access at every spot that we would have students, you know, practicing, participating in any UIL event,” said Lufkin ISD nurse Jan Fulbright. Wade Modisette, a Lufkin paramedic, said these easy-to-use devices are saving lives. view article arw

The Mineola ISD board of trustees approved the addition of one more armed officer to patrol their campus. He will start is new position in January, patrolling all four campuses. This comes after the board met with the community, and received feedback about the public's desire to increase safety measure on their campus.  view article arw

Opponents of East Central Independent School District’s proposal to train volunteer teachers and staff to carry firearms as a security precaution said say they are unsatisfied with the district’s attempts to provide information and avenues of input about it. At a tense meeting that featured skeptical public feedback, the district’s board last month postponed a vote on a version of the Guardian Plan, one of two state-approved options for arming school employees that lets school districts set their training standards. view article arw

In a unanimous decision earlier this month, the Brazos ISD school board authorized “certain trained and qualified employees to carry or possess firearms on campus.” The district has about 760 students from pre-K through high school and their campuses are in Fort Bend and Austin counties, but not within city limits, making them an extended distance from city police officers who could respond to a campus incident, said Superintendent Brian Thompson. view article arw

Police are investigating another incident where a student was followed by a suspicious person. Killeen ISD said that a Gateway High School student reported that when she was walking from her bus stop on Southern Belle Drive on Tuesday, a man driving a red pickup truck followed her and flashed money, asking her to get in the vehicle.  view article arw

College Station ISD says classes are proceeding as normal after they say a student from A&M Consolidated High School allegedly made a threat against other students. According to an email from AMCHS Principal Gwen Elder sent to parents, while in a social setting Tuesday night the student made a comment that was perceived as a threat by other students. The threat was reported to the College Station Police Department and then shared with AMCHS administration and the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office. view article arw

Killeen Independent School District parents and police on high alert after two girls say they were being followed from their bus stops. Both incidents reported in the last 24 hours. Police say the female students were followed as they were walking to their stops before and after school. One of the men even tried to bribe one of the girls with cash to get into their truck. view article arw

Lufkin ISD has added 12 new Automated External Defibrillators to their existing 22 AED units. The school district said they saw additional areas that needed to be covered throughout the the district. These units come with easy-to-follow, step-by-step voice instructions and can be used to provide emergency assistance until EMTs arrive. view article arw

More schools are placing technology in students hands to help them succeed. The iPads and Chromebooks help prepare students for the work force, but also force them to confront the dangers of the internet is well. Like most young people, Breshard Roberts and Vincson Haynes are always on their phones. “I have an iPhone and I have a game phone,” said Roberts. “A game phone is a regular phone but just with games on it.” The students have one phone for social media, a second phone for games and a Chromebook for academics assignments. view article arw

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — There were plenty of missteps in communication, security and school policy before and during the Florida high school massacre that allowed the gunman to kill 17 people. Now, the state commission investigating the shooting will consider a long list of recommendations addressing these problems statewide. The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission will consider proposals Wednesday and Thursday, including whether to arm trained, volunteer teachers; making it harder for outsiders to enter Florida's nearly 4,000 public schools; mandating armed security on all campuses with explicit orders to confront shooters; view article arw

Concerns over whether teachers should be carrying guns in schools have been an ongoing debate within the East Central Independent School District. At a school board meeting last month, board members delayed voting on a guardian-like program that would arm teachers. The decision was made after the board heard pleas from parents at that meeting asking for more time to understand what the program would entail. view article arw

The May school district and Brown County Sheriff’s Office are looking into a possible agreement between the two entities to hire a new sheriff’s deputy as a school resource officer for May schools. Sheriff Vance Hill told county commissioners Monday about the potential plan, in which the May school district would pay three-quarters of the total annual cost of $63,636 including benefits of hiring a new deputy for the role. Hill proposed that the sheriff’s office use the deputy on the streets in the summer months and pay the remainder of the new deputy’s salary and benefits, which would be just under $16,000. view article arw

Without a doubt, the most important achievement in human health was the discovery of vaccinations, starting with the smallpox vaccination in 1796, which saved the lives of millions of people around the world. Smallpox is now eradicated, and the deadly polio virus is virtually gone as well. Vaccinations became a widely accepted mainstay of public health generations ago after demonstrating their power to defeat infectious diseases that took their toll on children and society. Today, vaccinations are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics. view article arw

A search is underway for a man who reportedly tried to kidnap a Driscoll Middle School student earlier this morning. The student was walking to school earlier today when he says a man in a pickup truck approached him in the area of Leopard and Mueller streets. view article arw

Research cited by Sandy Hook Promise counted 94 incidents, a near 60% increase on the previous high, 59, set in 2006  This year has been by far the worst on record for gun violence in schools, the advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise said, citing research by the US Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). The NPS Center for Homeland Defense and Security counted 94 school shooting incidents in 2018, a near 60% increase on the previous high, 59, an unwanted record set in 2006. The NPS database goes back to 1970 and documents any instance in which a gun is “brandished, is fired, or a bullet hits school property for any reason”, regardless of the number of victims or the day of the week. view article arw

The WFISD Superintendent is now responding to a video, that allegedly shows a Barwise Middle School student being bullied that is drawing widespread comment on social media. It's unclear as to what led to the incident. view article arw

The Socorro Independent School District confirmed that its officers are investigating a threat made online, seemingly against Socorro High School. A parent called ABC-7 Monday morning after receiving an automated call from the SHS principal. view article arw

Testimony will begin Tuesday in Austin in the trial against a man accused of killing Graham ISD graduate Harrison Brown. Kendrex White is charged with murder and three counts of aggravated assault and is expected to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. On May 1, 2017, Harrison Brown, 20, was stabbed to death while walking to class at the University of Texas. view article arw

An organization formed by the parents of children killed in the massacre at 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School is coming out with a public service announcement designed to help identify individuals planning mass shootings. Officials with Sandy Hook Promise say many such shootings followed warning signs that were either ignored or misunderstood. view article arw

A social media post that appeared to threaten Lockhart High School prompted a lockout at the school Friday afternoon. However, authorities later determined that the social media post was a stock photo from the internet. According to Lockhart Independent School District, at 12:17 p.m., officials were notified of the potential threat. Officials immediately placed the school on lockdown and secured a perimeter around the school. Nearby Clear Fork Elementary and Navarro Elementary schools were placed on a lockout as a precaution. view article arw

A school in California where a student on the autism spectrum died last week after being physically restrained violated several state regulations, according to findings from a preliminary investigation by the state's Department of Education.  On Nov. 28, 13-year-old Max Benson was restrained by a staff member at his small private school in El Dorado Hills, Calif. While he was being restrained, Max lost consciousness.  The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office was called to Guiding Hands School (GHS), where a teacher was performing CPR on the boy. He was then taken to a hospital in critical condition, according to a statement from the Sheriff's Office view article arw

The parents of a Trinity ISD student who was killed on a bus that had allegedly not been modified to meet safety standards have reached a settlement with the district. Though the terms of the settlement are confidential, the parents told us recently that the main reason they decided to go to court was to save other parents' children in the future. view article arw

Parents of Austin school district students appear split on how soon elementary school students should learn about such issues as sexual orientation, pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, but strongly support teaching the youngest children refusal skills, including how to clearly say no or leave an uncomfortable situation. In preliminary survey results, 91 percent of those respondents who indicated a preference for when students should be taught refusal skills said the lesson should be introduced in kindergarten through second grade. Fewer than half of respondents said sexual orientation should be taught in grades three through five, 21 percent said it should be taught in grades four through five, and almost a third said it should be taught in fifth grade only. view article arw

Over the past year, Taylor ISD has made strides in safety and security within the district. At Wednesday night's Pints, Politics & Culture, board president Marco Ortiz said the trustees have been monitoring safety for some time now. Once the board makes a decision, they expect the administration to follow through. "We are a board of oversight and governance. We're not a managing board," Ortiz said. "We don't micromanage the superintendent [Keith Brown]. We tell him what we want . . . and we leave it up to his experience to implement that." Ortiz said Brown is like the CEO of the district, and he manages what the board asked him to do. view article arw

A free CPR class offered Dec. 10 in Wells makes an impact on the local community in more than one way. “We're teaching what is called 'hands-on CPR',” said Wells Volunteer Fire Chief Robert Kalka, describing how performing chest compressions “would help sustain someone until first responders arrive. And as far away as we are from certain areas, it takes 8 to 10 minutes to get (to a site), so if they're given hands-on CPR, that gives them (patients) a little bit more time.” Such training “helps us, and it helps themselves, because you'd want to know what to do until someone can get there to help,” he added. view article arw

A social media post had teachers and administrators "on alert" today at Beaumont United High School after a controversial social media post by one or more students. The post read: "Free fight Friday, fight anyone y'all want." Dion Edwards has a son who attends Beaumont ISD. She said kids need to find other ways to entertain themselves because stuff like this ends up affecting everyone. view article arw

Many parents have been concerned in relation to an alleged thread made by a student at Small Middle School in Southwest Austin Wednesday. The threat reportedly stated a student sent a Snapchat saying he was going to "shoot it up". CBS Austin contacted officials regarding the issue and after investigating, police determined the threat is not credible. view article arw

Commerce ISD is investigating an incident that happened Tuesday, involving a fourth grade student at AC Williams. According to the district, the student allegedly doused themselves in a liquid believed to be gasoline. The district also says the student had a lighter with them, but later threw it away. view article arw

Arming staff not being taken lightly

December 0708:40 AM
 

Re: “Hear from all about arming school staff,” Editorial, Nov. 29: As the East Central ISD board of trustees considers whether armed federally background-checked, qualified, vetted and well-trained staff members have a place in our comprehensive emergency management plan, I want to assure you that the safety of our children and our staff is a top priority. As I have said before, I never would have imagined the safety of our children could be at risk in any school. Sadly, these are very different times in our country view article arw