Ten Years After Columbine

Monday, April 20, 2009

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Ernest A. Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, and Greg Toppo, national education writer for USA Today, discuss the impact of school safety policies adopted in New York and around the country in the wake of the deadly shooting.


Donna Lieberman, Ernest A. Logan and Greg Toppo

Comments [16]

distressed parent

Before I even knew today's anivrsry, I began writing an email to my son's school to express dismay at the bullying of one child in my son's grade. A boy who seems to be disliked by every kid in the grade. Kids go out of their way to say mean things to him every day at recess. Lunch aides tell them to stop everyday, but there has never been a consequence. I have heard that the teachers in the grade 'privately' roll their eyes among themselves. One teacher made a crack to a parent at their parent/teacher conference(!!!) How can it not occur to the teacher that a mean-spirited comment about a student probably shouldn't be shared with a parent.

How can a school be so out of touch with kindness - and so blind to this kind cruelty, that the staff joins in?

This is a school in an affluent suburb of NYC. This is a school that talks the 'no bullying zone' and offers a workshop on bullying, to benefit one grade each year, along with a parent conference.
The school put a photo in the local paper of a beautiful quilt made by the students with 'no bullying' sayings on it.

How about: 'Pick on a kid - sit out the rest of recess. Pick on a kid twice - sit in the office during lunch and recess. Bully again - stay after school in office until a parent can come pick up the child, who can't return until the child and the parent apologize to the bullied child and his or her parent.

If a child came in and threw a rock - intentionally - at a child they did not like, one time, that rock thrower would probably be suspended from school for a week. A group of children throw emotional rocks at a child every day, in the presence of adults, nothing happens.
BTW - the target of this bullying -his offense is not meaness - just emotionally immature. He wants his own way, he cries if he loses at a game - at too old a grade.

Any thoughts?

Apr. 20 2009 01:21 PM
Jon P. from The Garden State

There is one word that answers all the school shootings, office shootings, hospital shootings, Fast food restaurant shootings and post office shootings, narcissism. And guess what, you can’t regulate narcissism, you can’t make it illegal and most of the time you cant catch it before it’s to late. Mass shootings and narcissism are nothing new. We just have a very short memory. They existed before video games, the internet and violent music. It’s one of the few disadvantages of living in a free society. Personally, Id rather live with narcissism and the threat of mass shootings then a sterilized society with mass shootings that still cant eliminate narcissism.

Apr. 20 2009 01:05 PM
Chicago Listener

[[12 Brian April 20, 2009 - 11:41AM How are the good old boys in Virginia reacted to our effeminate sounding big city mayor financing gun control ads in Virgina?]]

wow! a hillbilly stereotype and a swipe at gays in one sentence. give yourself a gold star...and then go away.

Apr. 20 2009 11:52 AM
Jennie from New York, NY

How can you say that some thing like Columbine hasn't happened since. There have been a number of school shootings since Columbine. Each shooting just as terrorizing for those students effected. Maybe you should think before you speak.

Apr. 20 2009 11:44 AM

How are the good old boys in Virginia reacted to our effeminate sounding big city mayor financing gun control ads in Virgina?

How many Virginians die as a result of guns? In terms of absolute population and percentage of population?

Apr. 20 2009 11:41 AM
Chicago Listener

The Chicago Police Department, in conjunction with Chicago Public Schools, has proposed expanding a program where students can text tips "anonymously" to the police. I believe this will be an epic failure. First of all, there is zero trust between cops and kids. Second, the "stop snitchin'" culture lives on. Third, if the tips go to the same civil servants who answer the phones at the 911 center, no action will be taken. In other words, it's a feel-good bit of propaganda that will accomplish nothing.

Apr. 20 2009 11:40 AM
Daniel from Munich

I was a teacher in NYC about 6 years ago. I never had the feeling that the NYPD was present in the school to prevent mass-shootings, but rather to help keep the hallways and classrooms peaceful. They were given more leeway than teachers when it came to intervening in bad situations. When a student punched me in the face, I would have been fired for putting up a proper physical defense; I was glad a security guard was there to detain the student.

For the most part, I saw that the students got along well with the security guards and bonded with them in the same way they do with teachers. I think students and teachers both saw them as positive.

Apr. 20 2009 11:39 AM
Tom from DC

Aren't teachers and administrators between a rock and a hard place? I mean it's the parents who demanded all of these zero-tolerance policies but then get angry when it's their kid who is targeted. Is it the "it's not my kid" syndrome that is the problem?

Apr. 20 2009 11:39 AM
Matt from NYC

What about Virginia Tech???

Apr. 20 2009 11:37 AM
kellyanne hanrahan

Doesn't anyone remember Red Lake? Or is it too uncomfortable to talk about Native American teens?

Apr. 20 2009 11:37 AM

I always found it funny that the New York Times would run editorials about gun control, but the publisher at the time, "Punch" Sulzberger had a gun permit. His excuse was that he was handling payroll or something.

Apr. 20 2009 11:37 AM

What is the ACLU's position on the second amendment? I have a feeling that they are OK with restrictions. Do they believe in the well regulated militia argument, or an individual's right to bear arms? Also what is the ACLU's position on what guns I can own, or on New York City's laws on gun ownership.

Apr. 20 2009 11:35 AM
j from nyc

i've always wanted to know why there hasn't been a truth and reconciliation committee style series of conversations between the nra, victims, the police, students, etc..
we need to have that open conversation in our country about the misunderstandings, not rights VS responsibilities, but rights AND responsibilities. I'd really want to hear the conversation between those who've pulled the trigger, and what sense they made of it and victims of gun violence. Anything has to be better than using the political system as a second level mediation process.

Apr. 20 2009 11:35 AM
Chicago Listener

A side note, the Rocky Mountain News, which won a Pulitzer for its coverage of the Columbine shootings, has shut down operations.

Apr. 20 2009 11:33 AM

Aren't we over analyzing Columbine. USA Today has an article I think last week where they said that the initial views generated by Columbine were wrong.

These kids were very smart kids (honor roll etc.) who had destructive tendencies. Didn't they try exploding a propane bomb to kill that would have killed 500.

How about the explanation that these kids were simply crazy.

Apr. 20 2009 11:33 AM
Bryan from Jersey Burbs

It's too long to post here, but I *strongly* recommend the article by Dan Savage in response to Columbine, and more importantly, the idiotic media coverage about Columbine:

Apr. 20 2009 11:32 AM

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