Posts tagged with "Teachers"

DOJ issues warning amid spike in threats against school boards, principals, and teachers

October 6, 2021

U.S. Attorney-General Merrick Garland announced a crackdown on Monday, October 4, on threats against schools and teachers after a surge in verbal attacks by parents opposed to mask and vaccine mandates, and education on race bias, The Straits Times reports.

“In recent months, there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” against teachers, school administrators and other staff, Garland said in a memo to the Justice Department and FBI.

“Threats against public servants are not only illegal; they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Garland said.

“The department takes these incidents seriously and is committed to using its authority and resources to discourage these threats, identify them when they occur, and prosecute them when appropriate,” he said.

Garland did not mention what was driving the spike, and said he respected “spirited debate”.

But the memo came after dozens of incidents across the country in which irate parents—who object to mandates for student masking, vaccine requirements, and teaching children about structural racism in society—have been seen threatening school boards, teachers and school principals.

Last week, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) called on President Joe Biden to intervene after a surge in threats, many of them seen on viral videos taken at community meetings.

“America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” said NSBA President Viola Garcia and CEO Chip Slaven in a letter to the president.

“The National School Boards Association respectfully asks for federal law enforcement and other assistance to deal with the growing number of threats of violence and acts of intimidation occurring across the nation,” they said.

They detailed numerous violent threats and physical attacks, by parents angered by COVID-19 policies and opposed to what they wrongly believe is primary and secondary schools teaching “critical race theory,” an approach to social justice studies mostly taught at the university level.

“As the threats grow and news of extremist hate organizations showing up at school board meetings is being reported, this is a critical time for a proactive approach to deal with this difficult issue,” they said.

A similar statement was issued by the School Superintendents Association (AASA) on September 22.

Research contact: @thestraitstimes

Americans don’t want weaponized classrooms

March 12, 2018

A majority of Americans (56%) don’t want guns in the classroom, according to findings of an NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll of 2,857 adults nationwide released on March 8.

In the aftermath of a mass shooting that killed 17 victims at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month, President Donald Trump proposed that arming some of America’s teachers with concealed weapons and training them to “immediately fire back” at a “sicko” gunman would end school shootings once and for all.

However, students, school administrators, teachers, parents—and even gun violence experts—do not agree, for the most part. Across the board, 44% strongly disagree with the POTUS’s idea; 12% disagree, 17% somewhat agree, and 25% agree. Among Republicans, 50% agree; and among Democrats 75% disagree. Nearly half of self-identified Independent voters (46%) also disagree.

It also is little surprise that Republicans are more enthusiastic about how Trump has handled gun control than with how Congress has handled the issue, with 78% of Republican respondents indicating that they are enthusiastic or satisfied with how Trump has approached gun control so far. Only 43% of Republicans feel the same about Congress.

Majorities of Independents — 72 percent — say they are dissatisfied or angry about the way Trump has handled gun control, and 84 percent feel that way about Congress. A whopping 90% of Democrats are dissatisfied or downright angry at both Congress and Trump when it comes to gun control. Despite increased public pressure since the Parkland shooting, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) has given no indication of when — or if — he would bring up any form of gun-related legislation.

A narrow bipartisan proposal that would attempt to shore up the National Instant Background Check System has at least 50 co-sponsors, but it has not been brought to the floor — and GOP lawmakers have been unable to reach a consensus on what they support.

Still, a majority of Americans ( 61%) believe that  government and society can take action that will be effective in preventing mass shootings like the one in Parkland, Florida. Thirty-six percent think school shootings like Parkland will happen again regardless of what action is taken by government and society.

Research contact: Andrew.Arenge@nbcuni.com