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Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday Open Thread

 Dr. Nyland speaks out about the Florida high school massacre (partial):

As a district, our goal is to prevent these types of emergencies whenever possible and be prepared to respond effectively if an emergency should happen. Our educators increase safety by knowing their students by story, strength and need. We use social and emotional learning strategies to help students cope with stress and trauma to prevent harm to themselves or others. 

Each school – with our district and city emergency responders – develop a safety plan responsive to its layout and design. Controlling access to our students is part of that plan. Students and staff practice drills so if the unthinkable happens, they know how to respond. We always encourage students to report any threat or safety concern to a trusted adult – including families, staff, 911 or the district Safe Schools Hotline at 206-252-0510. 

We know students will likely want to talk about this, particularly because of the amount of information they see on social media and the news. As always, repeated exposure to traumatic images should be minimized. Our schools will be monitoring student reactions and support students who need additional supports.
Resources that are helpful in discussing troubling events with children:
From the News You can Use department, this from the Future Privacy Forum:

New US Dept of Ed Finding: Schools Cannot Require Parents or Students to Waive Their FERPA Rights Through Ed Tech Company’s Terms of Service

Policymakers, parents, and privacy advocates have long asked whether FERPA is up to the task of protecting student privacy in the 21st century. A just-released letter regarding the Agora Cyber Charter School might signal that a FERPA compliance crack-down – frequently mentioned as their next step after providing extensive guidance by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) employees at conferences throughout 2017 – has begun. The Agora letter provides crucial guidance to schools – both K-12 and Higher Ed – and ed tech companies about how USED interprets FERPA’s requirements regarding parental consent and ed tech products’ terms of service, and it may predict USED’s enforcement priorities going forward.
According to USED, the Terms of Use allowed “near universal use and distribution by K12 and various third party affiliates and licensees of information that could have constituted her child’s PII from education records,” an outcome that constituted an unlawful “forfeiture of [the parent’s] rights under FERPA to protect against the unauthorized disclosure of PII from her child’s education records.” Because the Terms of Use would have allowed K12 to freely re-disclose FERPA-protected information without consent (including, as stated in the letter, to “future employers of the student”), the Terms of Use constituted a waiver of FERPA rights. And because the child could not enroll at Agora without the parent agreeing to the Terms of Use, USED found that Agora violated FERPA.

According to USED, the Terms of Use allowed “near universal use and distribution by K12 and various third party affiliates and licensees of information that could have constituted her child’s PII from education records,” an outcome that constituted an unlawful “forfeiture of [the parent’s] rights under FERPA to protect against the unauthorized disclosure of PII from her child’s education records.” Because the Terms of Use would have allowed K12 to freely re-disclose FERPA-protected information without consent (including, as stated in the letter, to “future employers of the student”), the Terms of Use constituted a waiver of FERPA rights. And because the child could not enroll at Agora without the parent agreeing to the Terms of Use, USED found that Agora violated FERPA.
A couple of great learning opportunity stories in our district; one is from Chief Sealth High School and Concord Elementary and the other from McGilvra Elementary.

Director Burke's community meeting for tomorrow has been CANCELLED.  However, President Harris' community meeting from 3-5 pm at the High Point Branch Library is still on.

What's on your mind?

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nyland was Super in Marysville when the kids shot his friends and himself over a love relationship gone bad just like this incident.

Crazy violent kids are not new. Access to AR-15s and handguns is the problem.

The NRA has a right to lobby and fund candidates like anybody, but they have also apparently taken Russian money and will be exposed as traitors like our dear leader.

American have been duped by the gun lobby just like all the hate-mongering against Muslims and Mexicans.

This country is mentally ill.

Chair

Anonymous said...

One thing that is noteworthy about this tragedy, relative to the many other school shootings is that THIS time, the surviving kids are calling out the legislature, especially the GOP. This has never happened before to my knowledge. Of course the GOP has demonstrated time and time again that gun sales are far more important than kids' lives and I don't believe anything will change. But I applaud the survivors for taking a stand. Kudos to them. They are very brave.

-Cynic

Anonymous said...

Nyland was not the Superintedent in Marysville when there was a school shooting there. Dr. Berg, who is still the Superintendent there, was.

-Facts

Anonymous said...

Sounds like there is going to be nation-wide walkout to protest the lack of gun restrictions and the power the NRA holds over our politicians.

gun hater

Anonymous said...

Let's support Parkland student survivors and now activists who are organizing a March For Our Lives in DC on March 24th to demand that children's "lives and safety become a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in our schools today."

"Mission Statement: Not one more. We cannot allow one more child to be shot at school. We cannot allow one more teacher to make a choice to jump in front of a firing assault rifle to save the lives of students. We cannot allow one more family to wait for a call or text that never comes. Our schools are unsafe. Our children and teachers are dying. We must make it our top priority to save these lives."

https://www.marchforourlives.com/

rt

Anonymous said...

I agree with the sentiments of Cynic and rt above. Let's make receiving money from the NRA a badge of shame. Let's vote the apologists for the NRA out of office. That includes Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Representative in Washington's 5th Congressional district. Yes, let's march, let's speak out, let's name names. And let's support McMorris Rodgers' opponent in November, Lisa Brown.

XJT

Anonymous said...

Outside agitators are feeding these students with talking points. These students should be marching on the FBI and local law enforcement who repeatedly ignored all the calls for help from students, school staff and neighbors of the shooter. It's hard to believe this boy wasn't charged after bringing live ammunition to school.

At least 39 domestic violence calls were responded to by local police regarding the shooter since 2014, the list of other warning signs goes on and on.

Guns owners should protect and secure their firearms, period. Those who don't currently can be charged with a crime. No need to change any laws.

The shooter did not steal an unsecured weapon, he legally purchased them.

As for the idea that banning ARs or semi autos would stop a motivated shooter,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Texas_tower_shooting it wouldn't.

In reviewing every mass school schooling you will find in the majority of cases that law enforcement failed to intervene when all the warning signs were know to them.

The most shocking was Newtown shooting when police were warned of the shooters threats and a mother purchased high powered weapons for someone with autism and who typically had violent outburst commonly associated with the condition.

Root cause analysis shows mental illness as the main cause and law enforcement failures in enabling the tragedies.

Root cause

Melissa Westbrook said...

Root Cause, you are way off base. Those kids SAW the shootings and lived it. They don't need anyone feeding them anything. You think their parents would allow their child to be used? C'mon.

"Guns owners should protect and secure their firearms, period. Those who don't currently can be charged with a crime. No need to change any laws."

Agreed except that we need to clamp down on gun show sales and assault weapon sales.

And sorry but not every school has a tower. That guy would not been able to do what he did on the ground.

I heard nothing about Newtown and the shooter making threats to the school. Where did you read that?

And what a terrible, terrible word to use - "enabling" - for law enforcement. Do not use that term in that context at this blog again. It will be deleted.

Anonymous said...

I've always been concerned about some of the autistic students at our school. They are sweet, but sometimes can get very angry without any obvious reason.

Mental health seems to be the cause of the Florida shooting. I'm horrified by those of you who the rate the tragedy by the body count. Even if one child was killed with a knife by this killer it would be a tragedy of equally horror.

There have been very active political campaigns aimed to main stream autistic students. Is there any safeguards used to identify dangerous students? Another relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity over the sensitive matter, said Nikolas had been diagnosed with autism.

Parent

Anonymous said...

Here you go-- https://www.cbsnews.com/news/sandy-hook-shooting-investigation-fbi-documents/

Tax payers spend BILLIONS of dollars on local, state and federal law enforcement and we expect better. Maybe enable is a bit strong, but it's definitely dereliction of duty.

Root cause

Melissa Westbrook said...

So Parent, autism is not mental illness. Autism is a neurobiological condition of the brain.

Kids with autism do not see/hear/experience the world as other kids do. It can cause them discomfort and yes, they can act out.

I am not comfortable with you equating autism and "dangerous students." I would suggest you might go look up some articles on autism.

As to whether districts "identify" students, I'm not sure they can legally say who or who isn't dangerous. Cruz in Florida went thru a series of family tragedies but also seemed to have mental issues. I have heard nothing about him being autistic.

Anonymous said...

"Autism is a neurobiological condition of the brain. " Ok but that doesn't address my concerns, it reinforces my worries. I'm just reiterating what media outlets have reported and it seems like we should not allow people with autism access to firearms.

Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, again, you are showing ignorance and it would be better to educate yourself first and THEN make comments. Show me which outlet said autistic people are dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I'm commenting on my observations from classroom experiences. "They are sweet, but sometimes can get very angry without any obvious reason. " I'm also injecting other parent's experiences that have come up in conversations and other students observations told to me by those students.

I'm not going to debate autism and personality traits with you because it serves no purpose in this discussion.

It has been reported that the Newtown shooter was autistic and now the Florida shooter has be reported to be autistic.

It seems logical if it were illegal for autistic persons to handle firearms then both of the tragedies I mentioned would not have happened. Yes, if all guns were eliminated that to would have stopped the tragedy also, but it's not realistic to expect the elimination of any guns anytime soon, so lets focus on getting firearms away from those who are most likely to commit these horrific acts.

Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Parent, I am eliminating your "observations" because you really don't know what you are talking about in general for people with autism who tend to be the least violent people. What you see as angry is really frustration (and if you knew about autism you'd understand that).

Yes, and you can probably track many similar things about all shooters. Correlation is NOT causation.

Since you are unwilling to do the decent thing and truly understand autistic people, I ask you to cease and desist from your armchair observations.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Parent said, "Even if one child was killed with a knife by this killer it would be a tragedy of equally [sic] horror."

Well, actually no. It is the horror of having one child killed, multiplied 17 times. 17 families experiencing their worst nightmare instead of just one.

And while it'd maybe be possible to kill 17 people with a knife at once it'd certainly be more difficult. Consider Columbine - similar number of victims, but two shooters, and a veritable arsenal of weapons because AR-15's weren't legal back then. Plus more or less the element of surprise- shootings weren't common then. And it floored a nation because, you know, it was nineteen times the grief and horror.

I suspect Parent might be trolling, because trying to turn the discussion to people with autism is, well, ignorant at best.

-Pragmatic Xennial

Anonymous said...

Most of the shooters are male. Maybe we should bar males from owning guns?

Annie O.

Anonymous said...

Okay Annie Oakley, NRA stooge. Males are allowed at schools, their assault weapons are not welcome -not in my child's classroom, or any, ever.

West

Anonymous said...

Also, yes, of course we should have mental health care. But that would cost money... and we just passed a big tax break for our billionaires, so that will have to wait for another generation.

In the meantime we can have a ban on automatic weapons. Then a couple heros at a school could easily stop any love-crazed-jealous-teen-knife-attack that transpired pretty quickly.

West

Anonymous said...

Automatic weapons are already illegal.

Libs factless

Anonymous said...

Were the shooters autistic? I find it hard to believe an autistic person could figure out how to execute a school shooting. Dont most need a minder to do anything complicated?

StepB

Melissa Westbrook said...

I am just a little astonished at how little people know about austism. It’s a spectrum of behavior and challenges. Most people, if you know about autism, realize that they probably know high-functioning people with autism (see possibly Bill Gates).

Anonymous said...

Here's abetter article on the ignored tip about the Sandy Hook Massacre.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sandy-hook-shooting-police-fbi-files_us_59f383d5e4b07fdc5fbe18f9

The problem was clearly access to guns, in this case from the shooter's mom.

In this recent Florida massacre, a white power group trained the shooter on the AR15.

Also, the NRA funded a JROTC marksmanship program where he shot targets at the school, which certainly reflects poorly on the district and the principal. One member of the JROTC was killed and some want him given a military funeral.

It's guns. They have to go.

Here's how our civilized British friends did it:

No School Shootings in the United Kingdom Since Handguns Were Banned?

https://www.snopes.com/dunblane-school-shootings-ban/

ban guns

Anonymous said...


autism isn't an indicator of violence, being white and male are.

autism isn't an indicator of inability, being ignorant like some of these posters is.

i am with xjt - nra is a badge of shame. like an a on their chest. a for assholes.

no caps

Anonymous said...

How about expulsion as a school discipline? Dumb. Why in the world would school be “safer” by expelling dangerous students? Education is the key, and expulsion is an abdication of that basic duty. Leaving kids homeless, uneducated, impoverished, angry and armed is the worst result. Much better to deal with problems like this in school. For example, check the would be expelled student’s backpack everyday for weapons. A staple staff job in an ebd program. Keeps students in school and safe, and supervised. Btw. School districts are responsible for EBD students until age 21. So yes. This kid should have been being educated.

And of course, strengthen gun control as much as possible!

reader

Anonymous said...

Let's add Dino Rossi, candidate in the 8th Congressional district, to the list of those deserving of shame: he received $419,350 from the NRA for his 2010 Senate campaign.

XJT

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Today 2/19 is the last day to apply to be on the Family Partnerships Task Force. https://www.seattleschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=627&pageId=31313015

SPS fails so hard with family engagement. From communication with individuals, to the ever-changing website information, and of course including community meetings, this topic is given only lip service. It's impossible to get answers from SPS. If you can get someone on the actual phone they may or may not give you correct information. Every meeting put on by district staff follows the same template, in which they spend 90% of the meeting time allotted reading from a power point presentation, leaving practically no time for feedback, questions, or problem solving with the community members. I have been to capacity meetings during which parents have asked for data and clarification only to be told by staff that that particular data wasn't included because they didn't want to "overwhelm" people with numbers. It is so painfully obvious that SPS does not really want real community and family engagement. No space is allowed for it, and this includes board meetings as well. No wonder this is such an area of failure.

Here's how to start improving Family Engagement:

Staff (from teachers on up to the superintendent) and board should respond to emails with specific questions within 48 hours.

Staffing should be robust enough to allow for phones to be answered at JSCEE.

The SPS website should provide complete and accurate information.

Policies should not change mid-year or mid-process.

Community meetings should use the panel system. A panel of SPS staff is available. Community members sign up to speak and have their questions answered on the spot.

Parents should not have to attend a meeting to get answers from SPS staff or board members. Staff and board should post information about their progress on the website.

Not rocket science

Anonymous said...

@ Not rocket science
This district won't change until we see a complete changeover of leadership, from Nyland (who barely does the job of caretaking status quo) to heads of every single department. To that end, why would anyone sign on to be on any task force at this point? It "sounds" good but the reality is that SPS really won't ever take any guidance anyhow, so why bother? It's a waste of time. I hear from ex-SPS or parents once in a while that folks at SPS HQ are nice and hard working, blah blah blah. But what I see for all the money poured into yet more administrative staff is a lack of expertise, fiefdoms, ever changing plans and no focus on completion, lack of metrics, idealogical differences and what seems to be a fear of parents with kids-the actual customer. I used to hope that we could escape SPS without a major disruption but unfortunately we keep seeing the line move. I'm sure there must be people at HQ that feel badly when they hear this kind of criticism, but the only way to eliminate it is to fix it. Not ignore it. This district runs on the backs of decent teachers and parents and others in the community who watch and keep SPS accountable. I wish we could see some adult behavior, responsibility and accountability instead of this constant cycle of poor decisions with little to no thought of unintended consequences and the constant pitting of communities against each other. Wish it were different, SPS. You could be different, SPS. You choose not to be, SPS. Sorry for the rant but having a week off and a little time to reflect doesn't make me feel very optimistic about the years ahead for our family.
-SPS Tired

Anonymous said...

@West, NRA stooge? Yeah right. Maybe if you thought I was being sarcastic, but I wasn't. My comment was in respobnse tobtjise who thought we should ban autistic people from owning guns. We'd be more effective banning males from doing so. I don't think autistic people are overrepresented in terms of perpetrators of gun violence, but males sure are.

Annie O.

Anonymous said...

I hate to use labels, but for you to think it's appropriate to allow autistic students to bring weapons to school without the penalty of expulsion is CRAZY! The idea is kooky even beyond the restorative justice nonsense.

Some people

Oh and one more thing, if you're going to call out people, "being ignorant like some of these posters is." try not to look ignorant.


Anonymous said...

Some People, not sure who you’re talking to. Nobody said ANYTHING about allowing autistic students to bring guns to school. But it is a simple fact. Expulsion isn’t a deterrent. Expulsion doesn’t educate any students. Expulsion doesn’t correct behavior. And most importantly expulsion doesn’t keep anyone “safe”. Expulsion DOES result in an utter lack of supervision for students who need it the most. Expulsion DOES provides idle hands ample time and opportunity for obsessing over a criminal and antisocial enterprise. Expulsion does result in education by white supremacists, nazis, gangs instead educators. Expulsion isn’t a viable penalty, or a penalty at all. It’s an excuse for educators to do nothing. It’s not hard to routinely search students identified as dangerous. Or all students. It happens every day, even in SPS. The most dangerous students, are the ones to who need the structure and supervision the most. The devil you know....

reader

Melissa Westbrook said...

SPS Tired is right; it's a waste of time to be on the family engagement taskforce. They will work and the district won't listen. It's like that for nearly every single group.

Anonymous said...

PS. I’m all for banning guns from people with disabilities, as evidenced by the need for special education. The military used reject applicants with even mild ADHD as well as most disabilities andnobody thought that was unreasonable. We can’t have IAs hand holding soldiers, and we don’t want to arm people who are unable to pay attention, can’t follow or read directions, have anxiety, or uncontrollable rage. Gun use just isn’t a key right or necessity in modern life. I’m also all for banning them from white males who seem to be the main culprits shooting up the country, but I suspect that will be a long shot.

reader

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa Westbrook said...

Reader, that is a real out-there kind of statement "no guns for people with disabilities" - do you know who that would cover? Well, vets with injuries for one. They're disabled. And being in the military is not really the measure I would use for who can have a gun.

Clearly, there's a lot of interesting thoughts going thru people's heads.

Anonymous said...

Several people, including Reader and no caps, have blamed white males for being "the main culprits shooting up the country".

Although white males have predominantly been instigators of recent mass shootings, they do make up the majority of males in the country.

An inconvenient truth came out in the Seattle Times article on homicides recently, which is that the homicide rate is almost 10 times higher among blacks than whites, much of that gun violence among young black men. While blacks and African Americans are only 7% of the King County population and whites are 70% of the population, the numbers of homicides in both groups are almost the same.

Those statistics are similar across jurisdictions and across the country. Many school-aged kids are killed each month, predominantly black and Hispanic kids, without this level of community mobilization.

We can only hold effective discussions about how to prevent a problem when we have good information about that problem.

Momof2

Anonymous said...



" SPS Tired is right; it's a waste of time to be on the family engagement taskforce. They will work and the district won't listen. It's like that for nearly every single group."

You should be ashamed. I've been on a taskforce as have many others and they are very much a worthwhile activity.

Stop with the constant negativity.

Citizen

Anonymous said...

Violent students are not the problem.

It's guns.

Plain and simple.

No guns, no shootings.

Duh

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mom of 2, that depends on if we are broadly speaking or speaking about shootings at schools (the mass ones tend to be white males, the single ones seem to be black males).

Citizen, yawn. I'm not constantly negative but I've served on them several times and rarely are recommendations followed. It's not good engagement and creates jaded parents. Sure, it can be gratifying, talking and working with others but that doesn't mean useful outcomes for the district.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Duh, I think you are barking up the wrong tree. We will never be free of guns in this country BUT we can certainly narrow the range of weapons AND hold people accountable - highly accountable - for what happens when they are used.

Brian Duncan said...

Duh,
Well said.

NRA has long since become an organization terrorizing Americans, particularly in our schools. The GOP, by and large, embraces and is significantly financially supported by NRA donations. These are indeed three "scarlet letters" which so many GOP electeds self emblazon on their sleeves. Let those of us who recognize the damage they do, and the danger they promote, daily, organize and vote them out, out, out!

Here's my new protest sign for March 24th March for Our Lives:

Not One More:
- student shot
- parent deported
- Republican re-elected


Anonymous said...

"yawn"?

You sound like a Breitbart troll with such a rude sounding dismissal of someone's sincere comment.

I too have been on a task-force with JSCEE staff, teachers and a principal as well as other parents and outside experts; I found it very productive. The recommendations were followed and it was very cathartic for all involved.

Maybe instead of just criticizing you could explain about which task-force(s) you were a member and what the problem(s) was/were with it(them).

As far as guns, you are sure we'll never be like the rest of Western Civilization and severely restrict gun access?

Australia proves you wrong. The UK proves you wrong. Europe in general proves you wrong.

And I hope the kids in SPS prove you wrong.

gun hater

P.S.

I find any engagement with the district a good thing and would never discourage people from participating.

gun hater

Anonymous said...

I think you need to google Australia again. Your assumptions are wrong.

Cars kill 100 times more people every year than guns. Car hater. Booze hater Weed Hater

pure facts

Anonymous said...

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/15/australia-hasnt-had-fatal-mass-shooting-since-1996-heres-what-did/340345002/

I'm trying to remember the last time a student killed 17 at his school with a car, or with liquor or with marijuana.

Why do you love guns?

Guns are designed to kill. Cars are not, nor is booze, nor is pot.

Please use common sense and not NRA talking points.

Thanks, Auger Wilson

Anonymous said...

As many sane commentators have stated, mental illness rates are similar in every country but the US has tens of thousands of gun deaths and European countries have few.

Logic says the problem is the guns.

Spock

Anonymous said...

@ gun hater, would you mind sharing which task force it was that led you to say:

I too have been on a task-force with JSCEE staff, teachers and a principal as well as other parents and outside experts; I found it very productive. The recommendations were followed and it was very cathartic for all involved.

I'm not familiar with such a success story, but would like to understand it more to see how future task forces can be more effective. As for "catharsis," that seems a curious result, likely not the intent, but glad it worked for you. Care to share which task force this was, and whether the recommendations that were followed resulted in the intended outcomes?

Unclear

Anonymous said...

@ Unclear,

The Seattle Public Schools Task Force for Prevention of and Response to Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

Please read the final report:

https://seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/title_ix/Final_Report_of_Task_Force_submitted_December_9_2015.pdf

Many of the members found it cathartic as many of us had experienced sexual assault and/or harassment in our past at school and outside of school.

The rules and procedures have been strengthened as a result of our work and continue to be.

gun hater

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'm with Unclear, what taskforce was this? Or was it a curriculum committee which is a very different thing.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Gun Hater, there's a good example but I could give you so many that were not productive. Let me just say that for your Task Force, the district very much had to show that they were doing more.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone had success at opting out of 3rd party online curriculum providers in SPS classrooms? I was surprised when my son got to school and various teachers set up accounts for him using parts of his real name and his school name, breaking all family rules about putting in your real name/location online. I have asked about this with only vague replies. What is the best plan? Ask for a meeting with the principal and say flat out no accounts with my kid's name in them ever? Don't accounts/logins like this somehow breach the privacy agreement? They are identifying my kid to outside groups and sharing his academic progress with him (in the subject they are working on). I never see a user agreement. I feel like individual teachers make decisions about this without running it by anyone else. Thanks.
--Elem. Mom

Anonymous said...

Reader,

"I’m also all for banning them [guns] from white males who seem to be the main culprits shooting up the country, but I suspect that will be a long shot."

You're actually proposing that our civil rights be a function of gender and skin color? And I though Trump was scary.

Civil Rights

Melissa Westbrook said...

Elementary Mom, I have warned about this over and over. Your teacher should not have set up accounts without your permission.

There was a recent ruling by the Dept of Ed that stated that FERPA was being violated at an online charter school.

New US Dept of Ed Finding: Schools Cannot Require Parents or Students to Waive Their FERPA Rights Through Ed Tech Company’s Terms of Service
https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/sites/default/files/resource_document/file/Agora%20Findings%20letter%20FINAL%2011.2.17.pdf

You should ask to meet with your teacher and the principal and ask, "Why am I not even being notified about these signups? My child's privacy is my responsibility and I worry." And, PLEASE write the Board to let them know this is happening.