Friday, January 04, 2013

SANDY HOOK: A picture worth 10,000 words + 1,042 words – The New Yorker and the AALA Update

“We know that when children do not feel safe, they cannot focus on learning. When staff members do not feel safe, they cannot give 100 percent to students.” – AALA Update


New Yorker Cover 1/7/2013 by Chris Ware

●●smf: I started to write a long form essay on Sandy Hook and what it means in the new year. I started on New Years Eve Day, at the counter at Langer’s Deli, waiting on a breakfast date I was half-an-hour early to. The waitress, filling my veins with caffeine as for the third or fourth time said I’d have an entire book written by the time my friend arrived.

I have put that rant aside for now – the truth is there can be no Sandy Hook in the Rear View Mirror. The object isn’t closer than it appears – it’s there with us in the car – in the backseat with the toddlers in their car seats. It will be there until they are old enough to drive – then it can be their passenger.

There will be No Last Word – we must keep the horror in front of us for a long time to come. The survivors are in their new school – but with the familiar surroundings of teachers and books and furniture and the art on the bulletin board – the comfortable familiarity of routine – brought with them on the bus. How different this is from the ham-handed relocation of the kids at Miramonte.

Being a literary liberal I subscribe to the New Yorker. This week’s Talk of the Town essay on Sandy Hook and Gun Violence is disappointing, but the cover art is as near perfect as the iconic black towers on a black background on the 9/11 cover. The role of the artist is to continually reinterpret the world.   Read illustrator Chris Ware’s heartfelt explainer on his cover art  – and compare and contrast with the lighter tone of his back-t0-school cover in September.  You might also note the escalation of TNY cover price!TNY Sept 17 Cover – click for larger>>




From the Jan 7, 2013 Associated Administrators or Los Angeles Weekly Update  |

Jan 3, 2012 :: A new year usually signals optimism and hope for all of us, individually and collectively. Despite the horrors of the Sandy Hook massacre, our fears about the impact of the fiscal cliff and continuing economic uncertainty, we dutifully write annual resolutions to lose weight, begin that elusive exercise regimen and improve our overall health. After all, these are things over which we have some control. We avoid thinking about the things we can’t control.

So many thoughtful and even eloquent articles have been written about what took place at Sandy Hook School—the heroism of the principal and teachers, the unimaginable murder of innocent children, the NRA’s absurd response—that even though the attacks took place less than a month ago, we tend to push the underlying issues out of our minds. We are all busy. Yet there is nothing more fundamental for AALA members to be concerned about than the safety of students and staff members. We know that when children do not feel safe, they cannot focus on learning. When staff members do not feel safe, they cannot give 100 percent to students.

In the spirit of new beginnings, we respectfully suggest that LAUSD leadership, including Board members, adopt the following three New Year’s resolutions for 2013:

1. We resolve to increase the number of school-based administrators to improve safety and security at school sites.

2. We resolve to find ways to use remaining bond money to ensure that all LAUSD schools, particularly older ones, receive needed security upgrades, including those that are technology based.

3. We resolve to identify and allocate the resources necessary to provide adequate mental health services and support for students and their families.

AALA has always maintained excellent communication and an outstanding relationship with the Los Angeles School Police Department. We thank LASPD Chief Steven Zipperman for writing the following article.



By LAUSPD Chief Steven Zipperman, from the Jan 7, 2013 Associated Administrators or Los Angeles Weekly Update |

Happy New Year to all LAUSD administrators and staff members and welcome to the 2013 Spring Semester! The men and women of the LASPD hope that you had a restful and joyous holiday season. For all of us, the tragic event that took place on December 14, 2012, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, certainly took away some of the joy from this festive season. This horrible tragedy reminds us all of how precious life is and of our duty, commitment and responsibility to be the guardians of our most precious commodity, our students. We often see “heroes” during tragic events, as a person or group of individuals place their lives on the line to protect others from harm. This could not have been more pronounced than in the stories of the heroic efforts that took place when school teachers, administrators and other staff members, raced toward the sound of gun fire or threw themselves in harm’s way by acting as shields to protect their “babies” from harm. They had neither weapons nor bullet-proof vests, just the courage and self-sacrifice to protect young lives from evil. These educators did not die in vain. They died giving their lives for the children for whom they cared so deeply.

All too often, the public forgets about those who commit their lives to the growth and development of future generations. The men and women of the LASPD salute teachers, administrators and all who sacrifice on a daily basis to ensure that our students are safe and secure while providing them a quality education.

As we move forward, the LASPD will remain extra vigilant in our efforts to maintain a safe and secure learning environment. “Your” School Police Department remains committed to providing high quality, professional campus policing and security services. We will be working hand-in-hand with local law enforcement agencies to ensure that a strong police presence is maintained. The LASPD will be partnering with campus administrators to ensure that Safe School Plans are complete and up to date. We will be evaluating current lockdown procedures and, along with law enforcement industry experts, examining nationwide best practices in response to “active shooter” situations. An effective response requires school-specific planning and coordination based on local school conditions. The advance development of options for action during the first few minutes of a crisis will save lives.

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