Friday, January 26, 2018

Securing your school

Building security is of utmost importance in providing for the school as a safe house. Begin with a security check that assesses every possible means of entry for someone intent on doing harm. Every possible entrance to the building must either be locked, or covered by a staff member. A buzzer system to control entry combined with a camera, or a supervised entry will help to assure no one enters the building with the intent to do harm. And will provide a welcoming environment.
Always give consideration to having a friendly environment that allows for student and parents to be comfortable in the school setting. Given the focus on that environment, security is always an issue. 
A check around the doors should show that there are no adjacent windows that can be broken to allow access to a door handle and easy entry. When adjacent windows are a problem, security is easily provided through a door handle guard. This simple hardware change could make the difference between life and death. Added to that, an alarm system and well-placed cameras can help monitor any suspicious activity.   
            In addition to securing the building, a check of the perimeter must be ongoing. It is much better to observe potential problems as they approach the building rather than after. In severe cases that gives police a head-start on dealing with the problem. In potentially less severe cases, it gives school safety or teachers in charge to meet the problem outside the school long before disruption to students occurs.
There are many ways to do this. Currently the use of technology allows various options including the use of drones. They are inexpensive and would be good for the use of perimeter control in areas where crime is more active. If not available, cameras or personal surveillance would also be valuable, not only to the school but to the immediate community. More “eyes” in the community equals less problematic activity. All children must feel safe in their school. Knowing that every entrance is secured, every potential violent act is dealt with and every educator is alert to assure the comfort and safety of every student. There are no short cuts when it comes to the safety of every child. No school, wherever it is, is exempt. The teachers, parents, children and community must know that the school is the ultimate safe house. 
Security begins at the front door with every policy rigidly enforced. We want to assure all visitors that they are welcome to the school; at the same time, we must assure no dangerous individuals are allowed to enter. There are some simple steps that can stop trouble at the front door:
·         Everyone entering the building must immediately go to the office to check in.
·         Everyone must receive a pass that is visible, to go to their designated location.
·         The employee to be visited must be contacted prior to the visitor leaving the office.
·         Schools should consider metal detectors if deemed necessary.
·         An emergency buzzer may be considered for every classroom to alert administration to the need for assistance.
Although this seems cumbersome, the process will take only a minute or two and all will feel safe.
In schools around the country gun tragedies are happening.  The data shows most guns involved in the shootings came from the perpetrators home. Due to so many recent tragedies in schools, every school must be secured both by a well secure building and a crisis plan for all emergency situations. 
The reality is that gun violence can happen anywhere. High powered weapons are available to anyone who wants them. This is a problem that faces every school in the nation. No school is safe from gun violence as evidenced by the actions of the past years. 
The numbers of shootings in schools are a reality check indicating schools are at risk everywhere, no matter how large or how small. Every school shooting, even when there are no injuries or deaths, are traumatic to students. According to the United States Center for Disease Control, ¨Not all injuries are visible. Exposure to youth violence and school violence can lead to a wide array of negative health behaviors and outcomes, including alcohol and drug use, and suicide. Depression, anxiety, and many other psychological problems, including fear, can result from school violence. ¨ This is a major health concern for all young people. The problem is evident but what is the solution?
            A plan of action is necessary for the safety of all. Short of having police officers in the school, it is essential that they are nearby and prepared for any incident that might occur. Communications with local police departments must focus on a continuous update of the needs of the safety of the school. A close relationship with the police is always a good policy with regular visitations to the school not only for visibility but to make presentations to classes on a variety of issues related to safety.
            Teachers must always be vigilant no matter how safe the school seems to be. Remember, word of mouth is the best way of determining potential problems. Know your students, have good connections with your students because someone usually know when something bad will happen. 
Utilizing professionals in psychology, they must be trained to recognize danger signs in the action of students. These signs must never be ignored. Although it is important not to over react, it is as important to make teachers and support staff aware of the slightest signs of problems. Remember, with 81% of school shooters, someone had information that the shootings might happen.
It is important for a team of educators and police officers to form a committee to devise security related policies in the school. A referral process must then be activated. Upon activation, a wide variety of responses would be implemented. Everything from simple school counseling to a psychiatric referral must be on the table. Teaming with parents and community members will assure a better chance to prevent a crisis from happening.
            The most noticeable warning signs include students displaying social problems, especially social isolation. For adolescents, being a part of a social group, no matter how small, is extremely important. Those who deliberately choose not to be a part of the group may need help. According to , ¨another warning sign is thoughts or actions focused on violence. Expressing violent fantasies or engaging in acts of aggression toward animals may indicate a problem.” Finally, a change in behaviors and performance in schools is another indicator. The school psychologist would be able to provide more detailed information and must be consulted on a regular basis. Do not let any of these concerns pass you by. Respond accordingly before it is too late.
            Mental health and drug and alcohol involvement go hand in hand. Those afflicted are more likely to be involved in gun violence. Alcoholism is a family disease. It affects everyone in the family in one way or another. Those who have the disease have a tough road to beating it, while those family members who are left to deal with it on an everyday basis have tremendous emotional stress. This disease is one that may not be allowed to persevere in schools or anywhere else. It is easy to believe the alcoholic can stop drinking whenever they want, but that is simply not the case. Although not curable, an alcoholic can be in recovery. The beginning of that process is when an educator recognizes the problem.
            According to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs program, these may be signs of addiction;
·         Appearing under the influence in class
·         Smelling of alcohol during the day
·         Missed coursework or classes due to alcohol or drug use.
·         Preoccupation with alcohol and other drug use, which may be evident in conversation.
·         Changes in academic performance
·         Changes in mood or behavior
·         Getting into fights or becoming aggressive while under the influence
·         Inability to control drinking; drinking more than intended; inability to have just one or two drinks.
·         Increase in tolerance to alcohol use.
·         Trouble with police or school officials because of alcohol or drug use.
·         Expressed concern from others because of the usage
·         Blackouts (loss of memory) from alcohol or drug use
·         Drinking or drug use as a main priority.
As for intervention, it is important not to let any inappropriate behaviors go unnoticed.
·         Privately let the student know you are genuinely concerned.
·         Describe to the student the specific behaviors that have caused you to be concerned.
·         Speak to the student in an objective, unequivocal way.
·         Have resource information available.
·         Attempt to redirect the conversation when the student provides irrational excuses.
·         Offer to assist the student in making the contact with the appropriate program that deals with alcohol and/or drug abuse.
Remember, as an educator, you are the one who can make the difference. Often the student will have to hit rock bottom before finding help. Hopefully that will allow them to live.
When a major problem occurs within the building, a policy must be in place to deal with it. All staff must know what they are going to do to protect the safety of the children. This begins with a signal from the administrator. It is often best to have a code word that can be announced over the public-address system signaling teachers to act without causing students to panic.
One example is ¨attention teachers; Mr. Jones is in the building¨. Every teacher will have an assignment. Those with classes will shut and lock the doors. Others will have assignments to go to specific checkpoints or prepare a staging area for police and as a communication center. Two will be assigned to call police. As the problem progresses, further directions would be given. In the case of shots fired in the building, an additional signal will notify teachers.
Following the incident, a room will be made available to meet with the press and make calls to parents. If the building is made safe, parents would be able to come to that area to pick up their children.
Although this may sound harsh to those who live in areas they perceive are safe, simply remember, mental health issues can happen anywhere. Hate is spreading like wildfire to every corner of the world and those who are on the edge are the most vulnerable.

There are many ways to do damage to children during their tender K-12 school years. Whether it is protecting their souls from the spoken evils in today’s world or from the dangers that lurk around every corner, nothing should be ignored. Although there are many irrational fears, a strong, well thought out safety plan must be in place for those fears that may become real. 
Cap Lee 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

I can't believe I read the whole Fusion interview

After reading the entire transcript of the Fusion GPS interview with Congress I have come to several conclusions: It is important to recognize that there was much I didn’t understand as I didn’t have access to exhibits and didn’t understand all the situations discussed.

          Glenn Simpson from Fusion GPS described the information not as dossier but as field reports of real interviews. Their goal was to gather information regarding Trump business involvement, good or bad. Fusion worked in partnership with Chris Steele as he was well respected throughout the world. Steele used a variety of reputable sources in his investigation. Due to confidentiality they did not say who hired them nor did they publicly reveal his sources.

          In their efforts to investigate Trumps business dealings with Russia, they were shocked as to what they discovered:

1.     Many of Trumps enterprises, including his golf courses in Scotland and Ireland were not making money although he had much invested in them.

2.     Trump made many business trips to Russia but never made any deals.

3.     The Trump family was selling merchandise made in sweat shops in Asia and Latin America.

4.     Trump was in business with Felix Sater in the Trump SOHO project.
a.      There were concerns about money laundering through Trump properties especially re: Felix Sater.
b.     According to Fusion, Felix Sater was connected to Russian Mafia. Trump said he didn’t know him but was connected to him, for many years even after Sater was exposed in many crimes.
c.      Sater was believed t be involved in money laundering of stolen money from Kazakhstan.

5.     Trump, in his businesses was allegedly involved with organized crime and other criminal figures in Asia, Russia, Latin America and other countries.

a.      Tevfik Arif, an organized crime figure in central Asia who was arrested for involvement in child prostitution.
b.     Irakle Kaveladze had ties to Russian Government
c.      Boris Goldstein connected to Russian intelligence.

From this information it appears that there was more to the story than just the business connections:

1.     Fusion discovered, according to them, that Carter Page had been the “go between” for the Trump campaign and the Russian Government.

2.     The Russian Mafia and Cyber-crime was a subcontractor to Russian Intelligence.
3.     Steele and Fusion were concerned that Trump was someone who was compromised by a hostile foreign power.

a.      Trump was doing favors for the Russian Government:
                                                             i.      GOP platform changed re: sanctions
                                                           ii.      Carter Page giving speech in Russia about dropping sanctions.
                                                        iii.      Trump praising Putin
                                                         iv.      Trump encouraged hacking in a speech

4.     It was obvious that there was a crime in progress, there was espionage. Russia was hacking into the computers of Democrats and think tanks. That's a computer crime.
The original purpose of presenting the reports to the FBI was that Chris Steele thought there was a security threat to the United States.

1.     My belief is that the original purpose of giving the so-called dossier to the FBI was to encourage them to dig deeper into the Russian connection.
2.     Steele and Simpson felt it their duty to report a crime for the betterment of the country.
3.     The FBI indicated they had similar information from an informant inside the Trump campaign.

There was a point in time that Chris Steele stopped talking to the FBI. Both he and Fusion became confused as to the direction of the FBI. This is important because it begs the question whether Comey was colluding with Trump, whether he was being manipulated by Trump or that he was being blackmailed.

a.      They were confused because the FBI reopened the Clinton E Mail investigation
b.     The FBI indicated, in a news story, that they had investigated the Russian issue and found nothing.
c.      They were thinking the FBI was colluding with the Trump campaigned.
d.     The best thing Simpson and Steele could do was to stand down until they figured what was going on.

As this investigation moved forward there was a greater effort to discredit it:
1.     After the election, Steele and Fusion GPS were concerned that the US had just elected someone who was compromised by Russian intelligence.

2.     White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated fake news based on information from William Browder.

a.      William Browder was involved in money laundering from Russia to Cyprus.
b.     Hermitage Capital, Browders hedge fund, set up numerous companies in Cyprus to engage in inward investment into Russia,
c.      They falsely stated
                                                             i.      Fusion took money from Russia
                                                           ii.      Fusion was Democratic linked. Actually, Fusion worked for both sides on many issues.

Of course, I am only forwarding my opinion of what was said in the interview between Simpson and members of congress.  There is much more to the story including the Trump tower meeting, as Trump was eager to collect info about Hillary.

It is clear that this information was presented to the FBI for legitimate reasons and it was to give them direction. I do not understand the concern by many trying to discredit Fusion and Chris Steele.  This information must be confirmed to be legitimate.  If it is not legitimate, then it is just another piece of paper.

The phrase come to mine “Thou protest too much”. Why would they protest so much if the information was not going to be confirmed? The many people protesting this help me to believe the information is real and they are fully involved in the cover-up.
It becomes clearer by the day that the election was compromised and not legitimate.
1.     Ads influence votes. It’s no wonder politicians put so much money into them.
2.     Trump, through Page and others collaborated with the Russians including their Cyber criminal division of their government. This includes the hacking of the Democratic E Mails which influenced the election.
3.     Possible inclusion of Comey in the process to influence votes.
4.     Contact by Russian cyber criminals to actual election processes.

Let the games begin!

Monday, October 16, 2017

No one wants abortion?

We have been backed into a position where we are perceived as pro-abortion. I don’t know anyone who is pro-abortion. Those who say they know someone are immersed in political rhetoric. Abortion is a horrible thing for women to go through. The aborting of a child is also something that everyone should be against. It is devastating for the woman as well as a morality issue. But we continue to hear that we as Democrats want to see more abortions. Shouldn't we want to look forward to the day abortions are only used in emergency situations?
The question becomes, how do we reduce abortions without interfering with the woman’s right to choose? Let's do some critical thinking! Making abortions illegal makes them more dangerous and doesn't resolve the problem, so what are the choices?
Well, abstinence is one. I am not sure our anti-abortion President will be the first to volunteer for that approach. Nor is it realistic for anyone to think they are going to stop millions of people from having sex. I understand that is the view of many religions and I am ok with that.  However, if the pastor of those churches would say "Those without sin cast the first stone", I doubt that anyone would have to take cover due to the enormous amount of stones being thrown.
The reality is the decision to use birth control or have an abortion will always lie with the woman and as much as the political "right" wants big government to control women, they can't.
Consider this: free birth control led to dramatically lower rates of abortions and teen births, a large CBS news study concluded:
“The project tracked more than 9,000 women in St. Louis, many of them poor or uninsured. They were given their choice of a range of contraceptive methods at no cost — from birth control pills to goof-proof options like the IUD or a matchstick-sized implant.
When price wasn't an issue, women flocked to the most effective contraceptives — the implanted options, which typically cost hundreds of dollars up-front to insert. These women experienced far fewer unintended pregnancies as a result, reported Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis..."
There were 6.3 births per 1,000 teenagers in the study. Compare that to a national rate of 34 births per 1,000 teens in 2010. That rate dropped to 24.2 in 2014 due to a combination of abstinence and easy availability of birth control.
Combining abstinence with free birth control, we can make great strides in eliminating the need for abortions. Isn't that what we want? And, of course, Planned Parenthood is a leader in contraceptive distribution. Closing Planned Parenthood equals more abortions.
Given that, according to the Orlando Woman’s Center:
•        One woman dies every 7 minutes around the world due to an unsafe illegal abortion.
And given that:
•        Making abortion illegal or legal has no effect on the total number of abortions.
And given that:
•        Making abortion legal dramatically reduces maternal morbidity and mortality.
And given that:
•        Nearly 50% of pregnancies that occur yearly are unwanted with nearly ½ of those pregnant women terminating their pregnancy. 42 million choose to terminate their pregnancy.
I hereby propose that the Democratic Party support the reduction of abortions by 5% each year through education, supporting churches regarding abstinence especially by underage men and women and through a program of free contraception for everyone who wants it.
And furthermore, the Democratic Party fully support Planned Parenthood and other organizations that support family planning.

With this, the Democratic Party will stand against abortion in a manner that does not interfere with a woman’s right to choose.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The rural South lacks a sense of urgency re: racism

What we see in Charlottesville is only the tip of the iceberg.  Racism has been simmering for a long time and was unleashed by the words of Donald Trump.  In small communities in the South there appears to be a reluctance to react to racism especially in the form of hate incidents.

In my community in Yancey County, North Carolina, there was a hate incident at the local high school.  When mentioned to people in the community, little is known abouth this atrocious act. The reason is because there is a lack of urgency among those who are charged with assuring decency in the community.

In this case, the school covered it up indicating they didn't have a problem.  The reality is that it may not be a school problem as much as it is a community problem.  The local newspaper, when made aware of it, did little or nothing.  And the local NAACP also covered it up saying they would deal with it later.

When a student walks through the school with a cross with two effigies of black people hanging from a noose it becomes clear that there is a problem that needs to be addressed by the community.  This must be dealt with immediately to assure it doesn't escalate into more and more Charlottesville incidents.

It is time to demand a sense of urgency in the rural South!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trickery and Deceit

Trickery and deceit is a way of life for the Monsters, Ogres and Agenda Driven Politicians as they have found ways to maintain the subclass, keeping children in their designated place in a social cast system by manipulating the educational process. Listening to the old worn out phrases gives a hint as to the antiquated thinking used in today´s educational world. “If the school day was longer kids would learn more, or unions are the problem or just raise the bar, or change to a charter school and the problem is solved”. The reality is that none of these artificial changes make a difference.
The elevating of the artificial standardized test to celestial predominance becomes a smoke screen designed to assure a simplistic approach to education. The schools that have the best test scores win, regardless of the gains made by students in that school or what skills those students can actually demonstrate. No consideration is given to those children who have huge obstacles in the way of learning as they are expected to be proficient on the same day and at the same time as demanded by the standards. When those students don’t “succeed” at the same rate in the same way on the test as the selected elite schools, their schools are deemed failures by those Monsters, Ogres and Agenda Driven Politicians.
The trickery and deceit continues as the evil empire embarks on the poverty games. Those school officials then shout from the mountain top, “poverty isn’t destiny” while they continue to maintain an antiquated system that assures most poverty is destiny. Listening to that rhetoric begs the question, which “poverty” are they talking about? Poverty covers those who are damaged by its obstacles as well as those who, with the help of a strong support system, can overcome those obstacles.

It is the goal of the tricksters to convince the public of the racist belief that all poor black children are the same, and their school came to the rescue. The real trick used is to enhance a school population by taking the effort to sort through and identify those in borderline poverty with a strong support system that can score high. Enrolling those students gives them the ability to demean the schools who serve the children who need us the most while maintaining bragging rights.  

Whole Child Reform

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Teachers, have you had enough?


The confirmation bias impacts our thinking in everything from daily living to the politicians for whom we vote. It diminishes the thought process by having us stop short of critical thinking forcing us to believe everything we hear, regardless of its validity. It is time to teach the whole child to rise above this bias and think deeply about all issues.

Teachers, educators, parents, have you had enough? We have been marching and chanting for almost ten years and nothing has happened. It is time to take charge of your classroom and your school. Between the pages of my upcoming book is a step by step guideline designed to subvert the school in the best interest of children.

Now is the time to take back the school from the Monsters, Ogres and Agenda Driven Politicians and give it to the teachers, parents and students where it belongs.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Fail for success

Learning is a constant flow of problem solving experiences driven by the reality that failure is not only an option but an integral tool guiding students on their pathway to success. Why shouldn’t school be the same? 
In today's artificial world, failure in school is about the most devastating experience one can have. If you do not give the answers the textbook wants, you will fail. Regardless of thinking, the answer is the answer. Columbus discovered America right? If you lie and answer "correctly" you will succeed. If you use critical thinkng, and say it might have been Marco Polo or Leif Erickson, or others, you will fail.
A great example here is WD-40. The 40 in that lubricant refers to the 39 failures leading to the 40th success.  However, in school, those 39 failures would have put you into the streets on a cycle of poverty. Whether it is Milton Hershey, Norm Larson, Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan or anyone who achieved real success, failure was the reason why.
What if a teacher assigned the class a project for the science fair? And what if the teacher indicated the students would be assessed based on .the number of failures they had developing that project? Would the students then picked the easy project, one that had the smallest level of challenge?
Now, what if you told the students, they would receive a higher assessment based on a higher number of failires? The more failures, the better the assessment.
Just sayin'