Aug 7, 2019

Schools balance safety vs. rights

Students at William Hackett Middle School pass through metal detectors in Albany, N.Y. Photo: Mike Groll/AP

As America confronts a mass shooting crisis, schools are increasingly having to balance proactivity on potential school shooters vs. privacy laws and civil liberties meant to protect individuals.

Why it matters: Connor Betts, who killed 9 people this weekend in Dayton, Ohio, was suspended during high school for writing a "hit list" and rape list, the AP reports.

The big picture: As of the 2017-2018 school year, 44% of public schools had threat assessment teams and 49% had systems for anonymous reporting of threats, the AP notes, citing Education Department data.

  • “They put the pieces together and look at all these moving parts together, put the puzzle together,” Mac Hardy, operations director for the National Association of School Resource Officers, told AP.
  • “The parents are interviewed by a school counselor. Are there weapons inside the home? Where are they kept?” Hardy said. “There’s a whole list of questions that they discuss. The teachers have a list of questions that they respond to in writing. You get a lot of information when you do this correctly.”

Between the lines: As Axios has previously noted, U.S. children are increasingly at the center of surveillance via facial recognition.

  • Scaling out such efforts is likely to run into the same issues that already plague our criminal justice system — particularly biases against young men of color.
  • And there's little evidence yet that this technology keeps kids safer, according to Axios' Kaveh Waddell.

The bottom line: No school program is going to end this crisis. But at this point, so long as the right advocates are allowed in the room, anything just might help.

Go deeper

Coroner finds suspected Dayton shooter had drugs in his system during attack

A memorial to mass shooting victims outside Ned Peppers Bar on Aug. 5, near the scene of the massacre in Dayton, Ohio. Photo: Megan Jelinger/AFP/Getty Images

Police in Dayton, Ohio, said that 24-year-old Connor Betts shot 26 people in 32 seconds before officers killed him in the Aug. 4 attack that left 10 dead, including the gunman, WHIO TV reports.

The latest: The gunman had cocaine, antidepressants and alcohol in his system during the shooting, AP reports, citing the Montgomery County coroner. A U.S. magistrate judge ordered that 24-year-old Ethan Kollie be held without bond on Thursday. Kollie, a friend of Betts, purchased body armor and a high-capacity magazine used in the shooting. Kollie has been charged with "lying on a federal firearms form while buying a pistol not used in the attack," per AP.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 15, 2019

Public school fees are soaring in America

Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

The cost of a public education is increasing annually as some schools flood students and parents with fees to cover everything from alert systems and textbooks to anatomy class cadavers, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The big picture: "The cost of a free public education is on the rise, as a growing number of districts across the U.S. are charging students for registration, textbooks, the use of libraries and more," the WSJ reports.

Go deeperArrowAug 24, 2019

New Texas laws loosening gun restrictions officially go into effect

Police cars and tape block off a crime scene nearby to where a gunman was shot and killed at Cinergy Odessa movie theater. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

A slate of new Texas laws intended to loosen gun restrictions went into effect on Sunday, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The new measures, passed by Republican state legislators in the last session, became law 1 day after Texas' 2nd mass shooting in August. Texas has had 4 of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in U.S. modern history, according to CNN. The laws will make it easier to carry firearms in several places, including schools and churches.

Go deeperArrowSep 1, 2019