Tag Archives: students

Students nationwide stage walkouts for stricter gun laws after last month’s deadly school shooting in Florida

Students across the country — from middle school to college — began planned walkouts Wednesday, calling on state and federal legislators to enact stricter gun laws one month after the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Seventeen students and staff members were killed at the school in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. On Wednesday, 3,000 schools across the nation planned to leave class at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes — one minute for each victim.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas, two walkouts took place. Citing safety concerns, student government officials and administrators urged students not to leave campus, but to walk to the football field with teachers. Some students balked at the idea of a chaperoned walkout, saying they wanted to get off campus and spread their message to the broader public.

As students made their way to the football field, past a sculpture of the school Eagle mascot, they walked hand in hand or with their arms around each other. Only a few carried placards. There were no chants. Helicopters buzzed overhead.

David Hogg, 17, one of several students at the school who’ve gained national prominence for advocating gun control, live streamed the walkout on his YouTube channel.

“We have to stand up now and take action,” Hogg said. He interviewed several of his classmates.

“This is about the need for change,” another student told Hogg.

Organized by the youth branch of the Women’s March, called Empower, the National School Walkout is urging Congress to take meaningful action on gun violence and pass federal legislation that would ban assault weapons and require universal background checks for gun sales.

In Massachusetts and Ohio, students said they would head to the statehouse to lobby for new gun regulations. In Washington, D.C., hundreds of students gathered outside the White House, holding signs and marching quietly.

In Maryland, students at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute poured out the back doors of the school and onto the football field. Many of them laid down on the football field. Hundreds of Baltimore students left school to march to City Hall, calling for an end to gun violence in schools and on the city’s streets.

In Illinois, high school students from Barrington to Plainfield to Naperville to Chicago have worked with peers and school administrators and prepared signs and speeches as part of the national movement designed to prevent mass shootings and gun violence that have devastated their schools and communities for decades.

With nearly 3,000 walkouts planned across the country — at elementary schools, high schools and universities — organizers published a “tool kit” online that offered students tips on how to organize, get support from parents and guardians and share information on social media.

Earlier this week, Robert W. Runcie, superintendent of Broward County schools in Florida, notified parents he had instructed staff not to interfere with peaceful student-led protests.

“Such occasions are teachable moments, during which students can demonstrate their 1st Amendment right to be heard,” Runcie wrote in a letter to parents. “In the event students walk out or gather, school principals and assigned staff will remain with students in a designated walkout area, so that supervision is in place.”

Over the last month, students across Florida and the nation have staged spontaneous walkouts, with some leading to disciplinary action. Two weeks after the Parkland shooting, dozens of students at Ingleside Middle School in the Phoenix area were given one-day suspensions after they walked off campus.

In Needville, Texas, 20 miles southwest of Houston, Superintendent Curtis Rhodes warned students that anyone who left class would be suspended for three days, even if they had permission from their parents.

“Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative,” Rhodes wrote in a letter to parents posted on social media. “We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved.”

On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union issued advice for students who walk out, saying schools can’t legally punish them more harshly because of the political nature of their message. In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas, some lawyers said they will provide free legal help to students who are punished.

In Parkland, school officials urged students not to leave campus.

“We’re just trying to protect the students,” said Jaclyn Corin, 17, the high school’s junior class president. “We’re telling everyone not to leave campus, but we can’t stop them.”

Hogg said he worried students would be “a group of soft targets” if they left campus.

Yet some students balked at the idea of a chaperoned walkout, saying they wanted to get off campus and spread their message to the broader public.

When the first bell rang Wednesday at the high school, Susana Matta Valdivieso was not sitting in Spanish class. Instead, the 17-year-old junior was hauling a stack of handwritten placards across a community park in the hope that her classmates would eventually come outside and join her.

“I’m nervous and excited because I’ve never spoken in front of a crowd of people before,” Valdivieso said with laughter as she leafed through the speech she had typed up the night before.

While student government leaders and administrators were urging Parkland students to remain on campus and walk with teachers to the school football field, Valdivieso was hoping to coax students off school grounds to take part in a public rally at the nearby North Community Park.

“This is a student-led movement,” Valdivieso said after dispatching two close friends into the school with a plan to lead their classmates outside. “We want to communicate our message to the press and the public.”

In Florida, the Parkland students’ protests in recent weeks have seen some results.

Last week, Gov. Rick Scott, in a rebuke of the National Rifle Assn., signed into law a measure that, among other things, raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and bans the sale or possession of “bump stocks,” which allow semiautomatic rifles to mimic machine guns.

The walkouts on Wednesday are among several protests planned for coming weeks. The March for Our Lives rally for school safety is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to the nation’s capital on March 24, its organizers said. And another round of school walkouts is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.

By Jenny Jarvie and Kurtis Lee/LaTimes


posted by The NON-Conformist


Baltimore Mayor Pugh and Laura Ingraham Go At It Over Gun Protest

More on this story from Mediate

Posted by Libergirl

New Initiative Sponsors 100 HBCU Students to Attend SXSW Tech Conference

In a push to get more Black Americans involved in the world of tech, a slew of organizations have teamed up with South by Southwest Conventions and Festivals to help more than 100 African-American students attend the bustling interactive, film and music festival in Austin, Texas, this year.

Thanks to the new HBCU@SXSW initiative, 100 students from historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, were granted the opportunity to take part in one of the largest tech industry events in the country. Last year, the interactive festival attracted over 72,000 of the nation’s brightest thought leaders, investors, future partners and influencers.

While there are millions of African-Americans across the nation who are both interested in and qualified to work in the world of STEM, Blacks and other nonwhite groups remain largely underrepresented in the tech industry. Industry giants like Google, Microsoft and Facebook have taken heat in recent years over their failure to hire a workforce that’s as diverse as its consumer base. Just last year, Google’s very first diversity report showed that 30 percent of its staff was female and a mere 2 percent of its employees were Black.

HBCU@SXSW organizer Rodney Sampson saw the need for increased diversity in the tech world and decided to do something about it by sponsoring the next generation of engineers to mix and mingle with top-tier tech leaders at SXSW 2017. The inventive program was able to fund just 50 students in its first year, but more than 440 went through the onerous application process to be considered for the program this year, USA Today reported.

“We picked the students who wanted to solve the biggest problems using technology and had some pretty good ideas about it,” said Sampson, an Atlanta-based tech entrepreneur. “We’ve really kind of emancipated SXSW to a degree.”

Many of the program’s students were hand-picked from top-notch HBCUs like Morehouse College in Atlanta and D.C.’s Howard University, according to USA Today. Budding engineers also were selected from well-known institutions including New York’s Medgar Evers College, Tuskegee University and Kennesaw State University.

Leading tech companies like Google, Mail Chimp, Snapchat and Apple, among others, soon took notice of HBCU@SXSW and began funding the initiative. Currently, over 30 companies support the pro-diversity program, each putting up the estimated $3,000 it takes to send just one student to the annual festival. HBCU@SXSW hopes to expand its program in the coming years to send as many as 500 budding Black engineers to the popular event.

“Diversity grows out of the soil of inclusion,” said Cheryl Wade, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Booz Allen Hamilton, which also supports the program. “It starts with making the hires and finding the talent, but there is work to be done on the side of the companies and organizations to be sure they’re building a culture where it creates an environment that people can stick, stay and thrive.”

Rodney Sampson has not responded to requests for comment.

By Tanasia Kenney/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

What Can Hillary Clinton Or Bernie Sanders Do To Save The Nation’s HBCU’s?

Image: Black America Web.com

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, has promised to revitalize historically black colleges if she is elected to the White House.

“We’re going to work closely with (HBCUs) … because they serve some of America’s brightest students, who need the most support and too often have gotten the least of it,” Clinton wrote in a position paper.

Clinton’s plan for financing education includes a $25 billion fund to support private nonprofit schools that serve low and middle-income students, which includes HBCUs.

According to a September 2014 policy paper from the University of Pennsylvania, about 28,000 HBCU students were unable to cover their tuition costs.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) held a packed rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta last month that 5,000 people attended. Sanders is trying hard to court Black voters. He knows Clinton has broad support in the African-American community but he believes he can galvanize young African-Americans and challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

More from Black America Web

Posted by The NON-Conformist


3 Muslim Students Murdered in North Carolina

Posted by Libergirl


Police charged a North Carolina man Wednesday with the murderof three Muslim students, but any motive for the shooting wasn’t immediately clear.

The shooting occurred about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, when police responded to gunfire and found the three victims dead in their apartment in Chapel Hill. All three were shot in the head, WRAL reports. The suspect Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, described himself online as an “anti-theist,” according to a local ABC affiliate. Police said he turned himself in and has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

The victims were identified as Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, and his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Abu-Salha’s sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19, of Raleigh, the Charlotte Observer reports.

Barakat was a second-year dental student at UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Dentistry. He was an advocate for global dental health and planned to travel to Turkey this summer to treat…

View original post 192 more words

Teacher told class she’d kill all black people if given 10 days to live: student’s mom

Image: Raw Story

A North Carolina teacher is under investigation for racist remarks students said she made in class.

Cynthia Ramsey, who teaches math at Camden County High School, was speaking to a student eating lunch in the classroom when she discussed an item on her “bucket list,” the student’s mother said.

“She conveyed to me that Mrs. Ramsey had indicated that if she only had 10 days to live that she would kill all black people,” mother Kimberly Ashcraft told WAVY-TV.

Ashcraft said other students were nearby when Ramsey made the comment.

“I was completely shocked,” Ashcraft said. “I asked her again, ‘Are you sure that was what you heard?’ I could not have imagined a teacher saying that.”

The sheriff told the TV station that other students confirmed the details, and Ramsey was suspended without pay.

More including video from the Raw Story

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Colorado Students Organize Walkout to Protest History Curriculum Changes

Posted by the NON-Conformist