Monday, December 17, 2012

Mass Shootings: Obama Has Lost Count

President Obama seems to have lost count of the number of incidents in just his four years in office. In tonight's remarks, he says this was the 4th time he's had to address people after a mass shooting. Then he named the four. He seems to have forgotten Chardon Ohio from earlier this year where three died and three others were injured, one very seriously.

"Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time we’ve hugged survivors, the fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims ... If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try." ~~ Barack Obama

GCSD: School Safety Remains Our Top Priority

Greece Central School District leaders have received a number of inquires from parents and staff members unable to reconcile the events last week in Newtown, CT. This unimaginable tragedy has left a lot of questions about school safety and emergency preparedness. As educators, ensuring the safety and well-being of our students is our number one priority.

Please be assured that Greece has many safeguards in place to protect students and staff. On Sunday, December 16, the Superintendent Barbara Deane-Williams, her safety team and a Greece Police representative met to double check safety protocols. Our schools have centralized main offices, video surveillance cameras and well thought out emergency plans. All staff members have been specially trained to detect and respond to issues of concern and we continuously work with the Greece Police Department and other local emergency responders to ensure we are prepared for any circumstance. Officers work with district security staff throughout the year; they are familiar with each campus, building entry and exit points and classroom layouts.

In the coming days, we will carefully reevaluate our current emergency procedures and the effectiveness of those measures. The Greece Police also remain vigilant in their protection of our community. They have committed extra resources to our schools this week and we thank them for their dedication and partnership.

It is equally important that we listen to and respond to the emotional needs of our students and staff. We will support students in developmentally appropriate ways and provide age appropriate information and counseling but only when prompted by the students themselves.

Experts feel strongly that it is important for children to remain in their normal routines, therefore, we would like to keep the school day as normal as possible. Please assist us in this effort.

SCATS ~~ I heard on the news tonight that this shooter used his weapon to shoot through the door, to gain entry. The building had a buzzer system in place. They had done their lockdown drills. Things were pretty much on par with what GCSD offers for security. Obviously, security isn't working. Even a cop inside with a weapon can't stop this kind of rampage. The focus MUST turn to some other solution. Should the emotionally disturbed be "mainstreamed" within our society? Should we limit who gets weapons, the types and the numbers?


Anonymous said...

No place is safe.

Anonymous said...

Here's an example of how screwed up Monroe County is. I know someone who was able to obtain a gun permit despite having a mental health history (PTSD) and heavy pain medication. Why should this person be granted a gun permit??? Did anyone bother to check with the doctors?
And if someone wants a gun they are going to get one despite gun control laws.

Anonymous said...

Blaming the weapon for a school shooting is no different from blaming the car in a DWI wreck!

Liberals generally tend to look for quick solutions to problems they helped build over decades. Their track record for not finding solutions is obvious.

Anonymous said...

No one can "guarantee" safety of any environment. And the security measures that Sandy Hook and Greece have in place (or any other establishment for that matter) become less effective when the person perpetrating the crime is KNOWN to those individuals controlling access. You never know when someone is going to "snap" - could be your neighbor, husband, wife or your own child...even though it scares the liver out of us to admit that. This young man was KNOWN to school staff, he would have been permitted to enter the premises -- no amount of security would have prevented this tragedy -- perhaps minimized it, yes....but PREVENTED it? Not going to happen in our lifetimes. Sad, but true. We all need to be sensitive to the realities that we do our best to ensure the security and safety of employees and students (in the case of school settings), but sometimes that just isn't enough.

My heart breaks for the families of these young people - and for the Lanza family that has to try to make sense of the senseless.

SCATS said...

To 11:39AM ~~ Interesting you asked this since I saw a reporter talking about Monroe County's pistol permit process just the other night. You can download the instructions & forms online at:

They do ask if you have ever suffered from a mental illness, received treatment etc. It states that being on meds and/or receiving mental health services is NOT an automatic dismissal. Maybe this needs to change.

SCATS said...

To 1:10PM ~~ I'm not sure if he was "known" to anyone there. Since Friday, it turns out his mother had no record of even volunteering there, let alone having ever worked there. Initial info has almost entirely changed regarding her and him and their connections to the school. He gained access by shooting through locked doors (as of last night's late news).

Anonymous said...

SCATS what do you think about the mom who owned so many guns while her son was mentally disabled? Do you think she had some responsibility? Was it really necessary to own that many guns knowing your son had a lack of affect?

Anonymous said...

12:17-Cars are not designed/created to kill people. Assault weapons ARE. Big difference!

Anonymous said...

1:10- How would the staff have "known" him? He was dressed in "battle gear" and. MASK! Would YOU have let him in?

SCATS said...

To 3:54PM ~~ I'll reserve comment about your more specific question since so many details we first heard have changed one or more times. In the bigger picture, how many guns are enough for ONE PERSON to own??

To 4:35PM ~~ Really, I think the whole buzzer system/camera method of security has become obsolete in light of this attack. If someone WANTS TO GAIN ENTRY, they will. I know that's a very unsettling thought, but it's true. Even your home is vulnerable DESPITE having a security/alarm system in place. By the time help arrives, the damage is largely done.

The "solution" here isn't at the school level. It's at the weapon/citizen level.

Anonymous said...

While rendering schools impenetrable to those external threats who choose to unleash violence is possible, it is not financially nor reasonably possible. Schools are meant to be semi public facilities and unless we want to turn them into prisons we can't get there! There are some simple changes that would minimize the possibility of an incident and reduce the carnage in such an event.

First, we must change public perception(the belief that parents have open access to all areas of a school) and then limit access to a small portion of the school in a well monitored enclosed space.
Second, we must maintain a secure perimeter. No doors unlocked or propped(harsh consequences for students and staff who violate), No parking or standing in bus loops, single point access through double doors.
Third, all staff and students wear visible ID - NO EXCEPTIONS OR IMMEDIATE REMOVAL FROM PREMISES.

Sadly GCSD last year terminated 5 security staff and reduced the Head of Security hours from 40 to 20 per week and reduced him from 52to 39 weeks. Since, two guards have been rehired at reduced hours. SRO's(Police officers) have been eliminated to save a paltry $70,000 out of a $199,000,000 budget. These are not the actions of a School District that has the interest of safety in mind. Parents of children and staff should be appalled at such cheapening by the District.

Another issue that needs to be brought to the forefront is the falsified documents being provided by Admin and Senior Security personnel regarding school incidents. This is an intentional misreporting of violence, weapons, drugs, and harassing behavior. There are serious statistical anomolies in the report by Heiden. This is an unethical and illegal attempt to portray certain schools as better than others. It is a lie to parents, superintendent, and school board members.

It is time for full public disclosure of the true state of our schools. Only then will meaningful changes be made to protect children and staff from both internal and external threats. We deserve to know the truth! We deserve to make the changes necessary to reduce the threat and strengthen our ability to respond in the event of a serious emergency.

While these ideas do not ensure absolute safety, they go a long way in improving what we endure today.

Anonymous said...

I could point out that the then Sen Obama said he had visited all 57 states, but why bother? So he is mathematically challenged!

The fact is that we can do better and we can work to find ways to control weapons and provide people the guns for hunting and sport while providing safeguards for those of us who chose not to "pack"

Countries like Sweden and Norway have gun ownership about half of the US (still way above the restrictive countries) and yet have a gun death rate that is 1/8 of the US rate. Why/ Why/ Why?

Anonymous said...

We should really take a look at "Goth" students more closely. Seems there might be a correlation.

Anonymous said...

All the more reason schools should be keeping kids from wearing hoods and hats, and carrying bookbags that could contain weapons. Schools used to ban these, but now they don't seem to care.

SCATS said...

To 6:52PM ~~ I'd like to hear MORE about the doctored incident report. PLEASE ELABORATE. Thank you :)

To 7:10PM ~~ Another point of pride, a Prez that can't count & doesn't know how many statyes we have. And to think that people made fun of Dubbya.

Anonymous said...

Really Babsiepoo, you want me to believe GCSD has a secure facility? OK, how about if I also believe in the Easter Bunny & Santa too. Will you come by the old folks home and pop out of a cake wearing just a danceskin if we all promise to believe in Santa?

Lets get real Babs, GCSD with the possible exception of the Central Office penthouse where you and your plas hang is nothing but a damn shooting gallery if an Adam Lanza shows up. Care to point out a damn thing you oradmin has done toward securing GCSD?

The CCTV system you're so proud of is barely functional, and the people monitoring it have little more than 10% knowledge of how to make the features work. Your predecessor blew a ton of Fed Tax money on a system you and your crew have abandoned.

How about that $15,000 3 ring binder on school crisis management Babsie? Ya know where that's collecting dust?

Training, what training, human nature covers run and crap your pants, and that's all your spineless crowd know to do.

Here's a hint Babs, the first 2 women down at Sandy Hook used your system, they ran toward an active shooter with no plan or EDUCATION in how to handle the situation. Put an active shooter in any GCSD building and you'll get bodies just like Sandy Hook.

Admit it Babs, you're clueless, and the ILLUSION of security is the best you got, along with the illusion GCSD provides young people with an education. Quit spewing crap Babs!

Anonymous said...

To 8:31~~ The documents are not doctored. Some schools are under reporting to district for the safe schools reporting required by NYS. There are documented incidents at some locations where referrals and incident reports are destroyed or marked as FYI(not entered on student behavioral record).

SCATS said...

To 8:28AM ~~ And the only "payoff" for this is that certain schools look better on paper? Or is GCSD avoiding some sort of oversight by the state, reduction of funds, etc. if the reported numbers were higher?

Anonymous said...

They risk being considered a "persistently dangerous" school....and the sanctions that come along with that.

SCATS said...

To 1:25PM ~~ Is it that bad at Olympia now? How close to that is Athena?

Anonymous said...

To 9:44~~I'm surprised that you need to ask with GCSD's history of disinformation, double speak, and deception over the past 15 years. Follow the logic and the truth will present itself.

Multiple reasons to under report:
1. Stay off NYS unsafe/underperforming list
2. Mislead taxpayers and parents to foster an untrue belief that children are safe
3. Justify cuts to staff and disolution of SRO program
4. Protect persistent problem students for graduation metric or personal gratification

The Districts tarnished jewel of the west had 2 "weapon in school" incidents recently. One resulted in arrest yesterday for an armed confrontation - not sure of specific charge. Other result unknown. Each was perpetrated by high flyers known to be so for years by staff, but left to ply their own brand of bullying and violence.

As recommended earlier, top level District staff needs to make every effort to get out into the schools to observe for themselves. They need to interview all levels of staff and not just those with a vested interest in their own public image. Isn't it about education and safety and not self promotion?

SCATS said...

To 8:13PM ~~ I have a pretty good idea of what's going on in general terms. People hear it better coming from others. Thank you for the specifics. So there was an armed confrontation with a student at OA yesterday, is that correct?? Or did you mean Pine Brook?

Anonymous said...

Might be a good idea for that SamRoss fellow to come to work for GCSD. He has the police experience, and likes working with boys.
Thanks to the DA he won't have a record, so he should pass GCSD's background check, and Sam looks like he needs a job so he should work cheap.

Looks like a Greece win/win to me.

SCATS said...

To 1:25AM ~~ Please don't give them any ideas!

Anonymous said...

And who do you think brokered the deal with the DA's office? None other than Baxter.

SCATS said...

To 8:40AM ~~ Exactly WHAT "deal" do you mean? Firing him is a "deal?" They both told us early on that if he did his class & remained well-behaved for 6 months that nothing would show on his record, just as it would also be clean for any of us. Frankly, I anticipated that Ross would get to stay. I'm glad he's been fired. It's the RIGHT DECISION.

Anonymous said...

T'was 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven's gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn't know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
"where are we?" asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
"this is heaven." declared a small boy. "we're spending Christmas at God's house."
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus' face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, "I'll take care of mom and dad."
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
"Let My power and presence re-enter this land!"
"may this country be delivered from the hands of fools"
"I'm taking back my nation. I'm taking back my schools!"
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
"come now my children, let me show you around."
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
"in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT."

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA


Anonymous said...

To 9:55~~ No not OA nor PB. Your assumptions just go to prove my point in 8:13 post. There is much to be gained by the schools that under report. It removes them from under the district and community microscope. With eyes on Olympia and OA, Athena is forgotten.

In the past 3 weeks alone Athena experienced the armed robbery of one student by another, a knife recovered from a student’s locker after a threat was made, and the school whose students conducted a loop party off campus (purportedly attended by a GCSD Board member’s child). It was also the school that had the main entrance unstaffed for nearly an hour one day this week.

But lets get back to the original topic. Students and staff need to be protected from internal as well as external threats to their safety. Doing the best we can to reduce internal problems now will minimize the potential for more violent future events. Only in recognizing the true extent of these current threats can we implement measures to improve our schools safety.

SCATS said...

To 8:12AM ~~ My "assumptions" were based upon your misleading description: "The Districts tarnished jewel of the west" I've never heard any such description for Athena even though I know that school has its own issues. So does Arcadia for that matter. Without people such as you to tell us, how are we to know?