Monday, March 26, 2018

PA Ed Policy Roundup March 26: Statewide: Thousands Join ‘March for Our Lives’ Protests Against Gun Violence

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Statewide: Thousands Join ‘March for Our Lives’ Protests Against Gun Violence
York, Red Lion, Lancaster, Beaver County, Centre County, Scranton, Hazelton, Greensburg, Stroudsburg, Mercer County, Lewisburg, Erie, Harrisburg, Allentown, Easton, Pittsburgh, Doylestown, West Chester, Pottstown, Berks County, Delaware County, Philly

Marching is great, voting is even better. Register by April 16th.
If you know someone who will turn 18 by May 15th here in PA, they must register now to vote in that election. The deadline is April 16th.

Tweet from PA Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman March 24, 2018
Senator Jake Corman‏ @JakeCorman
Thank you to all who participated in #MarchForOurLives today. It was democracy at work. School safety was a predominant theme yesterday at the @StateCollegeSD legislative roundtable w/ school leaders from around Centre County.

“The students, he said, are demanding an assault weapons ban, prohibition of sales of high-capacity magazines and universal background checks. But Kasky said this won't happen if his peers across the nation don't get more involved. "The youth of America needs to step up and start voting. (You) see the statistics. It's an embarrassing turnout," Kasky said Sunday on the CBS program "Face the Nation." Compared with 2012, voter turnout for millennials, those ages 18 to 35, increased to just below 50 percent in the last presidential election, according to the Pew Research Center and U.S. Census data. But that turnout still lags behind other generations.”
Anguished students take aim at gun laws, next election
Inquirer by MARTHA IRVINE, The Associated Press Updated: MARCH 25, 2018 — 4:36 PM EDT
Charlie Goodman looked at the massive crowd around him, the largest youth-led protest in Washington since the Vietnam War era. He listened to people speak about toughening gun laws. They included some of his peers at the Florida high school who've sparked this movement, as well as the 9-year-old granddaughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King.  When she spoke, he was moved to tears. "This is truly a revolution," said Goodman, a sophomore at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were gunned down last month. "We can really change the world." The marches unified hundreds of thousands of people in cities across the country and have galvanized this movement, he and others say. Now they are vowing to get young voters registered and send a message in upcoming elections.

Students lead hundreds of thousands in nationwide rallies for tougher gun laws
Morning Call by ASHRAF KHALIL and CALVIN WOODWARD Associated Press March 24, 2018
Summoned to action by student survivors of the Florida school shooting, hundreds of thousands of teenagers and their supporters rallied in the nation's capital and cities across America on Saturday to press for gun control in one of the biggest youth protests since the Vietnam era. "If you listen real close, you can hear the people in power shaking," David Hogg, a survivor who has emerged as one of the student leaders of the movement, told the roaring crowd of demonstrators at the March for Our Lives rally in Washington. He warned: "We will get rid of these public servants who only care about the gun lobby."Chanting "Vote them out!" and bearing signs reading "We Are the Change," ''No More Silence" and "Keep NRA Money Out of Politics," hundreds of thousands of protesters packed Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House.

Thousands Join ‘March for Our Lives’ Protests Against Gun Violence
Rallies demanding stricter firearm laws take place across America
Wall Street Journal By WSJ Staff Updated March 24, 2018 5:58 p.m. ET (paywall)
Hundreds of thousands of young people and their supporters gathered Saturday in rallies from California to Connecticut to demand stricter gun laws in America. The student-led March for Our Lives aimed to ride momentum for gun-control activism that began in February after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

'Get Your Resume Ready': David Hogg Warns NRA-Supported Lawmakers of 2018 Wave
Fox News Mar 24, 2018 // 2:01pm 
Florida shooting survivor David Hogg called on those in attendance at the "March for Our Lives" to vote out legislators supportive of the National Rifle Association. "The cold grasp of corruption shackles the District of Columbia," the 17-year-old said on stage at the Washington rally. Hogg urged marchers to show up in force in the 2018 elections to vote out lawmakers who hold opposing views on the Second Amendment. Dressed in a gray suit with a orange price tag hanging from a buttonhole, Hogg said marchers must "make this the voting issue." The price tag was intended to represent what Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) received from the NRA's legislative arm, divided by the number of students killed at his high school, Hogg said.

'No more silence': York marches against gun violence
York Dispatch by Lindsay C. VanAsdalan, 717-505-5450/@lcvanasdalan Published 2:18 p.m. ET March 24, 2018 | Updated 8:17 p.m. ET March 24, 2018
Hundreds of people poured onto East Market Street in downtown York City for one of many sibling marches to the national March For Our Lives movement Saturday, March 24.
Local students had their own reasons for speaking up against gun violence and advocating for changes in legislation. 'Because I don't want my school or any school to be next," said Dover Area High School junior Ethan Snyder. "I think it's time — past time — to make a difference (and) have our voice be heard." "Any school could be next," added fellow Dover junior Nico Shearer. "Doesn't matter where you live or how safe it is." For West Perry High School seniors Tara Smith, Jaydn Donnelly and Addison Thomas — along with former classmate Victoria Ziegler, who now attends York College — coming to the march was important to prove to their classmates that there is a need for change. In a rural county like Perry — about an hour north of York County — they said, many people don't understand that changing gun laws does not mean taking away Second Amendment rights.

Red Lion school shooting survivors lead gun violence protest in York
Written by Brett Sholtis/WITF News | Mar 24, 2018 4:56 PM
The protest was inspired by the students who survived the Parkland, Florida school shooting, but it became a reunion for those who witnessed a York County school shooting 15 years ago. Members of the 2007 and 2008 Red Lion High School graduating class led a March for Our Lives protest that drew hundreds from around the region. At the rally held in front of York's courthouse, they shared stories about how they were affected by an April 24, 2003 morning when a 14-year-old classmate walked into the junior high school cafeteria, murdered the school principal with a handgun and shot himself.  The protest came as hundreds of thousands gathered in Washington, D.C. and around the country to push for stricter gun laws. Red Lion survivor Lauren Beard said current gun laws have left children at risk, and those laws need to change. "I'm here to tell you that surviving a school shooting is of little consolation in a society where they continue to have them," Beard said. "What does the freedom provided by the Constitution really mean, when our children are not safe?"

Several thousand rally against gun violence in March for Our Lives Lancaster [video]
Lancaster Online by LINDSEY BLEST | Staff Writer March 24, 2018
Fifteen-year-old Bella Rankin paused when asked why she stood with a crowd filling Binns Park for March for Our Lives Lancaster on Saturday. “Let me think of the best way to say this,” the Hempfield High School student said. “I am here because my classmates' lives are more important than guns.” While hundreds of thousands gathered in Washington D.C. and cities around the country to march in support of gun reform and against gun violence, several thousand made their way through downtown Lancaster in a march of their own. The march was a response to the Feb. 14 massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. About 30 high school and college students from Lancaster County and the region helped put the event together, according to student coordinator Jacob Ruzow, a senior at Stone Independent School. The event started with a march from Clipper Magazine Stadium that ended at Binns Park, where a series of speakers presented. “I think we inspired a lot of young kids, teenagers and adults,” said Tahri Phillips, a junior at Linden Hall, who helped with planning.“They know that they can do so much more now.”

Hundreds attend gun-control rally outside Beaver County Courthouse
Beaver County Times By Dani Fitzgerald, Posted Mar 24, 2018 at 7:30 PM
BEAVER — Standing in solidarity with victims of gun violence, hundreds of students, teachers and local residents chanted, “Enough is enough,” during a March for Our Lives rally Saturday outside the Beaver County Courthouse. More than 830 rallies and marches took place across the country Saturday in response to last month’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Each march echoed the same demand for “common sense” gun laws. “Today, young people are taking to the streets,” Amy Fazio, a member of the New Brighton Area School Board and a candidate for state representative of the 14th District, said to the crowd of more than 300. “Today, young people are saying the time is now.” Each speaker said that change starts after the march, particularly in the voting booths. “Today’s rally is not the end,” said Grace Dubois, a graduate of Beaver Area High School. “Tomorrow, we must call our representatives. We will vote to end gun violence.”

March for our Lives Centre County: 'Our country cannot go on like this'
Centre Daily Times BY SHAWN ANNARELLI March 24, 2018 12:21 PM Updated March 24, 2018 05:04 PM
It's life or death, a choice between the availability of the most lethal guns in America and generation Z's survival, at times in school. And it's already too late for some children, but it doesn't have to be for others, State College senior Kayla Fatemi said. Fatemi has been evolving as the face of a national movement on a local scale. She was one of several State College High School students who organized the community's March For Our Lives gathering, one of thousands taking place nationwide Saturday to support gun control, protest gun violence and rally to encourage people to vote. "We were all born after Columbine and have never known a world where school shootings were a rare occurrence," Fatemi said through a megaphone to a crowd of hundreds. "We open Twitter every day to see a new tragic gun-related massacre has occurred somewhere in America. And we are as used to secure-in-place drills as we are fire drills.... Our country cannot go on like this." Their reasons for organizing a March For Our Lives event can't be simplified down to a pro-gun versus anti-gun argument. That would be unconstitutional, senior Bea Belmonte said. "When we talk about gun control, we aren't talking about getting rid of all guns," she said. "We believe in every amendment, including the 2nd amendment. We don't want to take away people's rights. We're saying there should be somewhere that we draw a line to make a difference between people who want to protect themselves or go hunting versus people who would want to hurt other people." The three-hour protest over gun-related issues and school shootings was launched at State College's high school before hundreds marched to Old Main for a rally.

Scranton, Hazelton: Rallies held around region to protest gun violence
Students and activists around the nation on Saturday joined the call to end gun violence.
In coordination with the ‘March for Our Lives’ in Washington, D.C., marches and rallies were also held around the region, including in Scranton and Hazleton. Local students became the voices in Scranton for peers they never met and victims of gun violence. They made powerful pleas Saturday for politicians to change laws and for gun violence to never come to Northeast Pennsylvania. They said, “Never again,” echoing the vow of young activists who attended a march in Washington on Saturday in the wake of the Feb. 14 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In Hazleton, more than 300 people took to the streets Saturday to demonstrate against gun violence. The student-led contingent chanted “Enough is enough” and carried signs with messages like “Thoughts and prayers don’t stop bullets.” The Scranton March for Our Lives swelled through the city from Olive Street to Lackawanna County Courthouse Square, filling downtown streets with chants for change.

200 turn out for Greensburg's student-organized March for Our Lives Rally
Trib Live by JAMIE MARTINES  | Friday, March 23, 2018, 7:12 p.m.
About 200 people joined the March for Our Lives rally held Friday afternoon outside the Westmore­land County Courthouse. The Greensburg rally, which was hosted by the progressive activism group Voice of Westmoreland along with Westmoreland County Young Democrats, was one of more than 800 events registered with the national March for Our Lives organization taking place this weekend. In addition to a main march scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., today, marches focused on ending gun violence and mass shootings in schools are scheduled for cities across the country, including Pittsburgh.

Stroudsburg: March For Our Lives: Area students say enough is enough
By Patrick Campbell / Pocono Record Writer Posted Mar 24, 2018 at 3:37 PM Updated Mar 24, 2018 at 9:34 PM
STROUDSBURG — More than 100 demonstrators gathered in Stroudsburg on Saturday morning to join the thousands across the nation participating in the March For Our Lives event to promote gun control and safety in schools. Chants of “Enough is enough” echoed up and down Main Street for more than an hour as participants made sure their voices and opinions on the controversial subject were heard. “We are frustrated by the fact that there has been no progress on assault rifles, violence and gun violence in general,” said Kate Bullard, march organizer. “I am a mother and I hate the fact that my kids have to go through lockdown drills and fear for their lives going to school.” he Stroudsburg demonstration, which was organized by Indivisible Poconos and the East Stroudsburg University College Democrats, kicked off in Courthouse Square at around 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. Participants packed into the area and began the rally by taking turns speaking about gun violence and how it has impacted them. Demonstrators at the event represented a variety of different demographics; in attendance were school teachers, parents, elders without children and a slew of high school and elementary students. For organizers, making sure the voices of the youth are heard was of the utmost importance.

Mercer County: Locals take a stand against school shootings
By NATALIE EASTWOOD Sharon Herald Staff Writer March 24, 2018
Students and other supporters of stricter gun laws took to the streets in Mercer, joining the national “March for Our Lives” rally sparked by the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla.
MERCER— Addy Birkes, 17, is going against the grain of her community and her school, but if she’s nervous, you wouldn’t know it. Birkes spoke with several other gun safety advocates at the Mercer County Courthouse Saturday in solidarity with the student-led marches all over the country as part of March for Our Lives. Mercer’s march was organized by Indivisible Mercer County, Democrat Women of Mercer County and the Slippery Rock Huddle with students taking the lead as two of the six speakers. It can be difficult to speak up in an area that heavily supports guns, Birkes said. Even her school is highly “polarized” and 90 percent of her classmates at Mercer High School disagree with her stance, Birkes said. There is a risk of losing friends and becoming alienated, she said, but it’s worth the risk. “You may lose friends, but you’ll get better ones,” Birkes said. “You have to stand up for what you believe in. You can’t stand behind neutral viewpoints.” Almost two weeks ago, Birkes also led her school walk out at Mercer High. Most of her classmates ridiculed and scrutinized Birkes and her peers who support stricter gun laws. She wasn’t sure how many people would walk with her, but she was surprised and pleased to find 73 others by her side that day. At the rally in Mercer, about 70 people gathered to support Birkes and other students who want change.

Lewisburg: Valley students join national chorus on gun control
By Justin Strawser The Daily Item March 25, 2018
LEWISBURG — Inside the Beaver Memorial United Methodist Church in Lewisburg, 12-year-old Violet Bell made a confession. It was not a whispered secret to a priest or pastor, but an amplified one to a crowd of 500 people rallying for stricter gun laws. The Milton Area sixth grade student professed she was afraid to go to school. “When we did the 17 minutes of silence (on March 14) to honor all the people who died in the Florida shooting, it made me realize how bad this is,” Bell said on Saturday afternoon during the March For Life Event in Lewisburg to coincide with the national rally in Washington, D.C. “When I got home, I was wondering what else was happening across the country. It made me scared, because it’s way too many to be happening in general.” Bell’s words are similar to those said by many students across the country since a gunman opened fire on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, leaving 17 dead and several others wounded. In the wake of the tragedy, a group of students from Parkland have led renewed efforts toward stricter gun control.

Hundreds ‘March for Our Lives’ in Erie
GoErie By Valerie Myers  Posted Mar 24, 2018 at 11:23 AM Updated Mar 24, 2018 at 1:08 PM
Student speakers say, ‘Enough,’ and that gun laws must change.
An estimated 400 people took part in the Erie March for Our Lives rally Saturday morning in Perry Square. The event was one of hundreds held nationwide and around the world to support Saturday’s national March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C. The national event was organized by survivors of the deadly Feb. 14 shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The students are pressing for tougher gun laws. Erie marchers also urged change, including a ban on assault weapons and bump stocks, an attachment that can make rifles fire faster. They carried signs with slogans that included, “Books not bullets,” “Actually, guns really do kill people” and “5 million NRA members should not control 323 million Americans.” Sara King, of Platea, a Northwestern High School junior, helped introduced Erie march speakers as young as middle school age.

'I'm proud to be an American': Central Pa. gun-safety advocates march alongside thousands in D.C.
Penn Live By Dan Simmons-Ritchie Updated 12:02 AM; Posted Mar 24, 7:33 PM
They're tired of politicians they say are beholden to the NRA. They're tired of inaction. They're tired of "thoughts and prayers." Enough is enough. That was the message delivered by hundreds of thousands of roaring protesters, many of them young people, in the nation's capital on Saturday in one of the largest protests for gun control in the nation's history. The Washington, D.C. rally, dubbed "March for Our Lives," was largely organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., the site of a mass-shooting that left 17 dead last month. More than 500,000 people were expected to descend on the capital.  Dozens of marchers from central Pennsylvania were among those who packed Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday.

Hundreds gather for March for Our Lives rally in Harrisburg
Penn Live By Travis Kellar Updated Mar 24, 3:10 PM; Posted Mar 24, 2:21 PM
With signs and chants calling for change, a crowd gathered on the steps of the state Capitol on Saturday for a March for Our Lives rally. everal hundred attendees of all ages stood side by side and listened to various speakers. Some held signs calling for gun reform, encouraging others to vote, or just demanding action. The crowd broke out into chants with speakers at times, and some could been seen handing out yellow flowers. Hundreds of similar events took place across the country Saturday, the same day a massive, student-led rally organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland will took place in Washington, D.C.

Rallies in Allentown, Easton, echo message of D.C. march: Save us from gun violence
Daniel Patrick Sheehan and Kevin Duffy Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call March 24, 2018
Protesters in Allentown and Easton joined hundreds of thousands of others nationwide in Saturday afternoon rallies for tougher gun laws, screaming themselves hoarse in an emotional call to stop the violence that has scarred the nation in a seemingly unending series of mass killings. The March for Our Lives events, offshoots of a main rally in Washington, D.C., arose directly from the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting in which 17 students and teachers died. But its roots were much deeper than that, encompassing massacres in Las Vegas; Sutherland Springs, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; Sandy Hook Elementary SchoolColumbine High School; Aurora, Colo.; and Virginia Tech. Each of those tragedies was recalled and decried, along with countless smaller acts of violence committed by people who, protesters said, should never have had access to guns in the first place.

Pittsburghers join hundreds of thousands in Washington March For Our Lives rally
TRACIE MAURIELLO Post-Gazette Washington Bureau MAR 24, 2018 9:40 PM
WASHINGTON -- Emma Gonzalez’s silence and tears brought a sudden profound stillness to a crowd that came to chant, protest and rage at the March For Our Lives rally against gun violence Saturday. She stood quietly through isolated shouts of support and tentative chants that broke out in pockets of the crowd where hundreds of thousands waited for the Parkland, Fla., shooting survivor to speak. She looked straight ahead, stoically at first. And then her long breaths became short gasps, her brow became deeply furrowed and her cheeks became moist with tears. A somber silence settled over Pennsylvania Avenue. Finally, Ms. Gonzalez spoke. “Since the time I came out here, it has been six minutes and 20 seconds. The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest,” said Ms. Gonzalez, who has become the face of the latest mass school shooting.  “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job,” she said before abruptly leaving the podium as chants of “Emma! Emma!” rolled through the enormous crowd, returning it to boisterous exuberance.

March For Our Lives Doylestown draw thousands
Intelligencer By Chris Ruvo / Correspondent Posted Mar 24, 2018 at 5:37 PM Updated Mar 24, 2018 at 6:33 PM
Bucks Students Demand Action, a group of students from across Bucks County, organized the event, called March For Our Lives Doylestown. It was one of many marches and rallies held around the country to encourage politicians to enact what proponents say is common sense gun law reform. Several thousand people marched through the streets of Doylestown on Saturday and then held a rally on the grounds of the old Bucks County Courthouse as part of a nationwide effort to pressure political leaders to change gun laws. Bucks Students Demand Action, a group of students from across Bucks County, organized the event, called March For Our Lives Doylestown. It was one of many marches and rallies held around the country to encourage politicians to enact what proponents say is common sense gun law reform. The calls for gun law change come in the wake of the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where authorities say former student Nikolas Cruz shot and killed 17 people. Estimates on attendance for March For Our Lives Doylestown varied, but police and organizers put the number of participants around 3,000. While organized by local students, the rally included people of all ages, from baby boomers to teens to toddlers pushed in strollers by their millennial parents. Local high school, middle school and elementary students all marched.

Students rally in West Chester to demand action on gun control
Daily Local By Bill Rettew, POSTED: 03/24/18, 6:31 PM EDT
WEST CHESTER >> More than 1,000 demonstrators held protest signs high and chanted in unison, at Saturday’s March for Our Lives rally, at the Historic Chester County Courthouse.
The event was student-organized and student-run, with much of the audience not yet old enough to vote. The rally was one of more than 500 sister rallies nationwide, including large rallies in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Most of almost two dozen speakers implored the students in the crowd to register to vote as soon as allowed and to vote for candidates favoring gun control. More than 100 times, speakers were interrupted by applause and chants, including, “Vote them out,” “Vote them in” and “Vote, vote, vote.”

Pottstown students, community rally for violence-free schools
Students and community members showed up in large numbers Saturday for a March for Our Lives rally in Pottstown’s Riverfront Park.
By Marian Dennis, The Mercury POSTED: 03/24/18, 6:55 PM EDT
POTTSTOWN >> There are those that say “youth is wasted on the young,” but there are plenty of people in Pottstown who beg to differ. On Saturday crowds showed up to Riverfront Park to show their support for students in the area and across the country who are looking to make their voices heard when it comes to gun violence in schools through the March for Our Lives movement. “Instead of deciding to make a political impact where we would protest about having stricter gun laws, we all decided that we would like to make a social impact,” student Noorie Dhingra explained to the crowd. “Where any student that is struggling or any community member that is struggling who needs help, they can come to anyone and we can have a strong network of community members who would help them out.”

Berks County: 'Enough is enough' echoes from City Park to Reading High School (VIDEO)
Hundreds take part in a Reading rally protesting gun violence, part of a national protest that drew millions across the U.S.
Reading Eagle WRITTEN BY MATT CAREY SUNDAY MARCH 25, 2018 12:00 AM
READING, PA — "Enough is enough," Janiece Burns yelled into a megaphone as she led a crowd of hundreds on 13th Street toward Reading High School, repeating the day's rallying cry several times as many behind echoed it. The milelong trek from City Park to the high school's front steps Saturday afternoon was tied to the national March for Our Lives movement, which included hundreds of student-organized protests around the country sparked by last month's school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Burns, a junior at Reading High School, began organizing the event several weeks ago after plans for the national movement began to take shape. "Students like me have something to say, and want to be heard," Burns said Saturday at a rally in front of the high school. "Students everywhere are demanding that they be free to learn and grow without fearing for their lives. "We're here for them," she continued. "We're here for the victims, and we're here to put a stop to innocent people dying." Several local advocacy groups helped organize the event, including Make The Road Pennsylvania and Indivisible Berks.

Delaware County: Hundreds take part in March For Our Lives rally at Rose Tree park
By Kathleen E. Carey, Delaware County Daily Times POSTED: 03/24/18, 6:53 PM EDT
UPPER PROVIDENCE >> As hundreds gathered at Rose Tree Park Saturday, joining thousands of others across the country concerned about gun violence and school shootings, seventh grader Zoe MacKenzie recalled the fear she felt three years ago, huddled in a darkened bathroom stall at Media Elementary, wondering if a shooter was going to find her. “I turned off all the lights and I locked myself in a stall and I put my feet up,” the Springton Lake Middle School student said. “I was so scared, so scared.” She was not alone. That much was clear Saturday by those participating at the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., and other cities and towns, as well as right here in Delaware County. These were organized largely as a reaction to the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 dead.

Pennridge students who held sit-in meet Stoneman Douglas student leaders
Laura Olson Of The Morning Call March 24, 2018
Anna Sophie Tinneny and several classmates from Pennridge High School — where students received detentions for walking out of school in a call to end gun violence — got an up-close view of the March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., Saturday and a personal meeting with several of the Parkland, Fla., students they've been seeing on television. Tinneny said the Bucks County students briefly met with Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg before the rally began. The Pennridge students came to the attention of student leaders from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland after turning their Saturday detentions into sit-in protests. News of the sit-in went viral on social media. Unlike in many other Lehigh Valley area school districts, Pennridge officials took a hard line with students who participated in the national walkout on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the shooting that left 17 students and staff at Stoneman Douglas dead.

Thousands In The Delaware Valley Region March Against Gun Violence
CBS3 Philly March 24, 2018 at 11:55 pm
PHILADELPHIA (CNN/CBS) — Thousands in the Delaware Valley Region have joined the nationwide “March For Our Lives” rally led by the survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting massacre. The march started at noon, with participants gathering on Pennsylvania Avenue near the US Capitol. Dozens of students and activists from the Philadelphia region took part in the march, leaving in buses early Saturday morning. Rallies also took place at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Haddon Lake Park in Audubon, Rose Tree Park in Media and Rodney Square in Wilmington, among others. Survivors and activists delivered their impassioned pleas for stricter gun control law to the nation. Building on the momentum of last week’s National School Walkout, these members of a generation raised on gun violence have been rallying Americans around their cause while honoring the 17 students and faculty members killed on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

In D.C., hundreds from Philly protest gun violence: 'It gets to where it just hurts your heart'
Inquirer by Kristen A. Graham, Staff Writer  @newskag | Updated: MARCH 24, 2018 — 7:52 PM EDT
WASHINGTON — Maeve Ramsey begged her mom to go so she could make a difference.
Bonnie Simon, a teacher, wanted to go to make a statement: She won’t carry a weapon as part of her job. George Manigault wanted to march for justice, as he had so many years ago behind Martin Luther King Jr. Joined by hundreds of others, the three boarded buses in Philadelphia just after dawn broke Saturday, making their way to the nation’s capital, where hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, parents, and others converged to demand Congress enact stricter gun-control laws. The March for Our Lives in Washington was led by young people, most notably students from Parkland, Fla., who saw 17 classmates and teachers gunned down in a February school massacre. “To the leaders, skeptics, and cynics who told us to sit down, stay silent, and wait your turn: Welcome to the revolution,” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivor Cameron Kasky told the crowd.  “Either represent the people, or get out. Stand for us, or beware. The voters are coming.”

During March for Our Lives, city students caution suburban peers on security
Youth and their supporters from across the region raise their voices against gun violence.
The notebook by Bill Hangley Jr. March 25, 2018 — 7:22pm
As residents from across the region gathered in Philadelphia this weekend to call for gun control, students from Philadelphia brought a warning for their suburban peers: don’t let the push for safety turn your school into a prison. “Kids should start saying to their principals, let’s not make our schools safer by closing ourselves in and isolating ourselves,” said Hanifah Brockman of West Philadelphia’s Kipp Dubois Collegiate Academy. “Let’s take on the mass problems to protect all schools, not just our schools.” Measures such as  armed guards and metal detectors “make schools feel like they’re jails. We want students to feel safe,” Brockman said. Saturday’s March for our Lives event in Philadelphia was part of a nationwide push to control gun sales and reduce violence. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to protest violence in schools and in communities of all kinds: urban, suburban and rural. At Philadelphia’s march, students from around the region took heart in the movement, which has galvanized young people and already netted some modest policy victories.

Young Philly activists endure the ups and downs of their first march on Washington
WHYY By Avi Wolfman-Arent March 25, 2018
As their chartered coach bus rolled toward Washington, D.C. on Saturday morning, about 30 students from Science Leadership Academy at Beeber in West Philadelphia got a pep talk from a veteran protester. “It’s great to be here on the cool kids bus,” said Philadelphia Councilwoman Helen Gym. Gym made her name as an education activist, a rabble rouser. Today, she told the students, she was passing the baton to them. “We believe in you,” she said into the bus microphone. “We love you. We uplift you. Let’s go down to D.C. and make a ton of trouble.” Almost all the students on the bus said they’d never been to a big, national rally before. Thanks to the nonprofit Public Citizens for Children and Youth, they were on their way to the March for Our Lives in D.C. Saturday’s rally was framed as both a protest against gun violence and a galvanizing moment for teenage activists, led by the student survivors of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Fellow teenagers from around the country heeded their call, included many from Philadelphia.

'These kids today ...' Marching for their lives, the future belongs to them | John L. Micek
Penn Live Opinion By John L. Micek Updated Mar 24, 7:50 PM; Posted Mar 24, 5:47 PM
This is what it looks like when you hit a moment of reckoning. This is what it looks like when a country, a culture turns a corner. When it hits a point from which it cannot - and should not - return.  It was on the faces of those kids in New York and Chicago and Los Angeles and Philadelphia and Harrisburg and in Washington, D.C. In Toronto. In London. In Paris.
Where they all took to the streets. Leading, where the adults could only follow.  They've had enough. They're done. And who can blame them? The alleged adults - the people who are supposed to protect them - can't even offer them the simple guarantee that they'll make it from math class to history class without being mowed down by some lunatic with a weapon capable of dealing endless death. So they stepped up. They took the future back. And they taught the rest of us, who'd fallen into complacency and weary cynicism, what it looks like to believe - to really believe - you can change the world.

Before they marched, they sat in: The 'good trouble' of the Pennridge 225 | Will Bunch
Philly Daily News by Will Bunch, STAFF COLUMNIST  @will_bunch | Updated: MARCH 24, 2018 — 5:20 PM EDT
A few weeks ago, Bryce O’Connor of Perkasie, Bucks County, probably didn’t picture spending his 17th birthday quite like this — standing on a frigid, windswept sidewalk near the Rite Aid that stands kitty-corner from his Pennridge High School, getting the occasional honk-honk or a wave from passersby when they realized he and a dozen other folks were protesting gun violence. But, then, Bryce didn’t plan on defying school officials and walking out of school March 14, earning a two-hour Saturday detention that he’d served last week. Now he was here with his dad and his also-birthday-celebrating twin brother, showing support for the next batch of detainees who’ve branded themselves the #Pennridge225. “I was walking by the doors that everybody was walking out of and thinking, ‘In 20 years from now, what am I going to tell my kids about what I did on this day?'” Bryce recalled of March 14’s National School Walkout Day, after the Pennridge School District had warned that anyone leaving the building would be punished. “So I walked out. I thought it was something I had to do.” And when Bryce and others in the first detention batch of 46 teens staged and filmed “a modern sit-in” last Saturday morning when they took their punishment, it became a viral act of defiance that may have angered some grown-ups, but earned praise and even amazement from other grown-ups, like his dad, Jim O’Connor.

'March for Our Lives' Draws Massive Crowds Pushing for Tighter Gun Restrictions
Education Week By Catherine Gewertz March 24, 2018 | Updated: March 25, 2018
Washington - Hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, and parents packed streets near the White House and the U.S. Capitol and marched in cities around the globe on Saturday to demand more-restrictive gun laws and decry gun violence, the latest in a series of massive demonstrations sparked by the Parkland, Fla., school shooting that killed 17 people last month. Responding to pleas for action by student activists whose classmates were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Feb. 14, young people and their adult allies filled a historic nine-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue, the same route presidents take from the Capitol steps to their new homes after inauguration. Teenagers held signs that said, “Am I Next?” and “The only thing scary about going to school should be what’s served for lunch,” and “Stand Up to the NRA.” Three bore placards showing the outline of a human body and the words “Do not shoot.” Students from Stoneman Douglas High drew thunderous applause from the crowd as they called on lawmakers to ban assault-style weapons like the one accused Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz used. People in the crowd wept listening to the teenagers’ stories of fear and loss.

‘Never again!’ Students demand action against gun violence in nation’s capital
Washington Post By Peter JamisonJoe HeimLori Aratani & Marissa J. Lang March 24 7:00 PM
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in the nation’s capital and cities across the country Saturday to demand action against gun violence, vividly displaying the strength of the political movement led by survivors of a school massacre in Parkland, Fla. Organized by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where a gunman killed 17 last month, the March for Our Lives showcased impassioned teens calling on Congress to enact stricter gun-control laws to end the nation’s two-decade stretch of campus shootings. Hundreds of “sibling protests” took place across the world, from New York City — where demonstrators spread across 20 blocks — to Jonesboro, Ark., a small city marking the 20th anniversary of a middle-school shooting that left four students and a teacher dead. Gun-rights advocates mounted counterprotests in Salt Lake City, Boise and Valparaiso, Ind., where one sign read “All Amendments Matter.” Although the D.C. march was funded by Oprah Winfrey, George and Amal Clooney, and other celebrities, Stoneman Douglas High students have been its faces. Their unequivocal message to legislators: Ignoring the toll of school shootings and everyday gun violence will no longer be tolerated. “To the leaders, skeptics and cynics who told us to sit down, stay silent and wait your turn: Welcome to the revolution,” Cameron Kasky, a Stoneman Douglas student, said to a crowd that packed at least 10 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue. “Either represent the people or get out. Stand for us or beware. The voters are coming.”

Students Lead Huge Rallies for Gun Control Across the U.S.
New York Times By MICHAEL D. SHEAR MARCH 24, 2018
WASHINGTON — Standing before vast crowds from Washington to Los Angeles to Parkland, Fla., the speakers — nearly all of them students, some still in elementary school — delivered an anguished and defiant message: They are “done hiding” from gun violence, and will “stop at nothing” to get politicians to finally prevent it. The students, as they seized the nation’s attention on Saturday with raised fists and tear-streaked faces, vowed that their grief about school shootings and their frustration with adults’ inaction would power a new generation of political activism. “If they continue to ignore us, to only pretend to listen, then we will take action where it counts,” Delaney Tarr, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, where a gunman killed 17 people last month, told tens of thousands rallying in Washington. “We will take action every day in every way until they simply cannot ignore us any more.” For many of the young people, the Washington rally, called March for Our Lives, was their first act of protest and the beginning of a political awakening. But that awakening may be a rude one — lawmakers in Congress have largely disregarded their pleas for action on television and social media in the five weeks since the Parkland shooting. That reality helped drive the Parkland survivors in Washington, as they led a crowd that filled blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and Capitol Hill. Thousands more rallied at about 800 “sibling” marches around the country and abroad, where students, like those in the capital, made eloquent calls for gun control and pledged to exercise their newfound political power in the midterm elections this fall. Aerial video captured seas of people — in front of Trump International Hotel in New York; in a central square in Tokyo; along the streets of Boston; at a rally in downtown Fort Worth, Tex.; and crammed into a park less than a mile from Stoneman Douglas High.

2018 PSBA Advocacy Day April 16, 2018 Harrisburg
Join PSBA and your fellow school directors for the annual Advocacy Day on Monday, April 16, 2018, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. PSBA is partnering with Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units to have a stronger voice for public education. Hear how advocacy makes a difference in the legislative process and the importance of public education advocacy. This event is free for members; registration is required.
Register online here:

Former Pa. Sen. Rick Santorum: Kids who want safe schools should learn CPR
By PennLive staff and wire reports Updated Mar 25, 8:46 PM; Posted Mar 25, 1:07 PM
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., and around the country on Saturday in "March for Our Lives," a reaction to school shootings that called for changes to gun laws. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican, says he'd rather see students do something more concrete than "looking to someone else to solve their problem." On CNN Sunday, Santorum said students could "do something" such as learn CPR and prevent bullying, instead of asking for changes to law. "Phony gun laws don't solve these problems," Santorum said. Santorum ran for president in 2016. He served two terms as a Pennsylvania senator before losing in 2006 to Bob Casey Jr.

District that arms teachers with rocks to get extra security
AP State Wire March 26, 2018
ORWIGSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A rural school district in Pennsylvania that has armed teachers and students with rocks to ward off potential school shooters has arranged for additional armed security in its buildings. Blue Mountain School District Superintendent David Helsel said in a statement posted on the district’s website there will be extra security starting Monday and “into the near future.” Helsel says media attention over the district’s planned response to school shooters “has increased our concern regarding the possibility that something may happen.” He says the district will continue to evaluate the situation moving forward. Last week, Helsel said every classroom in the district about 90 miles (145 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia has a 5-gallon bucket of river stones. He said the rocks are one small part of the district’s overall security plan.

Rep. Ryan Costello won't seek reelection, boosting Democrats opportunity
Inquirer by Jonathan Tamari, Washington Bureau  @JonathanTamari | Updated: MARCH 25, 2018 — 9:53 PM EDT
Rep. Ryan Costello won’t seek reelection, he announced Sunday night, opening a major opportunity for Democrats in the fight for control of the U.S. House. Costello, 41, a Chester County Republican who is in his second term, cited frustration with the partisan divisions as well as new congressional lines that made his reelection campaign even tougher in telling both MSNBC and the Daily Local, in his home county, his decision to drop out of the running. “It’s a very angry environment,” he told the Daily Local. “It is a sad commentary on the state of our culture and political environment. It’s not me doing it, but I am the one who gets the brunt of it.”

With a Republican stronghold suddenly winnable, Democrats make their case to topple Scott Perry
Penn Live By David Wenner Updated Mar 25, 9:03 PM; Posted Mar 25, 7:09 PM
HARRISBURG--People packed a theater on Sunday afternoon to see a side-by-side comparison of five Democrats vying to defeat Republican Scott Perry for a U.S. House seat representing Dauphin County and parts of Cumberland and York counties. Among the many things the five have in common is this: A much better chance of winning than any of them did a few weeks ago. That's because of the state Supreme Court's ruling that the district was extremely gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. The newly-drawn district narrows the gap signicantly, with Republicans now holding a 51 percent to 46 percent registered voter advantage in the district re-named the 10th. While the five share many of the same Democratic and anti-President Donald Trump values, their backgrounds and circumstances differ considerably.

Allentown School District $28 million in the hole for 2018-19
Jacqueline Palochko Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call March 23, 2018
The Allentown School District is facing a $28 million deficit for 2018-19 that could force it to take a hard look at freezing salaries, leaving positions unfilled and raising taxes. At Thursday’s school board meeting, the board heard an independent report from Dean Kaplan of the Philadelphia-based Public Financial Management that detailed the financial predicament the district is in and laid out scenarios on how it could deal with the deficit. “This is really about being transparent,” Superintendent Thomas Parker said before the report began. According to the report, PFM assessed the financial condition of the district over multiple years and then laid out options the board might consider to help rein in spending. Initiatives listed in dealing with the deficit include raising taxes 3.7 percent, increasing delinquent real estate tax collections, removing unfilled positions, freezing salaries starting in 2018-19, reducing health care expenditure growth rate, and reducing maintenance and utilities costs. The 3.7 percent tax increase is the district’s Act 1 index, which sets the limit on how high taxes may be raised. Even If the district followed PFM’s scenarios, it could still have a projected $14.7 million deficit for 2018-19, the report said.

Philly parents, don't leave the city when your kids reach school age | Opinion
by Elliot Weinbaum, For the Inquirer Updated: MARCH 23, 2018 — 11:12 AM EDT
Elliot Weinbaum is program director for William Penn Foundation’s Great Learning grant-making program. A product of Philadelphia public schools, Weinbaum leads a team that supports efforts to improve teaching and learning from early childhood through high school.
When the kids reach school age, it’s time to leave the city.
So goes a familiar refrain in Philadelphia, repeated every time new census data show more people moved out than moved in. Yet, how well do you know Philadelphia public schools? The truth is they are likely better than you think — especially when it comes to the early grades. Kindergarten should not be parents’ deadline to move away. Over the past several years, the School District of Philadelphia and other public schools have made significant investments in K-3 education, training thousands of teachers in evidence-based literacy instruction and making physical improvements to classrooms across the city. Over the last three years, the district retrained all 2,000 of its K-3 teachers. With $42 million in funding — from the district, the William Penn Foundation, the Lenfest Foundation, and others — teachers were supported with intensive summer training and regular coaching from literacy experts in each of their schools. The district has been tracking the results of these efforts, and sees every day how teacher instruction is getting stronger.

Helen Gym on Championing Philly Public Schools and What’s Next
The councilwoman and tenacious public-education advocate dishes on the shift from the state-run School Reform Commission to a locally controlled school board.
Philadelphia Magazine by CLAIRE SASKO · 3/24/2018, 8:58 p.m.
The Rundown
Age: 50
CV, abridged: Philly’s first Asian-American City Councilwoman (2016-present); Cesar Chavez Champion of Change (2014); national vice chair of Local Progress (2017-present); co-founder, Philadelphia Public School Notebook (1994).
Previous triumph: In 2010, advocated for Asian-American students at South Philadelphia High who faced racial violence, prompting a federal civil rights case.

You moved here from Columbus, Ohio, in the ’80s to attend Penn. What was your first impression of the school district?
I ran an after-school program in Olney, a landing spot for an incredibly diverse group of students, which I didn’t see growing up in Ohio or at the University of Pennsylvania. These young people were full of life and curiosity, energy, and tremendous amounts of love. So I became a teacher at Lowell Elementary School.


In 1975, Congress promised to cover 40% of the average cost to educate a child with disabilities. Congress later amended the law to say that the Federal Govt would pay a “maximum” of 40% of per-pupil costs. Today, the Federal Govt pays less than half of what it originally promised in 1975.
(IDEA Series) Broken Promises: The Underfunding of IDEA National Council on Disability, February 7, 2018

2018 PSBA Advocacy Day April 16, 2018 Harrisburg
Join PSBA and your fellow school directors for the annual Advocacy Day on Monday, April 16, 2018, at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. PSBA is partnering with Pennsylvania Association of Intermediate Units to have a stronger voice for public education. Hear how advocacy makes a difference in the legislative process and the importance of public education advocacy. Government Affairs will take a deeper dive into the legislative priorities and will provide tips on how to be an effective public education advocate. There will be dedicated time for you and your fellow advocates to hit the halls to meet with your legislators on public education. This is your chance to share the importance of policy supporting public education and make your voice heard on the Hill. This event is free for members; registration is required.
Register online here:

NPE: Join us in a Day of Action April 20th to Stop Gun Violence in our Schools
Network for Public Education February 16, 2018 by Darcie Cimarusti
After the slaughter of students and staff in Parkland, Florida, the time for action has never been more urgent. The politicians sit on their hands as our children and their teachers are murdered in their schools. We will be silent no more! The failure to enact rational laws that bar access to guns designed for mass shootings is inexcusable. It is past time to speak out and act. Pledge your support to stop gun violence here. We call for mass action on April 20, the anniversary of the horrific shootings at Columbine High School. We urge teachers, families, students, administrators and every member of the community to engage in acts of protest in and around their schools. Create actions that work best in your community.  Organize sit-ins, teach-ins, walkouts, marches–whatever you decide will show your school and community’s determination to keep our students safe. One elementary teacher suggested that teachers and parents link arms around the school to show their determination to protect children.

PASA Women's Caucus Annual Conference "Leaders Lifting Leaders"
May 6 - 8, 2018 Hotel Hershey

Featured Speakers...
*Dr. Helen Sobehart - Women Leading Education Across Continents: Lifting Leaders from Here to There
*Dr. Tracey Severns - Courageous Leadership
*Dr. Emilie Lonardi - Lead and Lift: A Call for Females to Aspire to the Superintendency
*Deputy Secretary Matt Stem - Update from the PDE


MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! Join the PA Principals Association, the PA Association of School Administrators and the PA Association of Rural and Small Schools for PA Education Leaders Advocacy Day at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at the Capitol in Harrisburg, PA.  
A rally in support of public education and important education issues will be held on the Main Rotunda Steps from 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Visits with legislators will be conducted earlier in the day. More information will be sent via email, shared in our publications and posted on our website closer to the event.
To register, send an email to Dr. Joseph Clapper at before Friday, June 8, 2018.
Click here to view the PA Education Leaders Advocacy Day 2018 Save The Date Flyer (INCLUDES EVENT SCHEDULE AND IMPORTANT ISSUES.) 

SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 PA Educational Leadership Summit - July 29-31 - State College, PA sponsored by the PA Principals Association, PASA, PAMLE and PASCD.  
This year's Summit will be held from July 29-31, 2018 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, State College, PA.

Any comments contained herein are my comments, alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person or organization that I may be affiliated with.

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