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JPI Daily News Digest 1/17/2013

National: PTA criticizes Obama’s call for more armed school guards (Washington Post)
The National Parent Teachers Organization said today it was pleased with many of President Obama’s new proposals to improve school security but that his call for more armed guards at schools “comes as a disappointment.” Obama spelled out a series of steps to help make schools safer for students, including hiring as many as 1,000 more school resource officers and counselors.

National: No Silver Bullet  (Huffington Post)
There is no silver bullet.
--Vice President Joe Biden
In a little-noticed remark just days before President Obama announced sweeping plans for gun control action and legislation, Joe Biden summed up the problem his task force was charged with tackling by using (depending on your reaction) either an incredibly appropriate phrase, or a wildly inappropriate phrase. After all, the subject is guns, so perhaps it isn't the time for bullet metaphors.

National: Gun Rights, Gun Control and a Local Push to Tax Guns and Their Ammo (JJIE)
Ambitious and certain to draw criticism, President Barack Obama’s plan to rid the nation of the most powerful weapons on the market and attempt to arrest mass and everyday shootings was expected by Congress Wednesday, marking a sharp turn in a decades-long fight to curb America’s gun violence.

National: After Newtown tragedy, police in schools may not be answer (Fox Online)
With many schools around the country on edge in the wake of the Newtown, CT, massacre, calls for armed police officers at schools are on the rise. However, critics argue putting more police in schools would be a financial burden on school districts and a danger to students.

National: The Law Strikes Out! (The Real News)
"In January of this year, I wrote about Jeremy Stewart. In his case, the normal 25-to-life sentence was doubled to 50-to-life, and the judge threw in an extra 20 years for no reason anyone can explain to me – apparently, just to make absolutely sure this young man (who was struggling with drug addiction) never gets to see his children outside a prison visiting room again."

National: Mr. President, What Will Be Your Civil Rights Legacy? (ACLU)
Watching President Obama take the Oath of Office four years ago was a historic moment I will never forget.  I remember meeting him when he was an Illinois state senator, lobbying him when he was a U.S. Senator and meeting with him at the White House a week after the November 2012 elections. He is one of the most astute and charismatic leaders that I have met during my 30+ year career, and the fact that he, too, is African American makes me proud.

National: PTAs call for full funding of the SROs (
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy in Newtown, Conn., Maryland Del. John Cluster (R-Dist. 8) has proposed legislation calling for school resource officers (SRO) in our Maryland schools. His proposed bill would cost $50 million to the state to put SROs in elementary schools, under the assumption that most Maryland jurisdictions already have them in middle schools and high schools. He proposes gambling proceeds would fund his initiative across the state.

MI: Michigan Governor Signs Bill That Allows Private Prison With Troubled History To Reopen (Think Progress)
Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed a bill this week that authorizes Michigan to contract with private prison operators, and to re-open a now-vacant state facility run by a corporation that has been accused of enabling juvenile abuse, deaths, and riots at its facilities.

MN: The safety zone: Inside a school where no student's needs are too tough (MINNPOST)
High school is an oasis for Justin, who is 14. He gets himself on the bus and comes every day, good or bad; he most looks forward to the classes where he can move around and do things. He’s particularly gifted at tasks that employ his hands. So far this year he has made a table and chairs in woodshop as well as several cups in art that he gave to his mother.

PA: Corbett Invests $10M for At-Risk Youth and Juvenile Offenders (Gant Daily)
Gov. Tom Corbett unveiled a new plan that will invest $10 million into proven prevention and intervention strategies for at-risk youth and juvenile offenders.

National: Families and friends to be blamed for recidivism cases, experts say (Medill Reports, Chicago)
Lack of support from family and friends leads more than half of Illinois parolees to violate parole and return to jail. “It is very rare for someone to get out of prison and not to make future mistakes,” said John Maki, executive director of the John Howard Association, a nonprofit prison reform organization.

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