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The ‘Forgotten Olympians’: Winners Even Without Medals

Feb 25, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on The ‘Forgotten Olympians’: Winners Even Without Medals

Alexia Paganini of Switzerland competes on Friday. “To know my whole family from Switzerland is watching me,” Paganini says, “It’s just an honor.”

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Alexia Paganini of Switzerland competes on Friday. “To know my whole family from Switzerland is watching me,” Paganini says, “It’s just an honor.”

Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

The Winter Olympics end Sunday after a 17-day run in and around Pyeongchang, South Korea.

But let’s go back to the start and do some quick math.

When the Games began, the athlete count was 2,952. They would compete in 102 events. With three medals per event, that makes 306 total medals handed out. Subtracting that from the athlete count, 2,646 athletes wouldn’t win medals. And actually that number is larger since a number of competitors won multiple medals.

Red Gerard Wins First U.S. Medal At Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

The point is most of those 2,952 athletes will not be in the record books with gold, silver or bronze next to their names. It’s almost like they’re the forgotten Olympians.

But if you cover an Olympics, you get to see many of the forgotten ones. Not only competing, but afterwards in what’s called the mixed zone. It’s an area between where the competition is held and where the athlete ultimately wants to go — a locker room, a quiet space away from reporters and fans.

The mixed zone is where those reporters live, waiting with cameras, notepads and recording iPhones to prod athletes with all kinds of questions. Athletes are required to pass through. They’re not required to stop and talk.

For the medal winners, there’s always a throng of journalists waiting. For the forgotten Olympians, the mixed zone can be an awkward journey. Walking past reporters and not getting asked to stop and chat can be further confirmation that you are forgotten.

‘Just an honor’

But talk to some of these athletes, and you realize “forgotten” is a relative term. Here’s what just a few of them have to say.

“Oh yeah, my phone was exploding with messages! From my family, friends,” Alexa Paginini said.

The 16-year-old American-Swiss athlete had just finished her free skate in the ladies figure skating competition at the Gangneung Ice Arena. She would place 21st in her first Olympics. While the world talked about the top three — Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva for the Olympic Athletes From Russia contingent, and Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond-Paginini heard from family, friends and Switzerland, the country she decided to represent last year. She was born and raised and lives in the U.S., but has had a Swiss passport since birth.

“It means a lot to me to represent a country that’s so close to my roots,” said Paginini, whose father is from Switzerland. “To know my whole family from Switzerland is watching me. It’s just an honor.”

And she didn’t mind not being part of the global conversation about the Olympic figure skating competition, one of the Games’ marquee events.

“I came in here knowing I wasn’t going to medal,” she said, “so really I just look up to these skaters who are the top of the podium. I just think what can I do to become as good as them, or be competitive with them. So really it [the lack of widespread attention] doesn’t bother me.”

France’s Mae Berenice Meite competes in figure skating on Friday.

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France’s Mae Berenice Meite competes in figure skating on Friday.

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Making her own history

Mae Berenice Meite of France is 5’6″ but her skates make her several inches taller than the one reporter who stops her to ask questions. Meite finished 19th after the free skate.

“Not the best I could’ve done technically,” she said. But then she flashed a proud smile. “I’m very happy because I put my heart out and I tried to enjoy as much as possible. Because it’s an opportunity for me to be here and I’ve very happy to have represented France.”

French figure skater Mae Berenice Meite manages to catch the attention of one reporter in the mixed zone, where media members wait for athletes after they compete. Meite is a relative unknown — she finished 19th in the ladies individual event. The biggest stars are greeted by a throng of journalists. “I’m taking my time to make my own history,” Meite said.

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French figure skater Mae Berenice Meite manages to catch the attention of one reporter in the mixed zone, where media members wait for athletes after they compete. Meite is a relative unknown — she finished 19th in the ladies individual event. The biggest stars are greeted by a throng of journalists. “I’m taking my time to make my own history,” Meite said.

Tom Goldman/NPR

Meite was a reminder that many of the forgotten Olympians still are quite accomplished — the best in their town, their region, their country. Meite was the only skater from France to qualify for the free skate and although 23, she has her sights set on her third Olympics, in 2022. This is despite the current youth revolution in the women’s sport — gold medalist Zagitova is 15.

“I’m taking my time to make my own history,” Meite said, “so step by step [and] in four years hopefully they will talk about the French skaters too.”

And with that, Meite nodded, smiled and walked off through an empty mixed zone.

‘You dream of other things’

Sometimes the forgotten Olympians flit through the mixed zone like ghosts. Not looking up; not making eye contact with reporters to save themselves the embarrassment of not being asked to stop.

Skier Noelle Barahona of Chile crosses the finish line of the second training of the alpine skiing women’s downhill race on Monday.

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Skier Noelle Barahona of Chile crosses the finish line of the second training of the alpine skiing women’s downhill race on Monday.

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Noelle Barahona of Chile wasn’t one of those.

This past Wednesday, Barahona finished 25th in the ladies downhill alpine ski event. After her run, she stood in the mixed zone watching the venue ceremony at the Jeongseon Alpine Center, with the three top skiers standing on a podium.

“Obviously everyone deserves to be here,” she said, adding, “but I think the three people who won, for different reasons, and different stories, maybe deserve it that one-hundredths more.”

The 5.02 seconds that separated Barahona from winner Sophia Goggia of Italy may not seem like much. But Barahona knows those few seconds represent a chasm in her sport.

“We watched the runs of the top 10,” she said, “They all looked sick. I was like, I think I could train for 100 years and never be that good. But it’s inspiring to watch, really. It’s crazy what the human body is capable of doing, especially in this sport, where it’s 100 percent you that makes the speed. You don’t depend on anything else and you go so fast.”

Barahona may be quick to praise those at the top. But she speaks for many a forgotten Olympian too when she says accepting relative anonymity has its limits.

“Sometimes it’s weird,” Barahona says. “When we have [technical] races and they do, like, the medal ceremony before the last [skiers] go, it’s like, ‘wait I’m still here you know?!’ It’s a little bit bumming. Like, oh man nobody has faith in me, y’know?”

Ester Ledecka Makes History, Winning Olympic Gold In Both Snowboarding And Skiing

Barahona says Czech Republic skier/snowboarder Ester Ledecka gave the forgotten ones hope at these Olympics. Starting 26th in the Super G, Ledecka scored a stunning upset when she beat the world’s best alpine stars and won the race.

“You always say what if today is the magical day that I get a medal?” Barahona says. “ObviousIy, I think everyone thinks that. Even the last finishers. Ester won the Super-G here and I think her goal was top 20 y’know? So for sure, you have something in mind, you dream of other things.”

For Barahona, the Olympic dream is over. Including Pyeongchang, she’s competed in four Olympic Games. But she says she’s quitting the sport after this season.

U.S. Men's Curling Team Wins Gold, Beating Sweden 10-7 At Pyeongchang Winter Olympics

“Time to move on,” she says. “I love skiing. I’ve always loved skiing, but I love doing other things as well. There’s a new chapter coming up. I’m excited about it.”

And perhaps whatever she chooses, she’ll be able to come out of the shadows a little bit more.

Canadian Olympic Athlete And Coach Apologize After Drunken Joyride Arrest

Feb 25, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Canadian Olympic Athlete And Coach Apologize After Drunken Joyride Arrest

Dave Duncan of Canada competes in the freestyle skiing men’s ski cross seeding at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The athlete was arrested early Saturday morning for allegedly stealing a car.

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Dave Duncan of Canada competes in the freestyle skiing men’s ski cross seeding at the 2018 Winter Olympics. The athlete was arrested early Saturday morning for allegedly stealing a car.

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A Canadian athlete, his wife and his trainer were detained by South Korean police after drunkenly driving off in an unoccupied, idling car in Pyeongchang on Saturday, according to Reuters. Local press reported that the car was a pink Hummer.

When police pulled the vehicle over, they discovered technical skiing coach Willy Raine behind the wheel with a blood-alcohol level of 0.16, CBC reported. The legal limit in South Korea is 0.05. He was charged with drunk driving. Raine, alpine skier Dave Duncan and his wife Maja were all charged with car theft.

Duncan, from Ontario, finished in eighth place in ski cross on Wednesday, beating his 24th place finish in Sochi in 2014. The skier is decorated in the X-Games, where he won bronze in 2012 and silver in 2010.

A detail from his Canadian Olympic team biography notes that after Duncan’s first day on the slopes as a child, his mother brought him his own skiing gear; he began jumping on a couch in excitement, causing him to fall and break his arm.

Raine competed in the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics. He is the son of Canadian skiing legend Nancy Greene, who won gold in women’s giant slalom and silver in women’s slalom in the 1968 Grenoble Winter Olympics. She is currently a senator for British Columbia.

The three were released on Saturday after police concluded their investigation. according to Reuters. Its results will be sent to South Korean prosecution and, unless the alleged offense is deemed a serious crime, Raine, Duncan and his wife will be able to leave the country after paying a fine. For now, they are restricted from leaving South Korea.

“We have an athlete’s agreement that all athletes do sign before they agree to come to the Olympic games that speaks to appropriate codes of conduct and the values of the Olympic committee,” said Chris Overholt, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, at a press conference. “We are deeply disappointed in the behaviors of these individuals.”

The couple released a joint apology, noting: “We engaged in behavior that demonstrated poor judgement and was not up to the standards expected of us as Members of the Canadian Olympic Team or as Canadians.”

“I have let my teammates, friends and my family down. I would also like to apologize to the owner of the vehicle that was involved,” reads a statement from Raine.

White House Briefly Put On Lockdown After Driver Hits Security Barrier

Feb 24, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on White House Briefly Put On Lockdown After Driver Hits Security Barrier

A Secret Service officer hurries past reporters after a vehicle struck a security barrier near the White House Friday.

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A Secret Service officer hurries past reporters after a vehicle struck a security barrier near the White House Friday.

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Updated at 9:25 p.m. ET

The White House went on lockdown for a while on Friday afternoon after a female driver struck a nearby security barrier and was “immediately apprehended” by officers, according to the Secret Service.

The agency said in a statement it has had “previous encounters” with the woman they say is 35, white and from LaVergne, Tenn. The statement said she has been charged with “numerous criminal violations,” and turned over to Washington, D.C., police.

The agency said the vehicle “did not breach the security barrier of the White House complex.”

It happened a couple of blocks south of the President’s official residence around 3:30 p.m., as President Trump was inside hosting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“This minivan came and crashed into the barricade and tried to push through the barricade and his tires were burning rubber and a lot of smoke was coming up,” eyewitness Chris Bello said, according to Reuters. “And then about 30 seconds after that the two security guards that were in the booth, you know, ordered him to stop doing what he was doing and he didn’t listen,” Bello said.

The checkpoint is the same site of a 2016 episode when agents shot a man brandishing a gun, reports CNN. Nobody else was injured and the White House was placed under an hour-long lockdown at the time.

Located in the middle of the bustling metropolis, the White House grounds have been a target for intruders several times over the years.

A Congressional report compiled in 2015 found, “security incidents occur frequently enough that the agency must be prepared to deter and respond to breaches at all times.”

A 2014 Washington Post report chronicled more than 30 breaches that have been reported since the mid-1970s.

Often Secret Security tackles fence jumpers before they can gain much ground. But in 2014 an intruder armed with a small knife was able to make it inside the White House through an unlocked door before being apprehended. The Obama family was away at the time.

During Friday’s incident, the Secret Service said law enforcement personnel suffered no injuries and no shots were fired.

Fox 5 DC tweeted a video of a white van in front of a barrier with a broken rear window.

Logs Of 911 Calls Reveal The Troubled History Of Florida School Shooter

Feb 24, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Logs Of 911 Calls Reveal The Troubled History Of Florida School Shooter

Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Nikolas Cruz appears in court for a status hearing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Newly released tapes and logs of 911 calls show that police had responded to at least two dozen incidents of violent or disruptive behavior over 10 years by the 19-year-old suspect in the fatal shootings of 17 students and staff at a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last week.

On November 29 of last year, Nikolas Cruz called 911 himself in Palm Beach County to report that someone “attacked me and said they were going to gut me.”

In a 5 ½ minute call, Cruz say, “I kind of got made and I started punching walls and stuff and then a kid came at me and threw me on the ground, and he started attacking me and kicked me out of the house.”

In another call, a woman, whose name was redacted, describes an altercation between her adult son and Cruz. She also said she’s worried that Cruz is going to get a gun, “because that’s all he wants is his gun, and that’s all he cares about is his gun.”

The Miami Herald and other news organizations identify the caller as 42-year-old Roxanne Deschamps, who had taken in Cruz and his younger brother, Zachary, after their mother died earlier that month.

Those two calls are just part of the story authorities are piecing together about the troubled history of the alleged shooter and how various government agencies and school officials failed to effectively intervene before the shooting last week.

Meanwhile, the Broward Sheriff’s office released records dating back 10 years documenting contacts it had with Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old suspect. The records released are logs of 23 separate 911 calls, including 15 calls made by his now-deceased mother, Linda Cruz, reporting disputes and disturbances involving Cruz between November 2008 and June 2014. Several other calls were made by third parties beginning in February 2016 through November 2017.

The Sheriff’s Office’s response to two of the calls is under investigation by its Internal Affairs unit.

On February 5, 2016, deputies received a call summarized as:

“Third hand information from the neighbor’s son that Nikolas Cruz planned to shoot up the school on Instagram (Picture of Juvenile with guns.) One month time delay. Unknown high school. Cruz lives in area.”

The log says that the deputy made contact with the anonymous caller. Upon learning that Cruz possessed knives and a BB gun, that information was “forwarded to Stoneman Douglas School Resource Officer.”

On November 30, 2017, another call was logged:

“Caller advised subject Nikolas Cruz is collecting guns and knives. Cruz wants to join the Army. Concerned he will kill himself one day and believes he could be a school shooter in the making. Caller advised Cruz was no longer living at the listed parkland address and is now living Lake Worth, FL. Believes the weapons are kept at a friend’s house at an unknown location.”

The log says that the deputy contacted the caller located in Massachusetts via telephone. “No report was initiated…Deputy advised her referred the caller to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.”

On Thursday, Sheriff Scott Israel announced that two of his deputies are on restrictive duty pending an investigation into whether they followed policy in responding to 911 calls about the alleged shooter.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens Indicted On A Charge Of Felony Invasion Of Privacy

Feb 23, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens Indicted On A Charge Of Felony Invasion Of Privacy

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens during an interview at the Missouri Capitol in January 2018 after his extramarital affair was exposed.

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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens during an interview at the Missouri Capitol in January 2018 after his extramarital affair was exposed.

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Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted on one count of felony invasion of privacy and taken into custody in St. Louis in connection with reports of an extramarital affair that surfaced last month.

During that affair, Greitens is alleged to have taken a semi-nude photo of the woman and then threatened to blackmail her by publishing it if she revealed their relationship.

As reported by the Two-Way in January, Greitens, a Republican, confirmed that he had an extramarital affair before he was elected in 2016, but he denied the allegations of blackmail.

“As I have said before, I made a personal mistake before I was Governor,” Greitens said in a statement Thursday posted on Facebook. “I did not commit a crime.”

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippman told All Things Considered:

“Missouri law says that … taking the picture alone is a misdemeanor. What pushes this to the level of a felony was the fact that he put that photo on a computer, and therefore it makes it sort of a low level felony.

We know about this incident because the ex-husband of the woman who had the affair recorded the conversation and talked about it with the media.”

In the wake of the public exposure of the affair last month, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner opened an investigation leading to this indictment by a St. Louis grand jury.

The name of the woman who had an affair with Greitens has not been disclosed and is referred to only as “K.S.” in the indictment.

It alleges that Greitens “knowingly photographed K.S. in a state of full or partial nudity without the knowledge or consent of K.S. and in a place where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and the defendant subsequently transmitted the image contained in the photograph in a manner that allowed access to that image via a computer.”

In a statement, Gardener said it was essential for residents of St. Louis and Missouri to have confidence in their leaders.

“They must know that the Office of the Circuit Attorney will hold public officials accountable in the same manner as any other resident of our city. Both parties and the people of St. Louis deserve a thorough investigation of these allegations,” as quoted by St. Louis Public Radio.

Greitens, a former Navy Seal and Republican with political ambitions beyond the Missouri statehouse, lashed out at the prosecutor on Facebook calling her “a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.” Gardner is a Democrat.

Women’s Figure Skating Comes Down To A Duel, As Russians Eye First Gold Medal

Feb 23, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Women’s Figure Skating Comes Down To A Duel, As Russians Eye First Gold Medal

Evgenia Medvedeva, left, set a record for the highest score ever in the short program in the Winter Olympics — only to have Alina Zagitova, her Olympic Athletes from Russia teammate, break the record again at the Pyeongchang Games.

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Evgenia Medvedeva, left, set a record for the highest score ever in the short program in the Winter Olympics — only to have Alina Zagitova, her Olympic Athletes from Russia teammate, break the record again at the Pyeongchang Games.

The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images

Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva are locked atop the standings in the women’s singles figure skating competition at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics – and they seem headed for a duel to see who gets to win the first gold medal for the Olympic Athlete from Russia team.

The three Americans in the field — Mirai Nagasu, Karen Chen, and Bradie Tennell — will have to turn in eye-popping performances today to reach the podium. None of them scored above 70 points in their short program, as six other skaters did.

We’ll update this post with news from Pyeongchang.

Skaters in the top-ranked group are slated to begin their free skate programs at 11:08 p.m. ET. By the time Medvedeva finishes her skate at 11:57 p.m., there will be a new Olympic champion.

The start order for the final six women in the free skate on Friday in South Korea (Thursday night in the U.S.) has Medvedeva going last:

Satoko Miyahara (Japan)
Carolina Kostner (Italy)
Kaori Sakamoto (Japan)
Alina Zagitova (OAR)
Kaetlyn Osmond (Canada)
Evgenia Medvedeva (OAR)

After the short program, the U.S. skaters were bunched together in the standings, with Nagasu ninth, Chen tenth, and Tennell at No. 11.

There are 24 skaters in the final — but Zagitova and Medvedeva were the only ones to score above 80 points in the short program. Zagitova had the edge with 82.92 points, partly because her program is shaped to maximize scoring: All of her big jumps come in the last section, when they’re worth more.

Medvedeva, 18, is the reigning world champion. She’s competing in South Korea after recovering from a broken foot that she suffered last October.

Zagitova, 15, won this year’s European championship in Moscow. She has risen to the heights of the world’s elite skaters just one year after winning the world junior championship.

For a brief while earlier this week, Medvedeva owned the Olympic record for the highest-scoring women’s short program in history, after turning in a flawless skate at the Gangneung Ice Arena. But within moments, her score of 81.06 was eclipsed by Zagitova’s 82.92.

Both Medvedeva and Zagitova attend Sambo 70, a large sports center and school in Moscow that was founded in 1970. The school trains Olympic athletes in a variety of winter and summer sports, from judo and swimming to skiing and figure skating. Another product of Sambo 70: Julia Lipnitskaya, who was 15 when she won a gold medal as part of Russia’s figure skating team at the Sochi 2014 Olympics.

Trump Backs Arming Teachers During Emotional White House Listening Session

Feb 22, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Trump Backs Arming Teachers During Emotional White House Listening Session

President Trump shakes hands with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Ariana Klein as fellow Stoneman Douglas student Carson Abt watches at the start of a listening session on school safety with teachers and students at the White House Wednesday.

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President Trump shakes hands with Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student Ariana Klein as fellow Stoneman Douglas student Carson Abt watches at the start of a listening session on school safety with teachers and students at the White House Wednesday.

AFP Contributor/Mandel Ngan

A week after 17 people were killed at a Parkland, Fla., high school, President Trump hosted survivors, parents and teachers from that and other recent school shooting tragedies for an emotional, nearly 90-minute listening session at the White House Wednesday.

Trump, Vice President Pence and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos asked for feedback on how to prevent future school shootings and increase safety at the nation’s schools. Suggestions were varied, ranging from ways to provide more and better security at schools, taking action about the role that mental health plays in school shootings, raising the age to purchase rifles and strengthening background checks.

Over the course of the session, the president voiced support for all of these proposals in some form, including raising the minimum age to purchase long guns. (Later Wednesday the National Rifle Association issued a statement saying it opposed raising the age to purchase rifles or shotguns.)

Florida House Declines Debate On Assault Rifles, Calls Porn A 'Health Risk'

But it’s one particular approach that Trump supported — arming teachers and other adults working at schools with concealed-carry weapons — that is likely to be one of the most controversial responses to yet another school shooting in the U.S.

The president said that gun-free zones to “maniacs” are a signal that “let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us.”

He suggested additional training for teachers and other school personnel to be able to better respond to active-shooter attacks, if adults working at schools are carrying weapons.

“If you had a teacher who was adept at firearms, they could very well end the attack very quickly,” Trump said. (Trump’s comments were quickly followed by the resurfacing online of a 2016 tweet where he takes then-opponent Hillary Clinton to task for contending that he wanted “guns brought into the school classroom.”)

But Mark Barden, whose 7-year-old son Daniel was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 in Newtown, Conn., pushed back on such a suggestion, arguing that his wife, Jackie, who is a teacher “will tell you that school teachers have more than enough responsibility than to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life.”

'We Will Not Give Up': Fla. School Shooting Survivors March For Tougher Gun Laws

“Nobody wants to see a shootout in a school,” Barden said, positing that if a “deranged sociopath” wants to commit an attack — often with the intention of committing suicide anyway — “he’s not going to care if there’s somebody there with a gun.”

Parents who had lost their children at Sandy Hook and even as far back as the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado nearly two decades ago spoke with a somber gravitas of the issues that need to continue to be addressed — additional attention to mental health issues and stronger background checks, for example.

“I implore you — consider your own children. You don’t want to be me. No parent does. And you have the ability to make a difference and save lives today,” Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son Dylan was killed at Sandy Hook, told Trump directly in seeking to press him to take action.

It was clear the emotions among the survivors and parents of victims of the attack last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida were still very raw and many were still in shock.

Sam Zief said he turned 18 the day after the February 14 shooting where he lost friends and teachers.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Samuel Zeif speaks during a listening session on school safety with President Trump as Nicole Hockley, parent of a Sandy Hook shooting victim, looks on.

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Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor Samuel Zeif speaks during a listening session on school safety with President Trump as Nicole Hockley, parent of a Sandy Hook shooting victim, looks on.

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

“I don’t understand why I could still go in a store and buy a weapon of war,” Zief said, referring to assault-style weapons or AR-15s.

“I fully respect all of our amendments, including the Second, but in Maryland they have determined the Second Amendment doesn’t protect these kind of assault weapons, including the AR,” Zief later added.

Trauma Bags And Armed Guards: Securing Schools Without Creating A Fortress

Fifteen-year-old Justin Gruber, who also survived the Parkland, Fla., shooting, lamented that he was born after the Columbine shooting happened, among the first in what has grown into an epidemic of school shootings, and that he’s never felt a sense of security.

“I was born into a world where I never got to experience safety and peace,” Gruber said. “There needs to be significant change in this country because this has to never happen again and people should be able to feel that when they go to school.”

Gruber’s father, Cary, endorsed higher age limits on firearms.

“If he’s not old enough to buy a beer, he should not be able to buy a gun at 18 years old,” the elder Gruber told Trump.

After Parkland, States Take A Fresh Look At Gun Legislation

Andrew Pollack, whose 18-year-old daughter Meadow was killed in the Parkland shooting, pushed for tighter school security rather than addressing gun laws immediately, pointing out that he had to face tougher screening at airports or even to enter the Department of Education on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., than is in place at most schools.

“There should’ve been one school shooting and we should’ve fixed it!” an emotional Pollack, flanked by his three sons, exclaimed. “And I’m pissed, because my daughter, I’m not going to see her again.”

Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky told the president how she’s had to attend funerals over the past week, recounting how her city’s facade of safety was shattered.

“We have to, at some point, care enough and be strong enough to come up with solutions,” Hunschofsky said. She relayed suggestions from parents of two students killed last week — banning assault rifles, strengthening FBI protocols that lapsed and allowed the Parkland shooter to slip through the proverbial cracks and addressing the role of guns.

Carson Abt, a junior at Stoneman Douglas, told Trump she thought more frequent drills on how to respond to an active shooter on school grounds could improve both teacher and student responses.

“Only 32 states require drills. More than half of the counties do not go through drills because they want to spend their resources on something else,” Abt said. “At my school, we go through fire drills each month. We have not had our lockdown drill this year.”

Florida Shooting Survivor Weighs In On Meeting With President Trump

Feb 22, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Florida Shooting Survivor Weighs In On Meeting With President Trump

Parents and survivors connected to the school shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Sandy Hook and Columbine, met with President Trump at the White House Wednesday to advocate for better protections for the nation’s students.

Head Of D.C.’s Schools Resigns After Personal Scandal And Amid District Tumult

Feb 21, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on Head Of D.C.’s Schools Resigns After Personal Scandal And Amid District Tumult

DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson has resigned amid ongoing graduation issues and after news emerged that he had improperly transferred his child from one highly desired school to another.

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DCPS Chancellor Antwan Wilson has resigned amid ongoing graduation issues and after news emerged that he had improperly transferred his child from one highly desired school to another.

Astrid Riecken/The Washington Post/Getty Images

D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson resigned Tuesday following revelations that his daughter was improperly transferred from one of the district’s top-performing public high schools to another — which had a waitlist of more than 600 students.

The move violated a policy that Wilson himself established last summer restricting the ability of the chancellor to grant such transfers for the children of public officials. The policy came as a result of revelations that former Chancellor Kaya Henderson had placed the children of certain officials in popular and high-performing schools.

“After listening to many community members and families and stakeholders, it became very clear to me that Wilson would be unable to successfully lead the schools having not been able to regain the community’s trust,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a news conference. “There are too many tough decisions in the coming months to have any distractions.”

What Really Happened At The School Where Every Graduate Got Into College

In D.C., 34 Percent Of Graduates Received A Diploma Against District Policy

This comes on the heels of another scandal involving D.C.’s public schools in which one-third of graduates last year received diplomas in violation of grading and attendance policies. An investigation revealing that information was ordered after an NPR and WAMU investigation showed widespread absenteeism among graduates of one D.C.’s neighborhood high schools.

Wilson’s departure Tuesday means he served as chancellor for just over a year. Before coming to D.C., he worked as superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District in California. Bowser cited Wilson’s experience turning around low-performing urban schools in his previous positions when she announced his appointment.

“This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. We could have a leader that wants to start with transparency and openness, ” says Danica Petroshius, a school parent. “With a new leader, I think there’s a huge opportunity to improve trust in the system.”

D.C. Council member David Grosso, who chairs the council’s education committee, says he fears that losing Wilson and having to find a new chancellor will set back the city’s public schools, especially as they navigate the current graduation scandal and a recent decline in enrollment.

“Stability in the chancellor position is very important, and having a lot of turnover, just like a lot of turnover in the principal position, is not good for the city, it’s not good for the schools,” he says. “This is frustrating for me, and it sets us back.”

12-Year-Old Crashes In Joyride In Mexico, Killing 5 Children

Feb 21, 2018   //   by Administrator   //   World News  //  Comments Off on 12-Year-Old Crashes In Joyride In Mexico, Killing 5 Children

A 12-year-old boy, clocking speeds of more than 90 miles an hour, crashed a car into a tree in a southern Mexico City neighborhood, sending passengers flying out of the car, killing five and injuring three, all children.

According to Mexico City police officials, the boy was driving a Pontiac G3, a 4-door passenger car, packed with nine other children, when he lost control and spun off the road. Photos of the crash site show the mangled automobile with its windows shattered and car parts strewn around several covered bodies in the roadway. Police say the children, three girls and two boys died instantly, all between the ages of 12 and 14.

Mexico City officials say they cannot release any more information, including the children’s names, because they are minors.

According to Milenio newspaper a 10-year old boy, sandwiched between seats in the back, survived the crash and ran home to alert his parents. Three surviving children were taken to local hospitals. The 12-year old driver was taken into custody and sustained light injuries.

On Twitter, Mexicans expressed outrage, with many placing blame on the boy’s parents. Several tweeted the boy’s parents should be held responsible for the deaths. Others demanded the boy be tried as an adult. Children under the age of 18 are tried in juvenile courts in Mexico.

Mexico City’s department of Boys, Girls and Adolescent Investigators says the 12-year-old boy, only named as Luis Eduardo, will be investigated for vehicular homicide and that he remains in custody.

Several Mexican newspapers however are reporting the boy may be released to the custody of his parents under Mexico’s new legal system, which does not require immediate imprisonment for vehicular accidents.

The new judicial system, which was approved by Mexico’s Congress in 2008 and became fully operational in June 2016, now requires trials to be held in public with testimony and evidence presented in open courts. Mexico’s old system was criticized for its secrecy and testimony submitted only in written arguments.

Critics charge, though, the new system has allowed for the release of tens of thousands of suspected criminals and prisoners due to faulty evidence gathering and poor prosecutorial follow through. Such flaws in the new system have caused a backlash among politicians and citizens alike. Mexico City’s mayor has blamed it for a “very dangerous” decline in the number of inmates held in the country’s capital. Mexico’s homicide rate, nearly 30,000 last year, was the highest registered since crime statistics first were kept in the 1990s.

Francisco Riquelme, a member of Mexico City’s Bar Association and a criminal defense lawyer says the 12-year-old boy in the car crash is not being tried under the new system. Due to his age, Riquelme says he will face charges under Mexico’s juvenile justice system, which also does not allow minors to be held in jail while awaiting trial.

“It would have to be extraordinary for a judge to hold a child under the age of 14 in jail for an accident,” says Riquelme. And Riquelme says it’s unfortunate that the public has a bad perception of the new judicial system. “Any failures (of the new system) aren’t because of its laws, but because of the wrong practices of its operators,” he added.

David Shirk, of the University of San Diego, who has been a consultant to Mexican judges and lawyers on Mexico’s open trials, says it is unfortunate the new judicial system is taking a public beating. But he says in the case of the 12-year joyriding boy, it is unlikely that any justice system in the world could offer a suitable process of punishment for the horrible consequences of his actions.

“Sadly, there really is no way to achieve justice for those five kids, but treating this child unjustly is not the solution,” says Shirk.

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  • EST: 2018-02-25 04:30 PM
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