Pins and Posts

Parkland Review Chair Backs Arming Trained Teachers

Florida’s Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, chairman of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, is now backing the idea that trained volunteers should have access to guns to stop shooters who get through initial safeguards.

Specifically, Gualtieri said that he will ask the review panel to recommend state law be changed so teachers who undergo background checks and extensive training will be permitted to have guns on campus as a last line of defense. It’s a proposal that both the state teachers’ union and PTA have consistently opposed.

Gualtieri told The Associated Press he had long believed only law enforcement personnel should carry guns at school, but his position “morphed” after studying other shootings and watching security video of the February 14, 2017, attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, which resulted in the death of 14 students and three staff members.

Study: Backpacks May Be Unhealthy for Spine

Student sometimes feel like they’re carrying the weight of the world on their backs.

As it turns out, if those students are carrying backpacks or knapsacks, the weight on their backs might be unhealthy, according to a research team of medical experts in the Hudson Valley in New York. Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine (principal author of the report), says when a backpack is carried using both shoulder straps, the force is between sevenfold and twelvefold, depending on whether the person carrying it was upright or leaning over.

That weight, according to Hansraj, is like a student carrying seven books for every one tucked into the bag. Hansraj’s finding should be contrasted with traditional recommendations for how heavy a student’s backpack should be. In younger children, previous studies have recommended a safe load of 10 percent, which rises to 13–15 percent in young adults. Per the study, a 6-year-old weighing an average of 50 pounds would conventionally be expected to handle a five-pound backpack. However, that equates to a force on the spine equal to 36 to 58 pounds. For a 15-year-old of an average weight of 124 pounds, a 12-pound backpack would place between 110 and 142 pounds of force on the spine.

Texas Adopts New View on Impact of Slavery

The Texas State Board of Education has revised its standards for social studies curricula in public schools. Now the state is specifically asserting that the expansion of slavery played “the central role” in causing the American Civil War.

The revised standards also retained Hillary Clinton and Helen Keller as potential subjects of study, after it was reported that those names might be removed. The changes were aimed at streamlining social studies curricula after some teachers said there was too much material to cover. The issue drew national attention.

About one-tenth of public school students in the United States reside in Texas, and the textbooks that cater to the state’s guidelines are also bought by other school systems across the country.

Fashion Forward

Have you ever heard of the sustainable fashion movement?

Julia Mooney, a teacher at William Allen Middle School in Moorestown, NJ, is doing her part to be a strong supporter of sustainable fashion. To illustrate the point, she pledged to wear the same gray button-down dress for 100 school days. At the time of this writing, she had completed half of her pledge, wearing the same dress for 50 consecutive days.

Mooney is trying to raise awareness of what she calls a growing “culture of excess” in America that she says has relegated our closets to overflowing with throwaway garments. “There is no rule anywhere that says that we have to wear a different thing every day,” she has said, adding: “Why do we ask this of each other? Why do we require that we each wear something different every day and buy more clothes and feed into this fast-fashion culture?”