Colorado

Tuesday Churn: Concussion bill

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

Senate Bill 11-040, the Jake Snakenberg Youth Concussion Act, will be signed this afternoon by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The measure is one of the higher profile education-related bills of the session. But, like many other bills this year, its scope is relatively limited. Here are the details:

  • The law applies to organized, competitive athletic activities for youth aged 11 to 18 but doesn’t apply to college athletics of any type. High school athletics already are covered by similar requirements.
  • Every middle school, high school, recreation district and club coach shall take annual training in concussion recognition, which can be taken online.
  • Youths suspected of having suffered concussions are to be removed immediately from games and practices and parents notified.
  • Athletes can’t be returned to play until cleared by a physician, osteopath, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or psychologist with special training. Specially trained chiropractors can clear athletes who are part of the U.S. Olympic training program.
  • Athletic trainers are allowed to supervise an athlete’s return to play after medical clearance.
  • The bill contains no enforcement or reporting requirements and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012.

The legislation, named after a high school athlete who died of head injuries in 2004, has been pushed by the Brain Injury Alliance, The Children’s Hospital, assorted other medical groups and the Denver Broncos. The signing is scheduled during a 2 p.m. ceremony in the Capitol’s west foyer. Final bill text.

Meanwhile, seven Colorado middle schools have been named “Schools to Watch” using criteria developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. The schools are Altona Middle School in Longmont, Gypsum Creek Middle School in Eagle County, Hotchkiss K-8 School in Hotchkiss, Jenkins Middle School in Colorado Springs, Powell Middle School in Littleton, Steamboat Springs Middle School in Steamboat and Russell Middle School in Colorado Springs, which is receiving the award for a second year. Learn more in this press release.

What’s on tap:

Critics of Denver school board president Nate Easley have until 5 p.m. today to submit the minimum number of signatures needed to trigger a recall election.

Good reads from elsewhere:

In case you missed it, the New York Times on Monday launched an interesting discussion about how to raise the status of teachers in our nation’s schools. A starting point was a report, What the U.S. Can Learn from the World’s Most Successful Education Reform Efforts, which found teachers in high-scoring countries such as Finland and Japan have higher status and are typically paid better relative to other workers. The newspaper also asked nine experts to weigh in with essays.

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.


For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.


Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.