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Minnesota law unclear on how teachers should address violence in schools

So what exactly are they allowed to do? And who will back them up when they do it? In the ​Pioneer Press, Christopher Magan writes​: “Minnesota schools have detailed policies for how students should behave and what happens when they act out, but they are less clear about how educators should intervene when violence erupts. State law allows school staff to use ‘reasonable force’ to prevent ‘bodily harm or death’ of students and staff. But districts rely on guidelines rather than direct policies on whether educators should physically try to stop fights in schools.”

Also in the PiPress, ​Dan Bauman says​: “Minnesota and Wisconsin lag behind the rest of the nation on teacher safety, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. More than 6 percent of Minnesota teachers were reported to have been physically attacked by students during the 2011-­12 school year, the most recent year with data available. Wisconsin schools reported 11.3 percent of their teachers were physically abused by students that year — the highest percentage in the country.”

And this, by the PiPress’ Josh Verges: “St. Paul schools Superintendent Valeria Silva said Wednesday that the district and teachers were making progress on school safety issues when she was caught by surprise this week by the union’s threat to strike. … Silva and the union agree that St. Paul schools must implement more restorative practices, which seek to get at the root of students’ behavior problems and welcome them back to the school community. The practice is a shift away from such harsh punishments as suspensions and expulsions, although both sides agree there’s a place for those, too.”

It’ll be interesting to see what happens here.ESPN’s Ben Goessling says​,“The Minnesota Vikings say they will investigate an incident from Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks and talk with a Minneapolis man who said he was confronted by another fan demanding to know if he was a refugee. In an editorial for the ​Minneapolis Star Tribune​, Deepinder Mayell, an attorney and the director of the Advocates for Human Rights’ Refugee and Immigrant Program, said he attended his first Vikings game on Sunday when a man at TCF Bank Stadium pushed aside other fans, put his finger in Mayell’s face and said he needed to make sure Mayell wasn’t a refugee. … the Vikings said they had first learned of the incident from Mayell’s editorial and had scheduled a discussion between Mayell and chief operating officer Kevin Warren.” I think they need to get with the other guy.

Minneapolis City Council approved a budget Wednesday, though not without drama: According to the Star Tribune’s Erin Golden and Eric Roper:  “A last-minute budget proposal to redirect city funds to repair and upgrade Minneapolis’ Fourth Precinct police station — the site of recent protests — drew a packed house of angry activists to City Hall Wednesday evening. After hours of withering testimony, the amendment touted earlier by the mayor’s office was not introduced.”

Your Second Amendment right in action. Says ​Tom Olsen for the Forum News Service​: “A man was fatally shot during an altercation outside a holiday party at a popular North Shore resort and restaurant early Wednesday, authorities said. The Cook County sheriff’s office said 61­-year-­old Kirk Lee Bigby of Finland was taken into custody shortly after the incident, which was reported at 12:12 a.m. at Bluefin Bay Resort in Tofte. … [KIrk Lee] Bigby allegedly came into ‘physical contact’ with the victim before producing a handgun and shooting him.”

There’s got to be more to this. The AP says​,“A man already serving a life sentence was acquitted of murder Wednesday in the shooting death of an aspiring teacher from Minnesota during an iPod robbery in Philadelphia, stunning the victim’s family. … Police charged [Marcellus] Jones in the South Philadelphia slaying two years ago, after Jones was convicted of killing the suspected getaway driver. Prosecutors had no DNA or other physical evidence linking him to [Beau] Zabel’s slaying, but said he later told relatives that he killed 19-­year-­old Tyrek Taylor because the alleged accomplice had been talking about Jones ‘killing the teacher.’ In closing arguments, Jones’ lawyer attacked the credibility of witnesses who testified about Jones’ alleged admissions.”

If it’s December, it’s “war on Christmas” time again. Matthew Balan at mrcNewsBusters ​(“Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias”) writes, “Fox News Channel’s Kelly Wright detailed on Wednesday’s ​Fox & Friends First how Christians in Wadena, Minnesota launched a silent rebellion, after the nativity scene in their town’s square was taken down due to the threat of a lawsuit from the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation. … Anchor Heather Nauert teased Wright’s report by noting that ‘the latest battle in the war on Christmas ends in a way that no one expected. ​Let’s just say the atheist who waged it in one Minnesota town certainly won’t try this one again​.’ Co­-anchor Heather Childers led into the segment by touting the ‘​the town’s reaction to the out-­of-­control political correctness.’​” No truth though that the new baby Jesus has a flaxen blonde comb over.

We are of course No. 1 in a new health ranking. In a USA Today story, ​Laura Ungar says​,“More states improved than worsened over time on most measures examined in new health rankings out Wednesday — the first since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions took effect. The ​Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on State Health System Performance​ looks at access to medical care, prevention and treatment of disease, avoidable hospital use and cost, healthy lives and health equity. … The top­ranked states overall are Minnesota, Vermont and Hawaii, and the bottom states are Mississippi, Oklahoma and Arkansas. There’s up to an eight­fold difference in performance between the top­ and bottom­ranked states.” But the taxes are so much lower down there. 

Well, I know I’ve changed my breakfast routine. At​ MPR, Tom Crann talks ​to James Norton of Heavy Table about the decline in fine dining:

Crann:​ So, with all of that change, as you say, brought about by our wandering eye, is it possible to still define fine dining? Or is that term just obsolete?

Norton:​I don’t think it’s actually becoming obsolete at all. I’ve talked with a couple of chefs at length about this, most notably Russell Klein of Meritage and Brasserie Zentral. He put it really well — it’s the restaurant’s role to inquire and understand about the you, the customer — “Are you comfortable?” It’s all about creating a space where diners can unwind and not have to worry about anything — the food, the service, the pace of the meal — because the restaurant itself is obsessed with them. That creates this place where you can have a two or three hour conversation with an old friend or a spouse or new romance and you can actually learn things about each other and really relax. To me, at least, any place that can create that vibe is doing fine dining really well.

That just goes to show how out of it I am. All I worry about is the $300 bill.

Enbridge wins on the old parallel pipeline move.Says Dave Shaffer in the Strib​: “A federal judge on Wednesday denied environmental and tribal groups’ request to block increased crude oil shipments from Canada to the United States via two parallel pipelines that Enbridge Energy reconfigured at the border to skirt a regulated capacity limit on one of them.”

And while he’s at it, ​Shaffer throws in another ​piece. “North Dakota’s oil price has dropped to a seven­-year low, and operators are drilling fewer new wells, portending future declines in production, the state’s Mineral Resources Department reported Wednesday. … the current estimated North Dakota wellhead price — $27 per barrel — is the lowest since December 2008.”

Finally, I may have gotten a little too excited for the kid who won a $425,000 settlement against the cops and the Elk River school district after that ridiculous tweeting incident. Not being the world’s greatest legal mind, I naively assumed the teenager would pocket oh, maybe $300,000 of that, with the rest going to his hard­working attorneys. But Tipster Tom points me to a follow­up story on the WCCO-­TV site​, which says, “According to the Star Tribune, a settlement called for him to receive $425,000; $325,000 dollars from the district $100,000 from the police department. Sagehorn is getting $40,000, and the rest is going to legal fees.”

Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 12/10/2015 - 08:44 am.

    Regarding Wadena

    just a few miles away, here.

    As a now-retired member of the Christian clergy, I scratched my head back in the mid 90s at Wadena’s very large manger scene on public property.

    Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Christmas. I’ve always loved my church’s Christmas displays, too, but those things belong on my church’s property or on the properties of individual church members.

    I’m sure the people of Wadena and the folks at weasel news would have had an entirely different reaction if a local family of Muslims, or Hindus, or Jews, or Scientologists, or Satanists,…

    demanded equal space on public grounds for their own religious display.

    America may be a primarily “Christian” nation,…

    though many of Christianity’s most vehement “supporters” seem to know nothing of the teachings, actions, and attitudes of Jesus, himself,…

    but the founders of this nation were wise enough to know that if the constitution allowed Christianity favored status within government/public areas,…

    thus tacitly requiring respect and acquiescence to Christianity on the part of all other people,…

    that same government could, at some future day, require that Christians respect and grant tacit acceptance of the symbols and images of some OTHER faith,…

    whenever they needed to do necessary business in government facilities.

    Without the protections written into the constitutions of the United States and the State of Minnesota,…

    the government could just as easily force Christians to demonstrate belief in other religious faiths,…

    as, in Wadena, it previously forced those of other faiths to demonstrate belief in Christianity.

    The City Council of Wadena wisely chose to reestablish the proper balance between Christianity and other faiths on public property,…

    I say wisely, because lacking such a decision, Wadena could easily have been forced to allow a statue of L. Ron Hubbard or Satan to be erected in that same city park.

    If the government has the power and right to favor our religion,…

    it also has the power and right to DISfavor, even outlaw it,…

    as was the case in many of the early American colonies where various forms of Christianity, itself, were against the law depending on where you lived.

  2. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 12/10/2015 - 09:57 am.

    Why Is It

    That those who like to say that big gubmint can’t do anything right are the same ones that want government to get into the religion business?

    I can’t imagine the Freedom From Religion Foundation give’s a rat’s pa-toot about a manger in my front lawn. So it’s a win-win, folks in Wadena get to have lots of manger scenes, and government stays out of religion.

    Although one may wonder what The Creator thinks of using manger scenes as a political “screw you buddy”.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/10/2015 - 01:01 pm.

      What the Creator Thinks

      I’m sure He or She is thinking that nothing exemplifies the Christian message of love for all humanity like a bunch of “in your face” Nativity scenes.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 12/10/2015 - 10:16 am.

    Not a fan

    …of Scientology, I nonetheless am intrigued by Greg Kapphahn’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion of a statue of L. Ron Hubbard on Wadena City Hall grounds. My guess is that it would lead to some serious head-scratching.

    That pesky First Amendment and its Establishment Clause…

    My guess, in regard to Brian’s 2nd rhetorical question in the first item (“…And who will back them up when they do it?”), is, “Probably no one.” My principal once told me he wouldn’t support my team rule that players who wanted to actually take the field needed to maintain a 2.0 GPA. I kept the rule anyway, and it wasn’t challenged, fortunately, but school districts, being publicly-funded entities, are inclined to bow to public (or very loud individual parent) pressure. Teachers who actually fight back when physically attacked by a student are likely to find themselves out there ahead of the front lines, all alone, should they turn around and look for support from their employer. The student’s lawyer will likely play to the angle of the student-as-child, (even if the student is 6′ 4″ and weighs 240 lbs.), while emphasizing that the teacher is an adult, even if said teacher weighs 140 lbs. less than the student. When I was teaching, failure or refusal to support a teacher involved in an altercation with a student seemed to be the case in private as well as public schools. I can’t speak to the parochial school scene.

    I’m sympathetic to the movement to get at the root causes of a student’s violent behavior, but it isn’t, or at least shouldn’t be, an either/or kind of situation where all the attention and resources are devoted to the student attacker while the teacher is left to fend for himself. I use the term “himself” advisedly. When I was teaching in the Pleistocene (1970s, 80s, 90s), the expectation at my school was that male teachers would *not* allow fights between students to simply play themselves out. Male teachers were expected to step in and stop the fight. Female teachers were exempt from this expectation, which is reasonable on the one hand, and totally sexist on the other.

  4. Submitted by Todd Hintz on 12/10/2015 - 01:01 pm.


    It looks to me like the Freedom From Religion Foundation got exactly what they were looking for: separation of state and church. It’s perfectly fine for people to put up their own nativity scenes in their yard–just don’t put them on public property.

    I have to wonder if anyone is putting up an evil nativity scene like the haunted house in Ohio. Or the minimalist Bauhaus scene made of wood blocks. There are some seriously creative people out there!

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