Philadelphia schools, broadly defined, opened today. The School District of Philadelphia told parents to “plan ahead for back to school.”
If the School District had planned ahead last year, perhaps 12-year-old Laporshia Massey would be alive. A sixth grade student at Bryant Elementary, Laporshia died three weeks into the school year after suffering an asthma attack at her school where there was no nurse on the premises.
More than 30 percent of children between the ages of 5 to 12 in West Philly have been diagnosed with asthma. So it was reasonable to expect a child would suffer an asthma attack or otherwise get sick while at school. Yet there was no plan to deal with medical emergencies.
Laporshia’s family is suing the school district. So they may get justice for Laporshia.
But today, tens of thousands are children are in buildings with no school nurse on duty. Where is the plan to prevent another child from dying?
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.
The United States is the only country that inflicts life without parole on juveniles. In the landmark Graham v. Florida decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the imposition of life without parole for non-homicide crimes was cruel and unusual punishment for a juvenile offender.
The 2010 decision gave “juvenile lifers,” including Kenneth Young, hope for a second chance.
Tonight on PBS’s “Point of View” documentary series, you can hear his story:
In June 2000, 14-year-old Kenneth Young was convinced by a 24-year-old neighborhood crack dealer — Kenneth’s mother’s supplier — to join him on a month-long spree of four armed robberies. The older man planned the Tampa, Fla. heists and brandished the pistol—and, on one occasion, he was talked out of raping one of the victims by his young partner. Fortunately, no one was physically injured during the crimes, although the trauma that resulted was immeasurable.
When they were caught, Kenneth didn’t deny his part. It was his first serious scrape with the law. But at 15, he was tried under Florida law as an adult. Astoundingly, he received four consecutive life sentences — guaranteeing that he would die in prison. 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story follows the young African-American man’s battle for release, after more than 10 years of incarceration, much of it spent in solitary confinement. The film is also a disturbing portrait of an extraordinary fact: The United States is the only country in the world that condemns juveniles to life without parole.
Check out the trailer.
I first wrote about illegal immigration in 2005. I’m passionate about a lot of issues but nothing makes my blood boil more than calls for amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants who either sneaked across the border or overstayed their visa.
I’m a policy wonk so I can cite report after report about the high cost of illegal immigration. But I don’t have to go there. For me, it’s real simple: What part of illegal don’t you understand?
Like a lot of Americans, I’m paying a lot of attention to the mess in Texas. If President Obama had listened, he would have known that Americans want to send the so-called “border children” back to Central America. They’re still here so now Obama is paying a high cost.
The Washington Post reports “immigration is now Obama’s worst issue”:
Immigration has emerged as perhaps President Obama’s worst issue — definitely for today, and maybe of his entire presidency — when it comes to public perception.
A new poll from AP-GfK shows more than two-thirds of Americans (68 percent) disapprove of Obama’s handling of the immigration issue in general. Just 31 percent approve — down from 38 percent two months ago.
Count me among those Americans who want to #SendThemBack. It may sound “mean-spirited” but my give a damn gave out 11 million illegal immigrants ago.