Tag Archive: children

Cami’s epic fail in the eye of another epic snowstorm

So, Chaotic Cami, who cannot seem to overcome her own organizational problems (among other things), didn’t get it together to inform parents what was going on for school today until kids were already on their way in, and many parents already on their way to work. Promoted by Rosi. Cross-posted with Marie Corfield.

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The only way you don’t know about this is if you’re sipping umbrella drinks pool-side in Cabo-or, apparently, you’re Cami Anderson.

At 4:33pm yesterday, NJ.com reported:

Blizzard warnings have been issued for northern and eastern New Jersey as a “crippling and potentially historic” storm sets its sights on the northeast.Snow totals could exceed two and a half feet. Drifts could be far higher. High winds will reduce visibilities to near zero.

Before 8pm last night they posted a list of school closings and delays, including early dismissal for Newark’s TEAM and Link Charter Schools. Superintendent robo-calls went out state-wide last night to inform parents of their district’s plans. I got my call. And in case anyone missed any of it, everyone took to social media to spread the news.

I saw a couple of posts from teachers in Newark who were pleading with Cami to make the call-any call: early dismissal, school closed, SOMETHING!

A Modest Proposal for Taking On the Illegal Immigration Menace

With the president putting off any major decisions on dealing with the nation’s illegal immigrant crisis until after the November elections, I believe that now is the time for good citizens to stand up and recognize the dangerous challenge that this growing, illicit population presents to the nation. This may sound like extreme talk, but I’m being modest here by stipulating that the time for mass deportation has arrived.

First, a bit of recent history. These immigrants have poured into our nation by the millions from mostly impoverished parts of the world, especially Ireland. They come here with little or no skills, zero capital, and with many children in tow. In fact, recent news reports have revealed that tens of thousands of these foreigners are actually minors, sent by their desperate, irresponsible parents over vast distances to make a new and dangerous life in America. These young people are pouring over our borders in greater numbers than ever!

We need some honest talk here, because a clear case can be made of that deportation is the only reasonable solution, as this population’s infestation into our homeland continues at an unreasonable and unprecedented rate. To build a case and support my conclusions I have itemized the reasons why the undocumented immigrant population (especially Irish, of course) poses as a genuine menace to all of us:

1. Look at our cities, especially here in New Jersey. Entire neighborhoods in places like Newark, Jersey City and New Brunswick are now completely dominated – overrun – by Irish hordes. The fruits of these newcomers can be seen on our very streets; many are now infested with gangs and roving groups of hungry children. They encourage the perpetuation of dilapidated housing as they continue to pay exorbitant rents to exploitive landlords. This kind of civic deterioration cannot go on!

2. These Irish do not speak proper English (many still cling to their native tongue, the incomprehensible Gaelic) and even when they do acquire the rudiments of our language, their speech emerges in the form of an unintelligible, corrupted, pigeon English.

3. All of these Irish are Catholic. How can we expect them to become good and loyal citizens when their spiritual life is centered on the dictates of the Pope in Rome? How can we expect them to obey and value the Constitution and our democratic values when all they know is religious authoritarianism?

4. Political incorrection aside, these Irish have a violent temperament. They are well known for establishing illicit gangs, brawling and cursing in public and taking to drink! It also should be noted that due to their illegal status, the Irish will rarely if ever inform or involve the authorities in times of trouble. After all, summoning a police officer for any reason could lead (eventually) to deportation. Rather, they choose to endure crimes against them and allow the wicked to prosper, making our urban areas more dangerous.

5. The Irish typically have huge families. These families are a clear drag on our public school and benefit system. Our public sector is audibly groaning under the weight that their needs present.

6. Most Irish adults have no interest or desire in becoming active citizens. Survival and sustenance are their only priorities. They are bringing their foreign-born children here. These children are growing up thinking that they are American, but technically they’re not, and are clearly subject to deportation. These children grow into dreamers, really, because they will never be accepted by the mainstream of American society.

7. The Irish are certainly bringing wages down as they are willing to work in conditions that most good Americans would demand a high paycheck to endure. I know this specifically because I see them everywhere, working in gardens, toiling as nannies, taking care of our elderly and even in the construction of our homes.

Again, I want to reiterate, this nation belongs to the good, hardworking citizenry that have lived in this land and loved it for decades. These foreigners have no intention of becoming authentic Americans, and their deliberate self-separation and bizarre foreign customs – not to mention the larger financial burden they create – endanger our national prosperity and security. These Irish will never integrate into the mainstream of American society. I fear for our future, I really do.

Next week I will continue my warnings on the growth of the illegal immigrant population; I will focus on the arrival of other foreign scoundrels such as Italians, Germans and Jews.

Daniel Kurz is a resident of Princeton, N.J. and a proud veteran of the War of 1812. He is also the vice president of the local chapter of the Garden State’s Know-Nothing Party.

Anderson’s “One Newark” Scheme: The Results Could Be Deadly

Normally the debate over school reform isn’t considered, at least in the immediate sense, a life or death issue. Deliberations concerning teacher tenure, educator workload, class sizes, meal quality, even building conditions can get heated, but rarely overlap with the subject of mortality. But this time things are different. As a former Newark resident and Public School teacher, I am writing to express my serious concern. Due to Cami Anderson’s “One Newark” Plan, and its total obliteration of neighborhood schools, children will probably die. It’s sickening to contemplate. Unthinkable – but logically speaking, all of the pieces are falling into place for an unprecedented series of disasters to ensue.

For the uninformed, Anderson’s “One Newark” Plan has replaced neighborhood schools with a network of schools – charter, magnet and traditional – that parents “apply” to through a universal application. Parents list something like their top two or three choices and through a complex algorithm, students wind up with a school. Sometimes it’s a school they’ve selected, sometimes it is not. The school could be a block away, or on the opposite side of the city. Regardless, come this September, tens of thousands of Newark Public School students will be transformed into hardened commuters, traversing the city’s vast distances by bus, car, light rail and foot to get to and from school. Some daily student commutes will be more than 10 miles through a dense, busy and varied urban environment.

Students at all levels – elementary, middle and high school – will be forced to spend long periods of time in transit. Students will be at bus stops and on busses before sunrise. For those thousands attending after-school events like dances, club meetings, games and concerts, evening bus trips and long walks, sometimes in near-to-total darkness, will be the norm. And it should be pointed out that some games and concerts, especially in the high schools, can end as late as 9 p.m.

Students will be required to do this every day. They will be subjected to the elements during the pleasant, warm mornings of September and during the freezing rainstorms of December. Heat waves, cold snaps, traffic jams, neighborhoods with serious safety issues…all will challenge children and teens, and relentlessly so.

This isn’t a commentary to criticize Newark specifically, but let’s be realistic about this. It’s New Jersey’s largest, densest city. Even to an adult with a car, Newark is a huge, sprawling metropolis of broad, lengthy boulevards and steep hills. The sidewalks in some places are falling apart, and entire stretches of pedestrian walkways, even in the city’s bustling Central Ward, go without proper maintenance or snow removal for weeks at a time.

Add into this mix tens of thousands of overstressed commuters hurrying to get to and from work during rush hours and you’re just asking for catastrophe. Don’t take my word for it. Stand at any intersection along Springfield or Central Avenues at 8 a.m. and you will witness cars, vans and busses bolting by at speeds upward to 50 miles and hour or faster. Trucks blaze through yellow lights like Doc’s DeLorean from Back to the Future. Emergency vehicles regularly shriek down Newark’s avenues with a rapidity that, from the perspective of a confused Fourth Grader, approaches light speed.

Now I know that we all take our lives into our hands whenever we venture out of bed each morning. Every step we take is with God’s Grace, no doubt. But if this plan is implemented, the odds of a child coming into harm’s way, either through an accident or as a victim of a crime, will increase astronomically. Every day tens of thousands of children will be moving through and learning in neighborhoods far away from their homes, parents and guardians.

Many parents in Newark don’t have cars, because one of the main advantages of living in a big city like Newark, with its workable public transportation system, is that some can do without them. Additionally, many of Newark’s parents and guardians are low-income and desperately poor. In the case of an emergency, caregivers could take hours to get to school to attend to a child in distress. In inclement weather it could take longer.

These are all disturbing speculations, but they’re not the stuff of fantasy. There are many reasons to stop the “One Newark” program, but perhaps the logistical and perilous nightmare it will create for Newark’s children is the most compelling. We send our students to school to learn, not to die.

I hope I am wrong. But if I am not, the responsibility will lie completely and instantly with Superintendent Anderson and ultimately with the Governor himself. Children are not adults; they’re not independent agents responsible for themselves. Anderson has enacted this drastic, heartless plan and she will be held to its results

Saving New Jersey’s children three zip codes at a time

Cross-posted with Marie Corfield blog. – Promoted by Rosi.

Yesterday the mayors of New Jersey’s three largest cities, Ras Baraka of Newark, Jose Torres of Paterson and Steven Fulop of Jersey City, announced a bold move to collaborate on reducing violent crime in all three cities.

The proposal evolved from the Passaic River Corridor Initiative along Route 21, which has involved as many as 80 municipalities sharing police intelligence, according to Tom O’Reilly, the head of the Police Institute at Rutgers University. State authorities have said the program has led to hundreds of arrests.

But sharing police officers among three large cities that are not adjacent to one another while also combining social services is “sort of a first,” O’Reilly said. “They are challenging the traditional ways of thinking,” he said of the mayors. “The idea that three mayors have cut across bureaucratic lines is the first step.”

Unaccompanied kids fleeing from violence to the U.S.: A morning in NJ’s Immigration Court

While comprehensive immigration reform is flailing in the murky waters of midterm congressional elections and Republican intransigence, the humanitarian concern for unaccompanied children escaping from violence in northern Central America and seeking refuge in the U.S. has captured the attention of many. Since October according to Homeland Security there have been 52,000 unaccompanied minors crossing the Mexican border into the U.S. – double the number from last year.

The kids are generally first sent to detention centers where they are screened and catalogued and then dispersed throughout the country to family members, foster care or other facilities. According to a law signed by President George W. Bush those who come unaccompanied from countries not contiguous to the U.S. such as Central America can not be immediately returned to their land of origin. Instead they are entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge and an opportunity to seek asylum – a drawn-out procedure with no public defender, a confusing legal system, and slim chances for gaining legal status.

Some of the children end up in New Jersey where there are two immigration courts but only one with a juvenile docket. It is in Newark on the twelfth floor of the Federal Building on Broad Street. I spent a few hours at the court, passed through slow, rigorous security at the entrance, talked with several of the children (I speak Spanish), and at one point was ordered by a judge to appear before him to explain who I was and why I was taking notes. But this is a story about the shy, quiet, and nicely dressed kids appearing before judges who have the authority to deport them back to a tumultuous, dangerous existence.  

One in 50

With the shocking news this morning that 1 in 50 children now has autism I had to write today.

Because New Jersey has one of the highest rates, this is an increasingly emotional issue here. Many autism activists reside here, because NJ children appear to be on the front lines of this battle.  We tend to manage treatment much better than some other places in the United States. Perhaps how we treat these children encourages parents in need of services to move here, and that increases those numbers in NJ, but the real story should simply be the staggering number of children with an autism diagnosis.

This story brings up memories of a boy I knew growing up and it breaks my heart now to think of him. As a child I lived in a quiet neighborhood at the end of a dead end street. Our backyard fence was shared with the yard behind ours where a childhood friend lived. She would always visit our house but we rarely if ever saw the inside of hers and never played in her backyard.   I never really got to know her little brother, whose name I am ashamed to admit, I can’t even remember, but he was a constant presence in my life then.  As a sat on my child’s swing in my backyard and played with my friends in our kiddie pool and I sang songs with my sisters, he was always there.  On the other side of that darn fence that had slats I could barely peak through. I could not see him – he was always hidden away but I could hear him, breathing and pacing and grunting. Always moving.  Restless but never speaking, always there, he seemed agonized by something that only he could see or hear.  He liked to be near the fence, close to us. Maybe he liked the singing.  I always wished he could speak or participate some way. How he was kept there by himself always alone and silent but tortured was so very sad to me.  He seemed  an injured creature pacing fretfully in a cage that nobody knew how to unlock to help him.

The thought of that makes me cry when I think of it now – knowing what I know now about autism. He may have  been able to completely understand what we said but not able to speak to us.  He may have been in pain – looking back it seems that he was.  He would sometimes grow very agitated but he could never tell us what was causing his agitation.  It was haunting.  I grew up and moved away and life intervened, but now, I look back and understand better than I did then.  I want to help children like him. I want to unlock those cages.  I want to calm them and communicate with them and find out what is inside – what they are thinking what they are feeling.  If they are feeling pain, I want to help heal that. Maybe that is what led my older sister to become a speech pathologist – who worked with autistic children when she was a grad student at Rutgers in the 80’s. It must be the most maddening thing to be a parent who knows their child is in distress and not having that child able to speak and actually tell them what is wrong so they can fix it.  I don’t have any children of my own, but I could not imagine being able to bear that kind of heartbreak.  Maybe because I couldn’t have kids, each one I see is so precious and unique and special and deserves to be treated as an individual and their needs not thrown under a bus in some quest for the Greater Good, or herd mentality.  Autistic children are still outnumbered by children who are not, but we need to understand exactly what makes them different and special because then maybe, just maybe, we can prevent a child from developing autism, or help treat them and relieve their pain, soothe them, understand them and free them to communicate so we can include them in our society in a way that elevates all of us.  

Pretty Little Blond Girl Goes Missing

Pretty little blonde girl, just 12, petite and with a name – Autumn – that marks the season she was murdered, hops on her bike in the early afternoon and never comes home.

And now we know. The bike was found. Then she was found, and it was awful. I know somebody who lives in that town, and is deeply affected, so I’ve been tracking the story all day, along with a lot of other folks.

Newspaper accounts are factual, TV reports more or less direct. What fascinates me today, though, are the comments after the stories, and the Facebook remarks following postings of the awful details of Autumn’s death.

The boys now charged with Autumn’s murder are black. She was white. And the bloodlust that has risen up since that fact – and their picture in cuffs – is in evidence is frighteningly racist, and worked-up in a way that singularly seems tied to the loss of a blond girl and the guilt – alleged – of young black men.

No, I won’t be linking. But along with the community’s heartfelt sympathy and expressions of sadness for her, and fear for their own kids, there are discussions of stringing the boys up. “Lynching them old-school.” “Pitchforks and torches.” Suggestions there should be “retroactive abortion”.

I can only wonder at the shadow-streak of sadness across Clayton, NJ tonight. There’s a community church service going on right now; it must be both awful and beautiful to be there in her memory.

When little blond kids go missing, the world takes notice in ways we don’t all take stock of. I’m not immune. When I was 16, I might have saved a little blond boy – it happened fast and I’ll never know. When I was 22, I searched Manhattan for a little blond boy; Etan Patz. Was that because he was a neighborhood kid? Or a photogenic little white face whose heroine I wanted to be? I’ll never know.  

But not too far from where I live, the threat to little kids is constant. And I confess: I hardly ever touch on it in my mind. But it’s inescapable in some houses, for some families, in some neighborhoods. In my town, which used to be white and well-off and is less those things now, some of my neighbors have lost some of the neighborliness that should define small towns like this one, and maybe like Clayton. The crumbling facades and empty stores aren’t about the economy, a rerouted road, local Wal-Mart or anything random for these people. No, these people are most comfortable seeking scapegoats among their neighbors. Impossible not to notice that the neighbors my neighbors hate are darker than they are. And the terms they use to describe them are awful.

Autumn Pasquale’s death is awful, and will and should be felt deeply. But I’m troubled by the fact that too many of us only raise our heads and open our hearts when the randomness of the horror – girl killed for bike parts – seems so improbable and the victim so attractive to us that it consumes us. When the violence is everyday, when the conversation is about spiraling murder rates and walks to school are scary, drive-bys take the boy next door, and the one down the street, is the currency of young lives lost somehow less? I know we would never say so. But don’t we act as though it’s true?

When we see TV, radio and social media light up for a pretty white child gone missing, and barely take note when another child is taken, exploited, killed randomly or killed with intent, aren’t we valuing one life above others? And what are we saying to those parents?

My neighbors speak about their neighbors like their parents don’t worry about them, as though