Top 5 Live-WURD Tuesday October 27
1. South Carolina deputy placed on desk duty after manhandling black female high schooler
A Richland County school resource officer has been placed on administrative duty following an incident at a local high school that was captured on video and circulated on social media sites across the nation. Lt. Curtis Wilson with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Monday night that Deputy Ben Fields will not be back at any school pending the results of an investigation.
Sheriff Leon Lott, whose agency is in charge of the school resource program at the school, told reporters that the student refused to leave after a teacher asked her to. An administrator was called to the room, and also asked the student to leave, Lott said, and she refused again. Finally, the school resource officer came to the room. Lott said the officer forcibly removed the student and claimed that she resisted arrest.
Richland School District Two. Superintendent Dr. Libby Roof said that the district was “deeply concerned” about the incident, adding that “Student safety is and always will be the District’s top priority.” An investigation is underway.
2. Cosby probe could be shaped by election
Montgomery County prosecutors could be weeks away from charging Bill Cosby with the 2004 sexual assault of a former Temple University employee, sources say. The prosecution would be the first against the comedian accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women. But whether the case moves forward could hinge on the outcome of next week’s election.
That became clear Monday when the accuser, Andrea Constand, filed a defamation suit against former DA Bruce Castor, who declined to prosecute her allegations in 2005 and now is running to reclaim his old seat. Constand’s suit accuses Castor of undermining her credibility and misstating facts about her case.
Her lawyer acknowledged Constand is cooperating with the probe overseen by District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Kevin Steele, her first assistant and Castor’s opponent in the race. But if Castor wins, she said, Constand would likely back out of the case. Castor accused Constand and Troiani of engaging in ” despicable behavior” designed to influence the election. Ferman won’t say if her office is reinvestigating the claims Constand first lodged in 2005, when she told police that Cosby drugged and assaulted her at his Cheltenham mansion.
3. Mayor launches investigation of L&I inspections
Mayor Nutter ordered the city’s Inspector General Monday to investigate if the Department of Licenses and Inspections has followed new safety rules put in place after the deadly Center City building collapse. The mandate stems from a report in Sunday’s Inquirer that L&I failed to properly inspect more than 80 percent of private demolitions over the last nine months.
Nutter called the Inquirer report “tremendously troubling.” He vowed to hold officials and inspectors accountable depending on what Inspector General Amy Kurland discovers.
“We must get to the bottom of it to find out whether or not inspections were conducted,” Nutter said at a Monday afternoon press conference. “Are there pictures? Are there details and data and the like that are supposed to be in place as a result of past, or even more troubling, new regulations and laws that have been put into to place.”
Since the collapse of the Market Street Salvation Army building in June 2013 that killed six and seriously injured 13, the Nutter administration and City Council have created new demolition requirements in an attempt to prevent another tragedy.
4. Obama administration announces new testing guidelines
Stressed-out students nationwide, take note. Relief is on the way. After years of complaints from teachers, parents and students alike, the Obama administration announced new guidelines toward standardized tests, saying kids spend too much time taking “unnecessary” exams in schools.
In a Facebook video message, President Barack Obama said he hears from parents who worry about “too much testing, and from teachers who feel so much pressure to teach to a test that it takes the joy out of teaching and learning.” “I want to fix that,” he said.
The Department of Education said “the Administration bears some of the responsibility for” the issue, releasing a “Testing Action Plan” outlining new principles for measuring student aptitude. The plan says current policies have led to “unnecessary testing” with “not enough clarity of purpose.”
5. State legislators to take recess without passing budget
As the father of a public school student, I’m outraged, because our elected officials have helped to create a system in which our children come last. How else to explain what Philadelphia School Superintendent William Hite told me when I asked him if the money to cover the current budget shortfall will come out of the classroom?
“Anything we have to pay additionally because of all of the fixed costs, the only discretionary monies that are left … are monies that impact children in classrooms,” Hite told me. “Because everything else is required by law. You have to pay employees, you have to pay debt service, you have to pay retirement and benefits, and you have to pay charter payments. The only discretionary places are those things that impact classrooms…”
Do voters really want a state legislature that breaks our schools and takes a break? Do we really want politicians who promote ideology instead of promoting our children? Pennsylvania voters pay the price for this. And if state legislators take a break before settling the budget impasse, on Election Day, we should make them pay the price, as well.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon