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That’s It, REP ITSE Has To Go For Jeopardizing The Safety Of Our Children (HB 609)

I am outraged at State Rep Dan Itse and his new bill HB 609 that would allow teachers to carry loaded weapons at schools. Rep Itse, told AP reporter Norma Love that he submitted this legislation in response to the Sandy Hook tragedy.

This idea just sickens me! The idea that we should be encouraging our teachers to openly carry loaded weapons in our school. The place where we are trying our best to keep guns away from! Scott McGilvray, President of the NH chapter of the National Education Association said,

“It is both astounding and disturbing that following the recent tragedies, politicians and pundits who have spent little if any time in public schools have taken to the airwaves and to the State House floors to call for arming our teachers. (2)”

“As the rest of the country debates how to keep guns out of schools. In New Hampshire, we are actually proposing bringing more guns in. Guns have no place in our schools.”

This is asking for problems. Rep Itse is asking for more guns in our schools. This idea of more guns in our schools appalls me and I have not hidden that fact (see also The Last Thing We Need Is MORE Guns In Our Schools And State Houses). More guns in our schools mean a higher possibility of a child being shot accidentally. Dean Michener of the New Hampshire School Boards Association said, “the chances an armed teacher will hit a child are high.” This is an unacceptable risk to on our most prized possessions.

Michener also made reference to the study from New York where police officers involved in a ‘fire fight’ have an accuracy rating of only 18%. These are trained police officers who have mandatory training and marksmanship testing. Even with all of this testing and training, when an officer is being shot at, their accuracy rating drops to 18%. This alone is enough to say that a teacher should not be carrying a gun into any school. Teachers would not be required to have any training, any testing, or regulated requirements before they carry their loaded weapons into our schools. All a teacher would need is a licesene to carry a concealed weapon under Rep Itse’s proposed bill.

Rep Itse is trying to say that teachers need guns to protect themselves in the event of an armed gunman going through the school. To show you how crazy Itse is he said, “They (teachers) wouldn’t be hiding under their desks looking for a pair of scissors.” I assume that this is to stop the armed gunman. I guess Rep Itse did not read any of the stories of what educators at Sandy Hook did to protect the children all without guns, or scissors.

Why is Rep Itse not working to find ways to stop these events from happening. Instead he is wasting time creating laws that will only make tragedies in our school worse when they happen.

I am glad to see that Governor Hassan will not stand for this type of legislation. “The governor believes we must always be working to improve the safety of our schools and communities, but encouraging weapons in the classroom would put New Hampshire’s children at risk of harm,” said Marc Goldberg, Hassan’s press secretary.

I hope the voters in Fremont realize that this is the guy they voted in. The guy who wants to revive the NH Militia and put armed teachers in our schools. Hopefully the good people of Fremont will see what Rep Itse is doing in Concord and reject his extremist view for New Hampshire. Unfortunately we have to wait another year and a half till we can remove Rep Itse, however I will not forget this.


President Obama Honors Families Of Sandy Hook With Citizens Medal

The tragedy of Sandy Hook is still very fresh in our memory.  The story of a mentally ill student terrorizing a small school taking the lives of students and teachers.

President Obama opened the ceremony by saying, “Today, we honor you.  We celebrate you.  And, most of all, we have a chance to say thank you.  Because all of us are what the rest of us aspire to be. “

There are many cases where everyday people become instant heroes for the actions they took in the face of immediate danger.  President Obama continues;

“And then when Dawn Hochsprung, and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino, Anne Marie Murphy — when they showed up for work at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14th of last year, they expected a day like any other — doing what was right for their kids; spent a chilly morning readying classrooms and welcoming young students — they had no idea that evil was about to strike.  And when it did, they could have taken shelter by themselves.  They could have focused on their own safety, on their own wellbeing.  But they didn’t.  They gave their lives to protect the precious children in their care.  They gave all they had for the most innocent and helpless among us.

And that’s what we honor today — the courageous heart, the selfless spirit, the inspiring actions of extraordinary Americans, extraordinary citizens. “

True heroes are the one who are willing to sacrifice their lives to save others.  This is exactly what happened in Sandy Hook.  These brave AFT teachers sacrificed their lives to save the children in their care.  (Read more When Tragedy Strike, Heroes Emerge. In Sandy Hook, The Educators Are The Heroes)

Below is the transcript of President Obama’s presentation of awards to the families of the brave educators who died in Sandy Hook.

Heroic Teachers“The Presidential Citizens Medal is awarded to Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto for dedicating themselves to their students and to the community of Newtown, Connecticut. Some had been at Sandy Hook Elementary School for only weeks; others were preparing to retire after decades of service. All worked long past the school bell to give the children in their care a future worth their talents. On December 14, 2012, unthinkable tragedy swept through Newtown, etching the names of these six courageous women into the heart of our nation forever. The United States honors Rachel D’Avino, Dawn Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Rousseau, Mary Sherlach, and Victoria Soto for their extraordinary commitment to the students of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Accepting on behalf of Rachel D’Avino — her mother, Mary D’Avino and sister, Sarah D’Avino. 

Accepting on behalf of Dawn Hochsprung — her daughter, Erica Lafferty, and mother, Cheryl Lafferty. 

Accepting on behalf of Anne Marie Murphy — her husband, Michael Murphy, and daughters, Paige and Colleen Murphy.

Accepting on behalf of Lauren Rousseau — her parents, Terry and Gilles Rousseau. 

Accepting on behalf of Mary Sherlach — her husband, Bill Sherlach, and daughters, Katy Sherlach and Maura Schwartz. 

Accepting on behalf of Victoria Soto — her parents, Donna and Carlos Soto.

(Below is the full video from the White House of the award presentations)

NH House: Legislators Who Wasted Taxpayer Time Opposing Deadly Weapons Ban Have Record of Extreme Guns Votes

Today the New Hampshire House of Representatives voted 196-153 to adopt a ban on deadly weapons in the House chamber and gallery, following several painful hours of floor debate generated by Republican members.

Among those dragging the debate out for hours were State Representatives George Lambert of Litchfield, Pam Tucker of Greenland, J.R. Hoell of Dunbarton, Jordan Ulery of Hudson, Al Baldasaro of Londonderry and Lenette Peterson of Merrimack. Granite State Progress released an excerpt of the guns and deadly weapons vote record of these vocal speakers:

•    All six voted for exempting firearms, fire arm accessories, and ammunition manufactured in New Hampshire from federal law and regulation. The bill additionally would have made a state or federal official who enforced a lawful federal regulation guilty of a misdemeanor or felony. (HB125, Roll Call #12, 2/15/2011; Final: Interim Study by House)

•    All six voted for eliminating licensing requirements for New Hampshire residents to own and carry firearms such as pistols and revolvers, “whether openly or concealed, loaded or unloaded.” (HB536, Roll Call #14, 1/5/2012; Tabled by Senate)

•    All six voted for removing the minimum mandatory sentence for conviction of a felony involving the possession, use, or attempted use of a firearm, and would have made the sentence for such a felony conviction discretionary. (HB378, Roll Call #65, 3/15/2011; Final: Interim Study by Senate)

The vote to restore the ban on deadly weapons reverts House rules to those that had been in place for 40 years before the last House changed them.

“Granite State Progress applauds the New Hampshire House for this reasonable restriction on deadly weapons in the State House,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of Granite State Progress. “Returning to the previous House rules was a smart step for the safety of State House visitors and schoolchildren. The same state representatives who wasted taxpayer time debating this issue are the ones who voted to eliminate licensing requirements and background checks to allow nearly anyone to buy and carry a gun. Those individuals are not credible voices when it comes to when and where guns should be allowed.”

“Now that the routine House rules have been established, we’re eager to see the conversation move quickly to how to improve jobs and the economy for New Hampshire families and small businesses,” Rice Hawkins said.

# # # # #

Editors Note: The issue around guns and gun free zones has been brought up many times since the tragic events in Sandy Hook.  Rep Hoell even went as far today as to say that the tragedy in Sandy Hook was due to a ‘Gun-Free Zones’.  This is a complete fallacy.

As NHLN blogger Matt Murray pointed out in his post “The Last Thing We Need Is MORE Guns In Our Schools And State Houses” that many of the tragedies we have seen in the past few years have been in area’s where guns were present.

Remember that some of the most tragic events in the last few years occurred in places where armed guards were present.  Columbine had armed security guards. The University of Virginia has armed campus police.  Fort Hood is an active military base for pete’s sake.  None of these armed enforcers stopped those tragic events from happening.”

Helping Hands Project To Help Children In Sandy Hook

Want to help the children of Sandy Hook CT.  Here is a very easy and simple program that will allow you and your family send messages of support to those in Sandy Hook.

Helping Hands Project

Here’s how…

1. Gather up some paper or card stock in either white or light green and some finger paint.
2. Put hand print on a sheet and decorate it however you wish.
3. Add your name, city or town and school.
4. Send them to Bonny Marsicano or contact Felicia Augevich
5. Once the helping hands are collected our team of volunteers will string them together and hang them in the halls of the new school facility pending district approval.
6. A poster explaining our mission will be hung unobtrusively at the entrance to the school also pending district approval.
Positive messages of hope for the children are welcome positive

The message will be simple: You are not alone. You are loved. You are safe.

Bonny Marsicano               Felicia Augevich
22 Pine Tree Hill Road       215 Copp Dr.
Newtown, CT 06470          Fremont NH  03044
Cell 603 702-0902

Conn. must receive by deadline of Friday 12/28.



The Last Thing We Need Is MORE Guns In Our Schools And State Houses

Author’s Note: Before I go on what is sure to be a highly controversial rant I want to make it very clear.  I believe in a person’s right to own a gun. Nobody, I mean nobody, is talking about taking away all guns. However if you own a semi-automatic weapon that has a 30 plus round magazine then your darn right we are coming for your guns.  

Yesterday was the memorial service for the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Just after 9am nearly every media outlet in America stopped for a moment of silence for the victims.  They rang a bell 26 times for every victim who perished in the deadly school shooting.

The events in Sandy Hook has reignited an age old debate over gun control.  To me the most appalling thing was listening to the  National Rifle Association’s press conference after the memorial service.  The NRA implied that the reason for such tragedies like Sandy Hook was due to the ‘gun free zone’ laws.  Their answer to reducing gun violence is more guns.

“I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school” (NRA Press Conference 12-21-12)

Bushmaster .223

Yes you heard that right, they are calling for armed guards in every school in America.  These comments sparked outrage from people across the country.  Most notably the President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, which represents the teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  In a written statement Weingarten said:

“After remaining silent for an entire week following the Newtown massacre, the NRA’s first comments were to call for more guns in our schools and our society. This is both irresponsible and dangerous. No matter how much money the NRA spends or propaganda it tries to spread, one thing is clear—the NRA is not serious about confronting the epidemic of gun violence in our nation.”

“Schools must be safe sanctuaries, not armed fortresses. Anyone who would suggest otherwise doesn’t understand that our public schools must first and foremost be places where teachers can safely educate and nurture our students.”

I want to make it perfectly clear that there is not one shred of evidence that adding armed guards to our schools will do anything to stop random acts of violence. Remember that some of the most tragic events in the last few years occurred in places where armed guards were present.  Columbine had armed security guards. The University of Virginia has armed campus police.  Fort Hood is an active military base for pete’s sake.  None of these armed enforcers stopped those tragic events from happening.

Soldiers at Fort Hood

Schools do not need more guns to stop gun violence.  All of these situations were due to a mentally ill individual who in an act of insanity took the lives a innocent people.

New Hampshire State Representatives are using the tragedy in Sandy Hook an example for the need for more open gun laws.

State Rep J.R. Hoell told reporters:

“The killings are happening in the places where there’s gun-free zones … The teachers should be carrying, because had the teachers been carrying in Connecticut, it would have been a different story.” [Concord Monitor]

Right now in the state of NH you can legally carry (open or concealed) a loaded weapon into and any state building. This was thanks to the extreme agenda pushed by former Speaker Bill O’Brien.  It was so important to him and his radical followers it was the first piece of legislation passed by the NH House in the 2011 session.

This law sparked immediate controversy because this law also ment that students at Plymouth State University were allowed to bring loaded weapons onto the campus.  In a ridiculous act, a small group students wanted to showcase their new rights by openly carrying loaded semi-automatic weapons on the UNH campus. The group was met with hostility and a police entourage.  Once again proving that more guns does not create a safer environment.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy concerned Granite Staters are calling for an outright repeal of this law.  Zandra Rice Hawkins, director of Granite State Progress said in a written statement:

 “(Rep) Hoell voted for allowing guns on college campuses, exempting firearms and ammunition manufactured in New Hampshire from federal law and regulation, and eliminating licensing requirements for New Hampshire residents to own and carry guns. He is by no means a supporter of reasonable conversation on how to protect our country’s children and other residents from gun violence.”

Rep Hoell is not only advocating for more open gun regulations, he is encouraging members to show up to high charged political meetings at the State House openly carrying loaded weapons and walk in and “remove these people”.  What does he mean by this? Is Rep Hoell really advocating for gun violence in the State Capitol building?

Rep Hoell is not alone in his actions to “remove these people”.  Rep Lambert and Rep Baldasaro were also a part of the facebook event encouraging this extremist behavior.  I would also like to remind you that at least once in the 2011-2012 session State Reps brought loaded weapons into the State House and ended up dropping them on the floor. It has been reported that on any given day, there are at least 40 members of the NH House who are carrying loaded weapons into the Capitol building.  Not only are these actions potentially dangerous to the other Representatives in the Capitol building, every week hundreds of fourth graders tour the Capitol to see the State Legislature in action.

We need to have a real conversation about these tragedies.  We need to talk about the availability of these weapons for mentally ill people.  We also need to have the conversation about how we as a nation need to increase awareness for mental health problems.  Our legislators should be working on increasing funding to programs that help these people not advocating for more guns.   If you agree with me then stand up and take actions.  Sign the petition started by Granite State Progress to repeal this gun law in New Hampshire and show the rest of America that the Granite State truly cares about the safety of our residents.


When Tragedy Strike, Heroes Emerge. In Sandy Hook, The Educators Are The Heroes

In the wake of any tragic event, a few people are raised up as heroes.  It may be something small, like helping the people move away from the car accident. It could be the firefighter who ran back into the burning building to make sure everyone else was out.  These are the heroes we need to celebrate.

After all of theses situations, many normal people ask themselves, what would I have done in this situation?

Everyone is talking about the Sandy Hook Elementary disaster.  This was a horrific moment that millions of Americans will never forget.  I do not want to talk about gun control or mental health problems (though we still need to promote those conversations).  I want to talk about the HEROES that emerged from Sandy Hook.

The real Heroes were the educators.  All of them did what they could to protect the children.  Some even died, in an effort to protect their students from harm.

This morning the Nashua Telegraph posted an editorial that mirrors my mentality. “Newtown’s heroic educators should never be forgotten.”  The editorial highlights the stories of the brave men and women at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

• Principal Dawn Hochsprung, 47, and school psychologist Mary Sherlach, 56, were shot and killed while confronting the gunman, amid some reports that the 5-foot-2 principal was shot while lunging toward him. Both Hochsprung and Sherlach had been meeting with a parent in a conference room when they heard the initial series of “pops” and went running toward the shooter.

 • First-grade teacher Victoria Soto, 27, was killed after trying to usher her students into a classroom closet. When six of the frightened students got out, Soto positioned herself between them and the gunman. None survived.

 • Special education teacher Anne Marie Murphy, 52, a 14-year veteran of the school, was found dead, holding the lifeless body of 6-year-old Dylan Hockley.

“We take great comfort in knowing that Dylan was not alone when he died, but was wrapped in the arms of his amazing aide, Anne Marie Murphy,” the Hockley family said in a statement. “Dylan loved Mrs. Murphy so much and pointed to her picture on our refrigerator every day.”

 • Rachel D’Avino, 29, a teacher’s aide, also died protecting her students, unaware that her boyfriend intended to propose to her Christmas Eve.

 • Lauren Rousseau, 30, the sixth staff member to die in the shooting, only had been a permanent substitute teacher at the school since November, a job her mother said made it “the best year of her life.”

Then there were the many acts of bravery committed by those who were fortunate to escape with their lives. (Read more in the Nashua Telegraph)

Now ask yourself, would you have done the same thing? I would have, and I hope we all would have. Do not ever forget what these women and men did to save the hundreds of other children in this school.  These union members paid the ultimate price for their efforts to protect the children.

When the  right wing media starts to say that the union teachers are destroying our schools, you can remind them of these heroic union members who sacrificed their lives for the children.  

UPDATED to include this new video to honor the victims from AFT National.


See also American Federation of Teachers Aids In Healing After NEWTOWN Tragedy


American Federation of Teachers Aids In Healing After NEWTOWN Tragedy

I just wanted to take a minute to share a few links from the American Federation of Teachers.  AFT has been instrumental in helping after the tragedy in Newtown CT.

Today I would like to highlight three links that you can use as well to help deal with this tragedy.  The first is the AFT Resource page on dealing with incidences of school violence.  Nobody wants to see violence in our schools but it is inevitable.  Extreme actions like Newtown are extremely rare.  However schools, teachers, and parents have to deal with other violent issues in schools that range from bullying to rape.  Use this resource page from AFT to help find ways to better safeguard our children is school.

Along the same lines, AFT has create a page to help educators cope with traumatic events.   From page:

“Administrators and educators need to be prepared to deal with any crisis that might arise; such preparation will better equip them to respond to students’ emotional needs in the wake of a crisis. These resources may be of help to you in helping your students cope with fear and trauma.”

This page gives tools to help educators learn how to respond to traumatic events, and preventive measures to stop these events before they happen.

Lastly, a very special page. The AFT Connecticut has created a place where you can leave a message of support for students, teachers, staff and the community of Newtown.  That is right, you can send a personal message of support the families in Newtown.   The messages are being collected and distributed to the AFT locals around Newtown.

We will be presenting these messages to our locals, Newtown Federation of Teachers, Local 1727, Newtown Federation of Custodians Local 3924 and Newtown Federation of Education Personnel Local 3785. (AFT-CT)

Please take a moment to send you message of support to these fellow union members who, through no fault of their own, have just endured one of the most tragic events in a decade.



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