Current Event May 18, 2018
In the wake of the recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school, discussions about how to keep students safe have resurfaced. One approach is to employ school resource officers (SROs), police who monitor school grounds and respond to any threats. About 30 percent of all schools utilize SROs, but studies reveal that having dedicated police officers on campus doesn’t improve safety. In addition, SROs can actually cause issues for students, making their suspension, expulsion, or even arrest more likely. This is particularly problematic for students of color. For these reasons, some students argue that the money spent on SROs should be directed to other programs. Listen to hear more about the SRO debate: Do Police in Schools Make it Safer?
Current Event February 27, 2018
Students who witnessed the deadly school shooting in Florida are channeling their rage and grief into activism for gun reform. The classmates of the 17 people who were killed by a gunman in a Parkland, Florida high school are demanding state lawmakers ban assault rifles. There are protests and school walkouts planned across the country, in an effort to encourage lawmakers to rethink their positions on guns. Listen to one of the the high school students who survived the shooting as she talks about why she has become a gun control activist.
Current Event January 8, 2018
Prank calls, fake bomb threats, and hoax 911 calls are nothing new. But a new and extremely dangerous prank has put law enforcement on alert. "Swatting" is when someone calls 911 to report a fake shooting, kidnapping, or other dangerous situation so that a SWAT team will show up to a residence. A few weeks ago in Wichita, Kansas, a man was killed by a SWAT team after a hoax 911 call reported that the man was holding his family at gunpoint. Listen to learn about new legislation that members of Congress are proposing to combat these incidents.
Current Event October 9, 2017
In Las Vegas, more than 20,000 people were at a music festival when a man shot into the crowd, killing more than 50 people and injuring almost 500. This mass shooting is the deadliest in recent history and has no known links to international terror groups. Investigators are still gathering information about the shooter. Law enforcement is avoiding calling this domestic terrorism. Listen to a discussion of the definition of domestic terrorism and the other cases that have also prompted this discussion.
Current Event August 28, 2017
South Sudan is the most recently formalized country in the world. The predominantly Christian south separated from the Arab north in 2011, which was a victory for many southern soldiers and people. Unfortunately, the south’s triumphs did not last long. Civil War and famine have impacted South Sudan’s ability to grow as a country, with nearly 60% of the country on the brink of starvation. Listen to this story to hear about the many struggles the South Sudanese face, and hear from others who still have hope.
Current Event May 29, 2017
On Monday, a suicide bombing took place at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England killing 22 people and injuring 59 others. Many of the victims were young people. The terrorist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing, and British Prime Minister Theresa May says that another terrorist attack may be imminent. Following the attack, thousands of Manchester residents attended a public vigil for victims. Listen to learn more about the victims and how residents of Manchester are coming together after this tragedy.
Current Event November 14, 2016
BB guns are popular among children, but they can pose a threat to the safety of communities. BB guns typically look almost identical to real guns, unless closely inspected. When a BB gun is held by someone in public, it is often mistaken as a real gun and a threat to anyone in the area. Parents and educators encourage children not to use BB guns because it could put them in danger. Listen to hear more from children and parents in Baltimore about their opinions on BB guns.
Current Event October 6, 2016
Recent police shootings that resulted in the deaths of African-American men have led to protests and serious scrutiny of law enforcement. While there have been many incidents like these in the two years since the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the number of fatalities has not accurately been tracked. This makes it difficult to assess the effectiveness of police reform trainings. Listen to hear more about the connection between increased scrutiny of law enforcement and police use of deadly force.
Current Event October 4, 2016
In the fifth year of the Syrian civil war, more than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives and more than 11 million people have fled their homes. The city of Aleppo in Syria remains under siege and rebel areas are being bombarded daily by warplanes, killing hundreds of people. The cease-fire between the Russian supported Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and the U.S. backed rebel groups collapsed. There was a deadly attack on a humanitarian convoy, which led to the United Nations halting aid to Syria. In addition to aerial attacks, there are ground offensives, and the water supply was cut off to the opposition-held half of the city. Listen to hear more about the escalation of fighting in Syria.
Current Event September 27, 2016
Parts of New Jersey and New York were rattled by several homemade pipe bombs set in different areas. One exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York city injuring dozens of people. Police arrested Ahmad Khan Rahami based on evidence that he started buying materials to make explosive devices back in June, and that he recorded a video of himself setting off an explosive device near his home in New Jersey. Investigators think the motivation was tied to Islamic terrorism. Listen to hear more about this investigation and what may have motivated this attack.
Current Event July 19, 2016
Americans have been shocked and saddened by the targeted killing of 5 Dallas police officers in apparent retaliation for the many police shootings of black men. The Black Lives Matter movement has organized peaceful protests to bring awareness to these events. Kwame Alexander, an award-winning poet and children’s author who touches on the themes of love, education and race, reflects on the shooting of the officers and the killing of two black men by police - Alton Sterling and Philando Castille. Listen to hear about how he communicates with kids, and why he thinks it’s important for students to think outside of themselves to understand these events.
Current Event June 30, 2016
After a mass shooting that killed 49 people at a nightclub in Florida, the U.S. Senate voted down a set of gun control measures. The measure included expanding background checks at gun shows and Internet sales, as well as preventing people on the terror watch list from buying guns. Some people say the National Rifle Association, or NRA, is blocking these laws, and others say the real target should be terrorists, not gun control. Meanwhile, there is another bill being written that would deny people on the no-fly list from buying guns. Listen to hear the reactions to the failed legislation and what the future may bring for gun control.
Current Event June 20, 2016
An attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 50 people dead and the nation in shock. Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump talked about their reactions to the tragedy and thoughts on how to prevent these kinds of attacks in very different tones. Clinton used a dignified tone and encouraged “steady hands and clear eyes” during this time. Trump used a tough tone and repeated his call for a ban on Muslims entering the United States. Listen to hear about the different reactions to this tragic event.
Current Event May 23, 2016
In 2015, worldwide religious freedom deteriorated and in some places, spiraled downward. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported that violations included denying health care and voting rights, to imprisoning people of certain religions. In some countries, religious freedom is a matter of life and death, and governments fail to protect people from attacks or violence. The issue of religion can also lead to terrorist violence. The commission did not report on the status of the United States, but these global examples may put religious freedom violations in the United States into perspective.
Current Event March 29, 2016
A recent bombing in Brussels killed at least 38 people and wounded hundreds. These terrorist attacks were the third major attack claimed by ISIS in Western Europe. There is now a clear link between the Paris attacks and the Brussels attacks. This has uncovered vulnerabilities in the way these countries are gathering and sharing intelligence. The country of Belgium is bitterly divided between French speaking and Dutch speaking citizens, who have different cultural, social and political agendas. There are two intelligence agencies and six police zones in this city of a million people. Listen to hear how these attacks revealed vulnerabilities in the security sharing system.
Current Event March 9, 2016
The Syrian government and the opposition have agreed on a cease-fire in Syria, which has resulted in a significant drop in violence. The fighting hasn’t completely stopped since there are reports of some airstrikes that violate the agreement. With this truce, the United Nations hopes to deliver more aid to starving people under siege, which has not been possible until now. Russia and the United States agreed on the cease-fire plan, even though they back opposing sides in this war. There are plans to hold talks to bring the Syrian regime and opposition together, but the situation is still very fragile. Listen to hear more about the cease-fire in Syria.