Teachers should take action lawmakers can’t ignore

Since Republicans took control of the General Assembly in 2011, public schools have taken a pummeling. It hasn’t been just a lack of funding. It has been a lack of respect.

School teachers, other school employees and parents have protested the cuts and the harassment. They’ve met with legislators, signed petitions and marched by the thousands on the Legislative Building — twice. All to no avail. Instead of help, they’ve gotten gaslighting. Republican leaders say there is no problem, that big money is being spent on schools, that North Carolina’s teachers are getting good raises.

Reasonable, teacher-like actions haven’t moved the legislature. Now is the time to act like workers and advocates for children and for the future of North Carolina. Teachers should walk out until legislators wake up.

Many teachers are wary of a mass, open-ended walkout. A strike by public employees is illegal in North Carolina. Children will miss school. Republicans will label them selfish. But teachers in other states, some facing the same legal risks, have taken this bold step. The NCAE is going to survey how many teachers would support a job action. That’s a sensible step, but if teachers’ concerns are sincere there can only be one answer at this late hour as so many children are being deprived of the education they deserve — and the education North Carolina can readily afford. It’s time for what can’t be ignored: Leave the classrooms until lawmakers agree to support public schools.

Ned Barnett in The (Raleigh) News & Observer

Gun sanctuaries don’t need to be all or none

Sometimes when the topic of gun rights comes up, there seems to be no room for compromise, let alone any listening with an open mind to what someone from the opposite side has to say. But Haywood County is a special place where people find ways to overcome obstacles and work through issues.

That was on full display Tuesday evening (Jan. 21) when the county commissioners meeting room was jam-packed with people — most of whom were there to ask that Haywood become a gun sanctuary county. This is when a government body passes a resolution indicating its support for the Second Amendment. Some such resolutions resolve to not enforce gun-control measures county leaders perceive as violating Second Amendment rights.

The vast majority of about three-dozen speakers urged the commissioners to become a gun sanctuary county. But all in the room gave Haywood native Natalie Henry Howell a standing ovation when she asked for consideration of two gun-control measures that may have saved the life of her son, Riley, who died during a school shooting at UNC-Charlotte after tackling the shooter and saving who knows how many other lives. Riley was shot with rounds 13 through 18 from an extended magazine by a person with diminished mental capacity who should never have been able to own a gun, Howell told the crowd.

“I just want us to give some careful thought on whether or not that’s something we want out there,” Howell said. “The other thing I’d like to give careful thought to is tighter background checks, because I’m not real sure I understand why someone who says they want responsible gun ownership wouldn’t be for background checks that are thorough.”

Many at the meeting said the resolution simply sends a message of support for the Second Amendment, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. But as always, the devil is in the details. For instance, there are risks to adopting a resolution worded in a way that could put locally elected officials in a position of picking and choosing which laws to enforce.

The commissioners indicated they are willing to adopt something, but want to be careful of how it is worded. We elect commissioners to look out for the best interests of Haywood County.

It appears that is exactly what they are doing.

Vicki Hyatt in The (Waynesville) Mountaineer

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