Friday Churn: “Bully” opens in Colo.

Daily Churn logoWhat’s churning:

The much-discussed documentary “Bully” opens today in Colorado with a PG-13 rating, making it more widely available and accessible to students, parents, educators and others.

The film follows five families over the course of a school year, including two families who have lost children to suicide and a mother whose teen daughter has been jailed after bringing a gun on her school bus.

Bully has drawn attention both for its subject matter and for the battle over its rating, which started at R until enormous public outcry – and the editing out of a few F-bombs – prompted the Motion Picture Association of America to drop it to a PG-13. You can learn more about the movement sparked by the movie at

The documentary has won critical reviews for its look at a problem faced by an estimated 13 million schoolchildren each year. Peter Travers of Rolling Stone magazine gave it 3.5 stars out of 4, calling it “a potent and provocative look at a problem that’s out of control.” Watch the trailer:


Former Colorado education Commissioner Dwight Jones is facing a big fiscal crisis as superintendent of the Clark County, Nev., schools, the nation’s fifth largest district with some 307,000 students.

According to EdWeek’s District Dossier blog, the district faces “worst-case” budget shortfall of about $64 million for the 2012-13 school year, which could mean the loss of up to 1,400 positions. The blog post also some interesting background on a new study about the challenges facing districts nationwide.

The district has more than 37,000 employees and an annual budget of just above $2 billion. You can get more details in this Las Vegas Review-Journal report.

What’s on tap:

Peg Hoey, president of Kunskapsskolan USA, is this month’s speaker in the Hot Lunch series sponsored by the Donnell-Kay Foundation. Kunskapsskolan is an international organization that starts schools with the central idea is personalized learning, where the school and the teachers start from and adapt themselves to the pupil’s goals, ambitions and potentials.

The EdNews’ Churn is a daily roundup of briefs, notes and meetings in the world of Colorado education. To submit an item for consideration in this listing, please email us at

What's Your Education Story?

As the 2018 school year begins, join us for storytelling from Indianapolis educators

PHOTO: Dylan Peers McCoy/Chalkbeat
Sarah TeKolste, right, and Lori Jenkins at a Teacher Story Slam, in April.

In partnership with Teachers Lounge Indy, Chalkbeat is hosting another teacher story slam this fall featuring educators from across the city.

Over the past couple of years, Chalkbeat has brought readers personal stories from teachers and students through the events. Some of our favorites touched on how a teacher won the trust of her most skeptical student, why another teacher decided to come out to his students, and one educator’s call to ramp up the number of students pursuing a college education.

The event, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13, is free and open to the public — please RSVP here.

Event details:

5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018
Tube Factory artspace
1125 Cruft St., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Get tickets here and find more on Facebook

More in What's Your Education Story?

School safety

Hiring more security officers in Memphis after school shootings could have unintended consequences

PHOTO: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Tennessee’s largest district, Shelby County Schools, is slated to add more school resource officers under the proposed budget for next school year.

Superintendent Dorsey Hopson earmarked $2 million to hire 30 school resource officers in addition to the 98 already in some of its 150-plus schools. The school board is scheduled to vote on the budget Tuesday.

But an increase in law enforcement officers could have unintended consequences.

A new state law that bans local governments from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration officials could put school resource officers in an awkward position.

Tennessee Education Commissioner Candice McQueen recently reminded school personnel they are not obligated to release student information regarding immigration status. School resource officers employed by police or sheriff’s departments, however, do not answer to school districts. Shelby County Schools is still reviewing the law, but school board members have previously gone on the record emphasizing their commitment to protecting undocumented students.

“Right now we are just trying to get a better understanding of the law and the impact that it may have,” said Natalia Powers, a district spokeswoman.

Also, incidents of excessive force and racial bias toward black students have cropped up in recent years. Two white Memphis officers were fired in 2013 after hitting a black student and wrestling her to the ground because she was “yelling and cussing” on school grounds. And mothers of four elementary school students recently filed a lawsuit against a Murfreesboro officer who arrested them at school in 2016 for failing to break up a fight that occurred off-campus.

Just how common those incidents are in Memphis is unclear. In response to Chalkbeat’s query for the number and type of complaints in the last two school years, Shelby County Schools said it “does not have any documents responsive to this request.”

Currently, 38 school resource officers are sheriff’s deputies, and the rest are security officers hired by Shelby County Schools. The officers respond and work to prevent criminal activity in all high schools and middle schools, Hopson said. The 30 additional officers would augment staffing at some schools and for the first time, branch out to some elementary schools. Hopson said those decisions will be based on crime rates in surrounding neighborhoods and school incidents.

Hopson’s initial recommendation for more school resource officers was in response to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people and sparked a wave of student activism on school safety, including in Memphis.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s recent $30 million budget boost would allow school districts across Tennessee to hire more law enforcement officers or improve building security. Measures to arm some teachers with guns or outlaw certain types of guns have fallen flat.

For more on the role and history of school resource officers in Tennessee, read our five things to know.

Sheriff’s deputies and district security officers meet weekly, said Capt. Dallas Lavergne of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. When the Memphis Police Department pulled their officers out of school buildings following the merger of city and county school systems, the county Sheriff’s Office replaced them with deputies.

All deputy recruits go through school resource officer training, and those who are assigned to schools get additional annual training. In a 2013 review of police academies across the nation, Tennessee was cited as the only state that had specific training for officers deployed to schools.