Thursday, March 24, 2011

Packing Heat at College

When your children go to college what do you pack to send with them?

You probably include their clothing, some sheets and towels, a laptop computer and maybe a small refrigerator or microwave.

But, how about a gun?

Don't be shocked. It's not that far-fetched. And guns could be coming to a college campus near you.

In the aftermath of several campus shootings in recent years and the gun fueled violence in Arizona that killed 6, wounded 13 and incapacitated Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, there is a movement to give college students and their professors the right to carry weapons onto campus.

It is already the law in Utah where students at all public colleges are allowed to carry a concealed gun if they have the proper permit. And, in Colorado several colleges have taken advantage of a state law giving them the option of allowing licensed handguns in class, several other institutions of higher learning there are also considering it. Similar measures have been proposed in about a dozen other states. There is almost always opposition to the idea.

But in Texas, which has more than half a million college students at any given time, lawmakers seem ready to pass their version of a guns-on-campus bill that sponsors say will help keep the peace in places where students are trying to learn. They believe the best defense against another out-of-control campus gunman killing innocents is armed students and professors who can shoot back and stop the carnage.

Naturally, that's a point of white hot debate.

On one side are those who think guns are the last thing you want to introduce into a college setting rife with academic pressures, romantic entanglements, competitive sports and the universal experimentation with alcohol and drugs. A Los Angeles Times editorial opined recently: "Adding firearms to this volatile mix is a spectacularly bad idea; guns are indeed tools of self-defense, but they're also tools of suicide, accidental shootings, intimidation and murder."

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, named for former presidential press secretary Jim Brady who nearly lost his life in 1981 when an assassin opened fire on his boss, Ronald Reagan, stands firmly against the idea of weapons on campus. An organizations rep says, "The college age years -- 18-24 -- are the peak years for engaging in gun crimes, abusing drugs and alcohol, attempting suicide, and having other mental health problems. A binge-drinking, drug-using student is dangerous enough; let's not give him or her a gun."

Here's the other side. The lawmaker who proposed the pending bill in Texas is state Senator Jeff Wentworth. He recently told MSNBC host Chris Matthews that he was wrong in his assumptions about the bill.

"It's not college kids carrying concealed weapons on campus. In Texas, the law requires you to be at least 21 years of age to get a license," Wentworth said. The concealed weapons law will be, "mainly for members of the facility, staff, graduate students and a few seniors" to protect the rest of the "unarmed, defenseless and vulnerable" students should someone come on campus and start shooting.

Wentworth was questioned repeatedly about mixing guns with students using alcohol. What about an armed student carrying a gun into a campus bar? Impossible, he said, "We don't have bars on (public university) campuses. That's the law in Texas."

What would happen if a student decided to take a weapon to a hotly contested football or other type of athletic contest? "That's not allowed under this bill," the senator said.

Remembering the 2007 slaughter in Virginia where 32 students were killed Wentworth calmly said, "I don't ever want to see repeated on a Texas college campus what happened at Virginia Tech, where some deranged, suicidal madman goes into a building and is able to pick off totally defenseless kids like sitting ducks."

Truth be told I'd like to see all guns -- from small handguns and glocks to rifles and semi-automatic types -- melted down and used for scrap.

Tra-la-lah! Wouldn't it be a wonderful world that found no need for guns at all? My logical brain tells me that is never going to happen.

So, the question becomes do we run the risk of regulating gun ownership so much that the responsible people among us decide it isn't worth the hassle of multiple classes, training sessions and big fees to get a license? When that happens only police and the bad guys will have guns. And as we all know the police can't be everywhere.

Dependable Americans with permits already carry their weapons into shopping malls, banks, churches and grocery stores among countless other places every day. Why should a university campus be any different?

Final facts to ponder: A group called Students for Concealed Carry on Campus reports that over 70 American campuses currently allow licensed guns. There hasn't been a single reported instance of shoot-outs, accidents or heated confrontations with a gun involved at any of them. In fact, statistics show the crime rate at Colorado State University has gone steadily down since concealed carry was enacted.

Written by Diane Diamond for The Huffington Post
Posted by Lindy Kahn, M.A., CEP for Kahn Educational Group, LLC

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Teen violence is real, and is a big part of a teenager’s life in the society we live in today. It can include things like dating someone who is violent, who slaps them around frequently, to other teens in school beating on them. Your child sees violence in their school everyday; many teens are using drugs and alcohol and become very depressed. This can be dangerous because they are not thinking clearly and may bring a gun or knife to school. If teen is in a bad enough state they could shoot other students or themselves, or maybe a teacher that they feel has been unfair to them. Depression can cause anyone to become violent especially a teenager.

Gang violence among teens is a growing concern; teens in this situation are subject to being shot at, stabbed, or beaten to death. Teens that are involved in gangs are more likely to commit a violent act towards another person, possibly even killing them. The longer a child lives in this type of environment, the more violent they may become.
Teens also see violence in their homes, they may see one parent beaten and abused by the other, and sometimes one of the parents may be guilty of beating their teen. Maybe the other parent is unaware of what is going on or is too afraid to do anything about it. This type of teen violence is not uncommon in today’s society.  

Teen violence prevention

The best way to help prevent teen violence is by not allowing it in your home, treat each other, including your teen with respect and courtesy. By doing this you set good examples for your teen, these examples will help teach your teen how to treat others with respect. Talk to your teenager; let them know you understand there is a lot of violence surrounding them. Let your teen know you will be there, and be supportive if they ever need you. Try and stay a part of your teen’s life, and if you notice any odd behavior, talk with your child letting them know you are there for them.

Teen violence statistics

Fifty percent of men who abuse their spouse will abuse their children. As sad as it sounds, three million children are at risk of being assaulted by a parent each year. A teen growing up with their mother being abused will more likely be a violent teenager and adult, than a teen that grows up in a loving home. Forty per cent of teenage girls have friends that have been a victim of some violent act. One in five high school girls has been in a violent relationship with a boy. Teen violence has been a problem for a long time but statistic show that this problem is growing and getting more violent each year. Understand that it is a serious problem and we need to not take it lightly. 

Published on AT-RISK.ORG
Posted by Lindy Kahn, M.A., CEP for Kahn Educational Group, LLC

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bullying Revisited: The R Word

In our society of child psychology and guidance counseling, one would be hard pressed to find someone who does not acknowledge the pernicious consequences and prevalence of childhood bullying.

Take, for example, our friend Tyler. Tyler, now in his 20s, was verbally and emotionally abused inside and outside his classrooms growing up. Most would agree that the bullying he faced, while deplorable, was far from unique.

After all, everyone gets bullied. Right? Bullying is a rite of passage, a de facto hazing that all students endure. Right?

In short, no; bullying is preventable and anything but ubiquitous. In fact, recent studies show that only 25 percent of general education students are bullied. But how do we reconcile this with our common memory of rampant childhood and adolescent bullying?

Common knowledge dictates that the victims of bullying are typically those who stand apart from the all-powerful social norms. Bullied students are often those who look different, speak differently, and perhaps even learn differently.

And here we find the hidden victim. While only 25 percent of general education students report being bullied, this number swells to nearly 75 percent when speaking of special education students. Studies show that as many as three in four special education students face peer harassment, often chronic and pervasive, in their schools.

But just as we have traditionally sequestered and pigeonholed special education students, so too do many of us turn a blind eye to the deplorable social conditions these young people face. They routinely confront verbal, physical, and emotional assault in and around the buildings purported to be their safe havens, often while already struggling with issues of self-worth precipitated by an unaccommodating society. We choose to ignore -- or, yet worse, deny -- the silent epidemic of victimization and dehumanization infecting our schools and poisoning the social aspirations and abilities of our most abused demographic.

As you may have guessed, Tyler, like many victims of bullying, has a developmental disability, cerebral palsy. Because of his differences, bullies throughout Tyler's childhood assaulted his self-worth with a concoction of physical and emotional abuse. They all but shattered his self-image with their message of worthlessness, helplessness, and denigration. And their most efficient tool, their best crystallization and communication of this message, was the word "retard(ed)."

Despite "sticks and stones" upbringings, we all know the marks of physical abuse to be temporary, while the destructive power of language scars the psyche indelibly. Tyler, after years of being bullied with the R-word, internalized the degradation conveyed by it and began to identify himself as a "retard."

The R-word, its diagnostic history, and the modern synonymy it has accrued with concepts of undesirability and disdain are inextricably intertwined with the causes and consequences of the bullying of people with intellectual disabilities. It has become a convenient shorthand of exclusion, a linguistic vessel that captures and delivers centuries of stigma and discrimination from bully to bullied, abuser to abused. This word enables the harassment of students and adults with intellectual disabilities and the prejudice it embodies continues to bar this population from equal access to education, employment, and quality of life. An end to the R-word and attention to its consequences will contribute to the cure of this silent epidemic.

To stop this pattern of abuse, tens of thousands of young people across the country and around the world are today uniting in the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign. In their hallways and on their campuses, they are calling their peers and communities to pledge to end the use of the R-word and to create school and work environments where all students and employees are valued.

Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Since its inception in 2008, Spread the Word to End the Word has collected over 150,000 pledges internationally. We invite you to join at, where many of the pledges have been collected.

The elimination of the R-word will not end bullying but curtailing this verbal dehumanization will perhaps allow us to appreciate the intrinsic humanity in all of us, with and without intellectual disabilities.

As Tyler shows us, changing language not only transforms our attitudes towards others but also those towards ourselves: "I used to call myself a retard. But I don't anymore. Now, I call myself a person."

Join Special Olympics and Best Buddies in enabling that humanity in ourselves and others.

Spread the Word to End the R-Word.

Written by Tim Shriver, Jr. for The Huffington Post
Posted by Lindy Kahn, M.A., CEP for Kahn Educational Group, LLC


I am an educational consultant in private practice advising families on day/boarding schools, college admissions, schools for teens and young adults who have emotional/behavioral problems, learning issues, neurological and psychiatric problems.

This blog is dedicated to the wonderful students and families who come to me for advice on school placement. I will try to post information that is related to Texas and national college admissions, as well as information related to topics of interest in the field of education. We will address a variety of issues and trends in college admissions, boarding schools or programs who serve students with special needs.

We hope to provide you with answers to frequently asked questions and current trends in the industry. For more information on the Kahn Educational Group, LLC, please visit my website. Thank you for your interest. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome.

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