To teachers who risk their lives to protect our kids.
We remember when about the biggest threat a teacher might face was a laxative-laced cookie. Today, schools hold practice drills to protect students from rampaging gunmen.
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As saddening as we are by that reality, we're grateful for the teachers who have taken heroic action to save lives.
It happened again last week at a high school in suburban Cleveland, when 38-year-old assistant football coach Frank Hall confronted a 17-year-old gunman.
The youth aimed his weapon at Hall and reportedly fired, but Hall charged the boy anyway, managing to chase him from the building before he could hurt anyone else.
Hall's one comment after the tragedy: "I wish I could have done more."
We know of a handful of similar incidents. In 2010, a Littleton, Colo., middle school math teacher named David Benke subdued a gunman who had just shot and injured two students.
In 1999, science teacher Ronnie Holuby at Fort Gibson Middle School in Oklahoma tackled a seventh-grader who was firing into a crowd of his classmates.
No doubt there have been similar heroics we aren't aware of.
One educator we remember well is Jon Lane, a math teacher and wrestling coach at Frontier Junior High School in Moses Lake. Lane disarmed 14-year-old Barry Loukaitis in 1996, after the boy shot and killed a teacher and two fellow students, then wounded a third classmate.
Asked immediately after the shootings where he found the courage, Lane gave the following answer:
"I don't know," he said. "I didn't think about it. I was there, and I'm a teacher."
Open meeting refresher
Occasionally an agency runs aground while navigating the waters of open records and open meetings laws. It can be a costly mistake.
We're assuming that almost always these fines are a result of ignorance of the law, not intentional breaking of it.
We have previously used this space to encourage public officials to bone up on the ins and outs of Washington law.
Public officials and citizens in general should take the opportunity to attend a forum in the Richland library on March 15.
Yes, it's sponsored by the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, but the panel is comprised of professionals and elected officials that know their stuff.
It's a whole lot cheaper to go to the free forum, even if you donate a whole case of salmon to the food drive, than it is to be on the losing end of a court case for violating our state's Sunshine Laws.
To everyone involved in negotiating a proposed settlement between the city of Spokane and former police officer Brad Thoma, fired in 2009 for drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
In a settlement mediated by the Washington State Human Rights Commission, Brad Thoma was supposed to be rehired and receive about $275,000 in back pay.
Thoma claimed job-related stress was responsible for his alcoholism. Maybe, but the law doesn't absolve criminals who have a good excuse.
Fortunately, the Spokane City Council rejected the deal. Unfortunately, that prompted Thoma to file a $4 million lawsuit against the city, claiming he was discriminated against for his disability.
Alcoholism is a disease. DUI and hit-and-run driving are crimes. We hope the jury that ends up with this case knows the difference.