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Parkland parents, four years later: We never want another family to feel our horror

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In this Feb. 15, 2018, file photo, law enforcement officers block off the entrance to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., following a deadly shooting at the school.

Our children were funny, kind-hearted, smart, and had the rest of their lives in front of them. Then suddenly they were among 17 students and teachers murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2018.

Valentine’s Day now signifies something different to us. From this tragedy, Stand with Parkland – The National Association of Families for Safe Schools was born with a mission to pass comprehensive school safety measures to ensure sending a child to school is not a death sentence.

Today, there is an increased awareness of the safety needs of students and teachers, which have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Students have faced prolonged social and physical isolation and teachers were required to accommodate remote, hybrid and in-person learning, creating a critical need for vital mental health and behavioral monitoring resources. The perpetrator of the Parkland massacre was able to complete his plan despite a known and documented problem with school administrators, law enforcement and mental health facilities. With this information comes the responsibility that potential threats do not slip through the cracks.

Changes schools from the inside 

Memorial in front of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in, Parkland, Fla., in February 2018.

Stand with Parkland has regularly taken to Capitol Hill advocating for pragmatic laws to increase safety at schools. One example is the bipartisan Mental Health in Schools Excellence Program Act of 2021. This bill would establish a program to increase recruitment and retention of school-based mental health service providers, addressing the nationwide shortage of mental health professionals needed with students returning to in-person learning.

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I'm among the rideshare drivers living in fear, demanding safer work conditions

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Uber, Lyft safety: I’m mom of three. I need to know I’ll make it home.

Uber, Lyft made safety improvements, but many of those protect riders more than drivers. But drivers are also in danger.

Naomi Ogutu is a member of Justice for App Workers.

Naomi Ogutu

Opinion contributor

I’ve been a rideshare driver in New York City for six years, and I take pride in my job and helping my passengers get where they need to go safely. But my safety is not a guarantee. I’m a mom of three. I need to know that I’ll make it home to my kids at the end of each night. 

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'A bad déjà vu': Under the crush of Western sanctions, Russians fear a return to dark economic days

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Russians fear toll of sanctions triggered by Putin’s Ukraine invasion

Harsh sanctions from Western nations on Russia have reminded citizens of the country’s 1998 debt crisis.

By Anna Nemtsova

USA TODAY

  • McDonalds and other American businesses have closed in Russia amid its invasion into Ukraine.
  • One expert estimates more than 200,000 Russians have left the country since the start of the war.
  • To counter economic turmoil, Putin has demand “unfriendly” countries pay for natural gas exports in rubles.

The once bustling corner of Moscow’s central Tverskaya Street looked deserted on Wednesday, as Russia’s first-ever McDonald’s franchise – opened in 1990 in a move that symbolized the Soviet Union’s opening to the West – shut its doors.

A large mural depicting a giant, Soviet-era medal – the Order of Victory, the highest military decoration awarded in World War II — loomed over over the empty sidewalk.

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Saint Peter's embodies wackiness and uncertainty of this NCAA Tournament | Opinion

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