Smart Talk: U.S. Senator Bob Casey introduces two bills to change police response

LEAD initiative to address racial justice and non-criminal emergencies

Airdate: 12/21/20

Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Law Enforcement Education and Accountability for People with Disabilities (LEAD) Initiative, seeking to bring about “racial justice and address the high incidence rate of police violence involving people with disabilities.”

The LEAD Initiative is comprised of two bills – the Safe Interactions Act and the Human-services Emergency Logistic Program (HELP) Act – which would reduce calls to 9-1-1 call systems regarding non-criminal emergencies and provide training to law enforcement on interacting with people with disabilities, particularly those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Senator Casey appears on Smart Talk Monday to offer details on both bills and how the overall initiative will change policing.

Distance learning is changing the American education system

Around the country children in all grade levels from Kindergarten through High School, attend virtual classes every day. It has become the standard method of teaching during the pandemic and has allowed, for the most part, schools to continue uninterrupted.

The process is not without problems, though, to include an alarming rise in truancy reports.

In Pennsylvania, students are considered truant after three unexcused absences in a single academic year. There are limited exceptions to the attendance requirement, but school districts are finding wide-spread abuse of the rules.

Reporter Mark Keierleber is a senior writer-reporter at The 74, a non-profit news site covering education in America. He recently reported on a growing concern that these absences could funnel more children into the court systems to face the truancy charges and he joins Smart Talk Monday to share his findings.

Also on Monday’s Smart Talk, Betheny Gross is the Associate Director at the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) who will share an overview of the data on distance learning, attendance, and learning loss. She’ll appear Monday to discuss survey results from families on how distance learning is working for them.

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