Williamston schools stand firm against firearms in educational environment

In the wake of previous mass shootings that have occurred around the U.S, a Michigan senate committee have approved bills that would allow concealed weapons in gun-free zones, such as a public school or church. The legislation would allow schools to prohibit students from carrying concealed weapons, along with employees, which may or may not help a life-threatening situation. The Williamston community is one of many who have not faced the challenge of a mass shooting, but they still stand strong against the proposed statewide bill. Superintendent of Williamston Schools Adam Spina completely disagrees with the proposed legislation and he said the Ingham County stands firmly in opposition. “If you are asking the people who do this for a living every day and are here in schools, there is no one of my knowledge who is an advocate,” Spina said.

Williamston Board of Education approves 8011 Policy

WILLIAMSTON- Williamston public school parent Sandy Dufrin walked up to the microphone. Nearly 200 people crowded in the Williamston Middle School cafeteria. All eyes are on Dufrin as her hands shake beneath the paper that declares her opposition to the 8011 policy, a topic that has catalyzed conflict in the school district. Tension fills the room as she asks, “If this policy is approved are you seriously going to look at an elementary student who can barely tie their shoes and affirm that he has the capacity to choose what gender he wants to be?”

Through months of deliberation, emotional unrest and controversial debates between opposing sides, the Williamston Board of Education has approved the 8011 Equal Protection of Transgender and Non-Conforming Students Policy at their meeting on Nov. 6.

Williamston school board approves gender identity policies

On Nov. 2, the seven members of the Williamston Community Schools Board of Education approved two policies related to gender identity and access to gender-segregated facilities

After several months of current and former students, as well as Williamston community members meeting at the local middle school, the school board reached a decision as to how they will assess their transgender students and gender identity concerns. The decision came after months of meetings and public comment after the school board took on the issue of gender identity in its schools. “Over the summer, the seven board members decided to draft some proposals for how the district should handle or deal with the needs of a number of gender-identity type issues,” Williamston High School Principal Jeffrey Thoenes said. “The school board went through their normal process of discussing and then voting on what is placed on their board agenda.”

Thoenes said the transgender issues were handled the same way that any other school board issue is.

DeWitt using their budget to create a go to destination

The city of DeWitt is starting to become a cultural hub and a go-to destination. A lot of money is being put into the development of their downtown. Maricela Vargas is a preschool teacher in Lansing who is looking for a job in DeWitt and she is interested in DeWitt because of the small city feel. When Vargas visited DeWitt, she felt the family connection with the residents. Vargas said: “I was attracted to DeWitt because it’s a cute city and it’s going to be a great place to live.

Williamston grows in the ‘smart’ direction

Finding the thin line between expanding a community while holding on to it’s hometown environment is something Williamston has found. Through the expansion of its downtown with new apartment buildings and restaurants, the community has still managed to keep its label as a small-town neighborhood.

#TakeAKnee: Is it your right?

The movement that we are now calling the #TakeAKnee protest has moved to the forefront of conversation in America and has garnered the attention of many. Some people, including President Donald Trump, are calling the movement disrespectful to the American flag and veterans who have fought for the country, while others say its meant to protest a long-standing battle against white supremacy in America. Former Michigan State University quarterback Bill Feraco, recalls his experiences during his journey to the Cotton Bowl of 1968, on the brink of the civil rights movement. Feraco remembers a somber time for his teammates after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King when it seemed that some of his teammates had had enough, and decided to do something about it.

Okemos Chiefs Damian Hudson scores the final touchdown in the team's win over Holt, 21-7.

Senior Night lights at Okemos

Coming into the year, the Okemos Chiefs football team was looking to make a big turnaround from their previous season, which ended with a 2-7 record. With returning senior leaders like Jason Pridgeon, Drew McGaughy and Patrick Nugent backed by plenty of talent on the depth chart, it seemed very possible. After a strong start to the year going 4-0, where the contests were far from close, Coach Jack Wallace and his Chiefs went on a three-game losing streak. “It was a tough. We went on the road and played some really talented teams,” Wallace said.

Amid racial tensions, black students find refuge in religious groups

Q&A: Student organization doubles as a safe haven for minority students at MSU

The Black Lives Matter movement was born out of the outpouring of grief and frustration following the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012 – a young, unarmed black man who was shot while walking in a gated neighborhood – and the subsequent acquittal of the man who killed him. In the five years since Martin’s death, the Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum, driven by the killings of Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile and other black people at the hands of the police. The movement has grown into an international network of more than 30 chapters. College campuses across the country have used various platforms to respond to and/or participate in efforts led by Black Lives Matter. At Michigan State University, a student-run Christian organization encourages students to use religious faith as a tool to combat racial tension.