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The Lead: Newtown Tragedy Aftermath; AISD Meeting Tonight

Good morning. The National Weather Service says sunny and warm temperatures are on tap today, with an expect high in the low 70s.

The aftermath of the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut continues. Here’s a round-up of Newtown reporting and related news from KUT News and other sources:  

“The Austin school district police force took time Friday, in the wake of the Connecticut elementary school shootings, to reassure parents that the district is doing all it can to keep campuses safe. The district already has armed officers at all middle and high schools in Austin, with regular armed patrols at elementary schools.”

Austin Police chief Art Acevedo announced on Twitter last night that APD was stepping up their presence around schools this morning:

“People of ATX may notice visible Law enforcement presence in school zones in morning. Please drive safely & report suspicious behavior.”

“Six-year-olds Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner — two of the 20 first-graders killed Friday when a gunman stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — are to be remembered at funeral services this afternoon. … Meanwhile, the investigation continues into the murders and the young man who authorities say brought a high-powered rifle, two handguns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition into the school — and then began killing the children and adults who tried to protect the youngsters, before taking his own life. Before the rampage at the school, authorities say, 20-year-old Adam Lanza also killed his mother Nancy at their home in Newtown.”

Witnesses said numerous shots were fired inside and outside the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater complex on Southwest Military Drive around 9:25 p.m., setting off the scramble to safety before police and EMS arrived. The complex was evacuated and sealed off for several hours. Detective Louis Antu, spokesman for the Bexar County Sherriff's Office, said the shooting began at a nearby China Garden and ‘carried on into the theater.’ … The shooting immediately sparked fears of a mass slaying like the one in July that killed 12 people and injured 58 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.”

  • Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert: School Staff  Should Have Been Armed (CNN):
“‘I wish to God (the principal) had had an M4 in her office, locked up, so when she heard gunfire she pulls it out … and takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids,’ the Republican from Texas said on ‘Fox News Sunday.’ … Gohmert made headlines in July when he made similar remarks, saying more deaths could have been prevented in the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting if someone could have fired back at the gunman.”

And here’s  more stories from Austin and Texas:

“One charter school concept aiming to open next school year is a homegrown initiative that was three years in the making. Austin Interfaith and the teachers association Education Austin got a grant from a national teachers’ union to explore setting up an in-district charter school.  … Meanwhile, another charter school operating in Austin ISD is fighting for survival. The South Texas charter school operator IDEA opened a campus inside Allan Elementary this school year. The district rushed the process because it urgently wants to improve outcomes at the school Allan feeds into, Eastside Memorial High School. But the quick implementation angered a lot of people.”

  • Texas Student Tracking Chip Suit Back In Court (AP)
“The family of a 15-year-old student fighting the use of tracking badges in her San Antonio high school is asking a federal court to keep her on campus. … A San Antonio federal court Monday is set to hear the family's request to stop the district until the lawsuit is settled.”

  • Video: Trail Of Lights Brightens Zilker Park (KEYE)
“After two years the Trail of Lights is back in business. It's all possible because of local business, 800 volunteers, and a display of one-millions lights all coming to life tonight. With one flip of the switch, the trail is back. ‘It’s fun to be out here with all the traffic and people and seeing all the kids that come through,’ said Carol Ely with Funtastic Funnel Cakes.” 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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