News & Commentary

February 16, 2020

Deanna Krokos

Deanna Krokos is a student at Harvard Law School

The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the two largest teachers unions in the country, have joined with Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund to call for ending or radically changing unannounced “active shooter drills” in schools. The groups released a white paper last week suggesting that future drills suggest that the drills should be announced ahead of time and explained to students to avoid traumatic experiences.


NBC News reports that while these drills have become more popular, there are no binding standards that govern their design or instruct administrators on how to explain them to students of different ages. AFT President Randi Weingarten said that the drills contribute to “record levels of trauma and anxiety” among students, and noted the importance of studying the impact and effectiveness of these drills to form new “trauma-informed” and “age-appropriate” methods of promoting safety. NPR reports that 95% of American schools conduct some kind of active shooter or lockdown drill.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that many large companies have felt pressure from workers and prospective hires to act on Climate Change. The report describes Walmart, Amazon, Google and Microsoft workers who have been “increasingly vocal” in demanding concrete commitments from their employers to reduce emissions and commit to purchasing power from renewable solar and wind farms. WSJ predicts that implementing these plans will become a key part of “recruiting and retaining workers,” especially younger workers.

On Thursday, the California Supreme Court ruled the Apple employees should have been paid for the time they spent waiting for mandatory bag-checks before leaving their shifts. Apple store workers who brought bags to work were required to wait as long as 40 minutes per shift for all bags to be checked for theft, and were not compensated for that time. The certified class exceeded 12,400 workers, and the ruling is retroactive meaning workers are entitled to millions of dollars in back pay. Apple argued that the checking process was not “required” because “workers could avoid such searches by choosing not to bring a bag, package, or personal Apple technology device to work.” But the court rejected that argument as “unrealistic,” pointing to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s statement that the “iPhone is an integrated and integral part” of life and noting that workers can’t reasonably be expected to leave all of their personal belongings at home to avoid a long, non-compensated search process. BloombergLaw notes that this question is currently pending in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and that much of state law requires clarification on whether screening and security measures workers must be compensated.



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