Category Archives: News and Current Events

GTY_supreme_court_cases_jef_131003_16x9_992

And the case goes on for Laurence Einuis

I’ve received a few questions about what is going on with Mr. Laurence Einuis and the ongoing case against him.  Rumors have swirled for a few weeks that an attorney review was scheduled for July 2nd, but no one seems to be able to find information on that court date.

CoverAccording the Criminal Case Details provided by the General District Court of Fairfax County Virginia Laurence Einuis was charged under code section 18.2-374.3 which accuses him of using communications systems to facilitate certain offenses involving children (for a full explanation of the charge click here). This charge is a class 5 felony charge which means if found guilty Einuis would face a term of imprisonment of not less than one year nor more than 10 years, or in the discretion of the jury or the court trying the case without a jury, confinement in jail for not more than 12 months and a fine of not more than $2,500, either or both.

The offense date was filed as June 2, 2014 and the arrest date was June 5, 2014 by Detective Nick Boffi.  According to Detective Boffi’s LinkedIn profile he has been with the Fairfax County Police Department just shy of 22 years having joined the force in October of 1992.  With close ties to the high school world of Northern Virginia, having graduated from Chantilly High School in 1990, it comes as no surprise to me that he works to protect children in the wonderful county of Fairfax.

On June 6, 2014 Einuis was arraigned in courtroom 2k at the Fairfax County Court.  On July 2nd he was scheduled for an attorney review which is listed as having been continued.  His next court date was scheduled for 2:00 pm EST for the preliminary hearing, but it has been continued already.  The continuance is listed as agreed upon by both the defendant and prosecution.

 

The next preliminary hearing is now scheduled for August 26, 2014 at 2:00 PM EST.  Einuis will be represented by Defense Attorney Gary Moliken.  Not much information is available on Mr. Moliken at this point, but I will do some investigation.

 

For those of you just learning about this case Laurence Einuis was the director and teacher for West Springfield High School’s band program.  He was arrested in early June after a parent found inappropriate messages sent from Einuis to an underage student. A second victim has stepped forward, but information is not yet available on those additional charges.

Stay tuned for more information and to read about the allegations against Mr. Einuis check out my previous postings here!

To read the case details visit the Fairfax County Court website or you can review a PDF of the case details here: Laurence Einuis Case Information as of 7/25/2014.

10404087_1429228357359602_5473276820165046964_n

Human Trafficking In Your Backyard! Washington State Girl Possibly Trafficked!

Human trafficking is becoming ever more common in modern-day conversations.  Thanks to mainstream media, films like Taken, Governments around the world and nonprofit organizations the horrid underworld that is the selling of human beings has had a light tilted on it.  The problem is that we still aren’t opening our eyes enough.

I was talking to an acquaintance earlier today who pointed out the last time he saw human trafficking discussed on the news it focused on foreign countries or people being trafficked into the United States.  It rarely, if ever, discusses the reality of human trafficking here in the United States.

Thanks to Taken I will forever be vigilant when I travel to a foreign country.  The movie has shaken the fear of God into me, but why don’t I have that same awareness here at home? Do any of us?

I started asking myself these questions when I saw an article in my Twitter newsfeed that caught my eye, Angelic Dean Disappears After Leaving Cryptic Message.  My first thought was, what the heck is an “Angelic Dean”.  Then I was intrigued by the rest of the title.  It sounded like a James Patterson novel plot.

I learned that Angelic “Anji” Dean is a 17-year-old girl who went missing in Camas, Washington on June 23rd.  According to the Huffington Post that is about 25 miles Northeast of Portland, Oregon.   She had apparently been hinting to people in her life, like her teachers, that something wasn’t right with her life.  Then she left a note in her journal that read, “if you’re reading this, then I am either missing or dead.”

My first thought was that this so-called cryptic message was nothing more than what a girl would write in her private journal.  A message stating that under no other circumstance should anyone ever read her journal.  That just seems or seemed typical to me.

Then I read further into this Huffington Post article and learned that she had also sent a strange text message to her boyfriend prior to her disappearance stating that someone or some group of people were going to kill him and her family.  The family thinks she is in a human trafficking type situation.

It was eye-opening to me.  A girl living in the United States may have been abducted and trafficked.  Am I ignorant or is this somewhat shocking?  The last 60 Minutes I saw that involved trafficking talked about Asian sex slaves in San Francisco or some other city like that. It’s unbelievable to me that something like this could have possibly happened.

While we wait to hear more about the case, the police have not yet even stated that Angelic has been abducted, my heart breaks for her family.  My head freezes in shock that a teen girl living in a town much like the one I did when I was in high school could possibly have been trafficked. Not while traveling in a foreign country, but in our own backyard.

If anyone knows anything about her disappearance I hope you do the right thing and contact the authorities. According to the Official Help Anji Dean Facebook Page set up to help find Angelic “Anji” if you know anything or see Anji you should contact:

Clark County Sheriff’s Office
Detective Scott Kirgiss
(360) 397-2028 – Case #S14-7073

Media and Family Inquiries: Michelle A. Bart
National Women’s Coalition Against Violence & Exploitation
Office: (360) 852-8019 or Cell: (626) 644-3472
michelle@nwcave.org or shelley@nwcave.org
http://www.nwcave.org/

10456193_1431014353847669_4847223770969131063_n

No, But Seriously… Possible Logical Reasons for Laurence Einuis Possessing 15 Computers…

It's just creepy...
It’s just creepy…

Is anyone else starting to feel like we have to tap into the Carmen San Diego in us as we try to piece together the little bit of information that has been released about the Laurence Einuis accusations and investigation?  15 computers were seized and two victims have come forward. We only know what he is accused of from the first victim.  What is on those computers?

Yes, it will all come out in the end, but for now a lot of us seem to be asking the same question.  Why would one man own 15 computers and why didn’t the police notice them the first time they went through his home? That’s right, they only found them because he asked his wife about them while on the phone and a guard listening in heard.

I ask again, what is on those computers? Our minds can run wild, but until I hear anything I have to say there are some possible logical reasons and innocent reasons for his having that many computers and hard drives in his possession.

First, according to the Fairfax Times, Laurence Einuis had spent about 15 years in different positions involving engineering and technical management in the broadcast television industry and 5 years as the director of operations and engineering for the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach.  I could see how working in this industry could result in you owning more than one computer. 15 still seems a stretch, but I could  see some logic here.

Second, I was informed by a former colleague of his that she believes he helps run registration for the Virginia Music Educators Association (VMEA) and those computers possibly were VMEA computers and used for registration purposes.  That sounds innocent enough, but that is a hypothetical answer as well that I could not find evidence of on the VMEA website.

Yet, I still have to keep asking in the back of my mind why he cared if the police found these computers if he had nothing to hide. We will just have to wait and see, but you try getting my brain to stop asking the question why! I can’t help it.  I want so bad for there to be a logical and innocent reason for owning those computers.  If there is something on them that he doesn’t want the police to know about I have to admit I am terrified because my mind goes straight to the scariest places I do not dare mention yet.

 

TO LEAVE PUBLIC COMMENTS PLEASE CLICK REPLY BELOW OR TO SEND ME PRIVATE FEEDBACK USE THE CONTACT FORM HERE.

 

 

 

images (2)

The Silent Victims of the Laurence Einuis Allegations

images (2)When the news first broke about accusations against West Springfield High School (WSHS) Band Director and Teacher Laurence Einuis I was floored.  Simply shocked by what I had heard.  As the days have come and gone since his arrest I’ve sat on the edge of my seat waiting for the next bit of news. What is going on?

I have so many questions about the case and what the police are finding.  I have so many thoughts flying around in my head because I simply am having trouble digesting the news and figuring out how to feel about it. With that in mind, I took to my blog.  I realized that the people around me now, 10 years after graduating from West Springfield High School and moving away, don’t have the same emotional attachment to this situation as I do.  None-the-less I needed an outlet.

Slowly I am learning that I am not alone.  I’ve received so much private feedback on this blog, emails, Facebook messages and calls from current students at WSHS, past students I’ve never met, teachers I use to have when I was a student at the school and former classmates who were in Mr. Einuis’ band class with me.  I’ve been overwhelmed trying to think what to do next. How do I respond.  It wasn’t my original thought that so many people would be reaching out to me so I had no plan on what to say to them.  What should I say? I’m not involved in this issue, I’m just a former student of Mr. Einuis’ who feels very emotional about all that has been going on.  Well, that’s what I can do. I can let all those other past and current students, past and current colleagues of Mr. Einuis’ and past and present family members of his students share their thoughts and talk. I ask that if you feel like you need an outlet to find one.  Reach out to anyone until you find that person that you can talk to about all that is going on.  If you are a current student at the school, from what I have seen recently, the counselor’s and staff deeply care about you and want to be there for you.

I wanted to share a note I received from a current student at West Springfield High School.  While I have received his/her permission to share this email I am omitting any information that impedes upon this students privacy including gender, name, and grade level:

I’m so sorry that this Einuis thing has been affecting you too. I was googling Einuis’s name again to see if any new information had popped up when I saw your blog. I’m a [STUDENT'S GRADE LEVEL HAS BEEN OMITTED] at West Springfield, and [OMITTED IDENTIFYING  INFORMATION]. I wish that I could say that we know more here in Springfield than you do in California, but we don’t. Only that we were just as shocked. There were no warning signs that anyone could see. I don’t even remember if I saw him pass a note to anyone in class, but I’m sure that it would have seemed so common it wouldn’t have merited remembrance. The day that all of this broke out, the administrators took him in the middle of our wind symphony rehearsal 3rd period to arrest him in the parking lot so that we couldn’t see. I didn’t believe that it could be anything more than a misunderstanding at first. Certainly he has an off-color sense of humor, and I initially assumed that he finally told the wrong joke to the wrong student. I have to agree, however, with the most recent information that as much as all that I know of this man from my time in high school makes me want to defend him, I’m afraid that he probably isn’t worthy of that defense. I’m not really sure why I’m writing this, partially to inform you if your friends and family aren’t as connected to the school as someone currently enrolled, and partly because it’s comforting to know that others are feeling the same way even years after leaving high school and while living on the other side of the country. Thank you for blogging about this, and I hope that for all of the students’ and alumni’s sake that all of this is resolved soon.

I think this student said it best when s/he wrote, “partly because it’s comforting to know that others are feeling the same way even years after leaving high school and while living on the other side of the country.”  That’s what I think a lot of us are looking for. Comfort to know we aren’t alone in the feelings we are having.

I’ve said it in various ways before, but I feel adamant about the importance in community and keeping in mind just how many people are being affected by this situation and hurting from it. The numbers of victims in this situation seem never ending when you step back.

Obviously my heart aches for the alleged victims and their family members who are directly affected by this situation. I can’t imagine what they are going through, but I also ache for the silent victims and people having to cope with this.  From Mr. Einuis’ family, to Mr. Einuis himself, to  WSHS current and past students and staff and anyone else that feels distraught by this. And yes, I do consider all of the people who are hurting or confused by this as victims.  Not that I need to explain why, but the definition of a victim is “someone or something that is harmed by an unpleasant event.” To me that is all of you.
Rest assured that if you are upset with this story you aren’t alone and no matter when you knew Mr. Einuis or were involved with WSHS you have every right to feeling distraught by this.
I think the current and past teachers and staff I have spoken to at WSHS have said it best to me when I asked, and I have asked multiple people, why we are all so upset by this (current students, current staff, past students, past staff and the general public) when I was told by one person:

 

I agree that it feels very personal [to all of us past and present].  This is someone we once considered a friend… someone who was invited into our homes, lives, etc.  We feel betrayed, and I think, really, most of us should because we trusted him. This makes students and those who have trusted and worked with him in the past and present question the motivation in every conversation we’d ever had… I get the feeling of having someone you respect fall “off the pedestal” so to speak. It stinks, for everyone.  So it makes sense it feels personal. It’s personal for everyone who feels their trust has been betrayed.

 

I think, as we continue to wait for more information to be released the best thing to do is to:
  1. Know you aren’t alone. A lot of people have strong emotions about these allegations.
  2. Talk to anyone you can about your feelings. Don’t question these types of situations alone.  Talk to your parents, classmates, teachers, counselors, therapists or do what this girl did and write someone and share your feelings for the sole purpose of being heard.  Sometimes we just need to know our feelings are heard and that there are people out there who relate to our feelings.
  3. Setup a Google alert for Laurence Einuis. So many of you have written me saying you came across my blog Googling Laurence Einuis.  Save yourself some time and have any new information added on the web emailed directly to you or check back here as I will try to keep updated as well.

Thank you for all your input, comments, feedback and support.  I have great memories at West Springfield High School and as I’ve started reconnecting with people from my High School past and connecting for the first time with many people who are now actively involved with the WSHS community I remember why. We are a caring, compassionate, loving, and smart community of people.

 

TO LEAVE PUBLIC COMMENTS PLEASE CLICK REPLY BELOW OR TO SEND ME PRIVATE FEEDBACK USE THE CONTACT FORM HERE.

 

 

15 MORE computers seized from home of Laurence Einuis & The facts we know.

images (4)If you are sitting in prison accused of wrong doing let me give you some advice.  Don’t open your mouth and say anything that can incriminate you further to anyone except your lawyer. It’s the only time you know you are speaking in 100% privacy. I thought this was known by everyone.  When in prison you can’t trust the other inmates, the guards, what you write is subject to review and your phone calls are subject to monitoring.

Why in the world did Mr. Einuis open his mouth this week?  What am I talking about? Apparently, while on the phone with his wife, he asked her if the police had seized computers tucked away in his garage.  They had not.  Unfortunately for him the call was being monitored by a guard and now police have seized the computers in the garage.  15 computers to be exact. I am sure they are very thankful for Mr. Einuis tipping them off.  I hope he is kicking himself!

When Mr. Einuis was arrested on June 5th for soliciting a minor, a 14-year-old boy who was a student at the school where Mr. Einuis taught band and marching band classes a lot of us were in shock.  It was the school I attended. He was the band director I had my senior year of high school.  I have repeatedly stated that I didn’t want to believe the accusations against him.  Even when a second alleged victim stepped forward a part of me wanted to continue to defend him.

Now I have to open my eyes to reality.  Why would Laurence Einuis ask his wife about these specific computers unless he had something to hide? What scares me more is what the police may find on these computers.

Mr. Einuis was arrested for inappropriate text messages that involved soliciting a minor. My question is if these computers hide other communications with students or if they hide more.  My mind is running wild.  I have a million what ifs.  What if he tricked other students into sending him inappropriate photos over the internet by posing as a younger guy? It’s possible! Or what if he just has 100 emails exchanged with former students all soliciting them for sex?  Or what if they have nothing and he just was worried about the cost of losing 15 computers?

You want to ask why he owns 15 computers, but if I remember correctly he worked in the technology field before following his passion of teaching teenagers how to make beautiful music. I still have to defend his owning the computers.

What about everything else? Living on the other side of the country in Los Angeles now I know I am not receiving all information.  I am fortunate enough to have plenty of old friends and family in the area keeping me updated, but the story still seems extremely strange. What I know so far:

  • Mr. Einuis was arrested after he sent a string on late night text messages to a student. The student was 14 years old and his father found the text messages. The father turned the phone over to the authorities who continued the conversation with Mr. Einuis as if they were the 14-year-old student.  This is CONFIRMED.
  • Mr. Einuis followed up on those text messages by giving a note to the student trying to tempt him further into inappropriate behavior. This is CONFIRMED.
  • Mr. Einuis then texted the students phone number a few days after the first conversation with the undercover officer that was posing as the young teenager. The text said he wanted to kiss, touch and other things. This is CONFIRMED.
  • Mr. Einuis was arrested 4 days after the father of the 14-year-old boy notified police. This is CONFIRMED.
  • A second alleged victim stepped forward. The police and media, as far as I know, have not released any details about this victim. As an outsider of the investigation we don’t know how old the alleged victim is besides the fact that he is under the age of 18.  We also DO NOT know what the victim is accusing Mr. Einuis of having done. This is PENDING.
  • Police seized a number of items including a couple of computers from Mr. Einuis’ house the first full week of June. This is CONFIRMED.
  • Mr. Einuis asked his wife about computers in his garage that the police didn’t know about while speaking to her on a phone while in prison. A guard heard and 15 additional computers have been seized. This is CONFIRMED.
  • We do not know what is on the computers. This is PENDING.

downloadThis case is strange. A mystery. Especially if you know Laurence Einuis.  He isn’t the type of man you would expect to be caught up in a story like this.  The farther it goes on the more confusing it gets as a person following the story closely.

I mentioned in a pervious blog that I feel like this is a personal case.  A former colleague of Mr. Einuis’ has since made me feel a bit better by explaining why I have every right to take it personally.  Now, I am just frustrated.  Mr. Einuis, you seem more and more guilty every day.  You are acting like an idiot and not thinking anything through.

What I want moving forward:

  • More facts and details. This case affects hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Former colleagues and students of Mr. Einuis’, their families, his family and many others.  I think we are all asking, “what the heck?”
  • I also want him to not ask his wife stupid questions. Think about it. Her husband has been accused of inappropriate behavior with a minor and the story keeps growing.  I think it’s amazing that she even is still supporting or talking to him.  She is a strong woman.  I was pleased to learn that she has some good friends with her right now.  I feel for her.  I don’t pray often, but she is in my prayers.
  • I want any victims, if these accusations are found to be true, to get all the help and support they need.
  • I really want this all to be a dream, but I’ve come to the realization that they aren’t going to rule this a misunderstanding and just release Mr. Einuis. Nope, he is going to court. Especially if he keeps making himself look more and more guilty.
  • Lastly, I want Mr. Einuis to be held accountable to the full extent of the law if found guilty.  I’m just getting angry now, as a former student who did look up to this man even if we butted heads from time to time.

Let it end!

Please leave public comments below or private feedback via the contact form.

 

 

Teacher, Laurence Einuis, arrested at West Springfield High School – Second Alleged Victim Comes Forward

hqdefaultReally? This is where it is going? I should have seen this train wreck coming down the rails last week, but I didn’t want to believe it. I refused to believe it. There is still a big part of me that doesn’t believe it and hopes this is all a misunderstanding, but dear goodness. Somethings just can’t be ignored!

Laurence Einuis was the band director and a teacher at the high school I attended a decade ago.  He has been accused of soliciting a 14-year-old boy inappropriately via text message.  I have been deeply bothered by this for days. I haven’t wanted to believe it. Worst of all, I’ve been taking it personally.  Since I last wrote about the situation surrounding these accusations against Mr. Laurence Einuis new developments have been released.

I may not be a spoiled 17/18-year-old boy sitting in the back of Mr. Einuis’ band class holding my trombone, but 10 years later I still feel personally let down by everything I am hearing.  Now, less than a week since Mr. Einuis was arrested a second alleged victim has stepped forward. No useful details seem to be available beyond noting there is a second alleged victim. I am sure this will change rapidly.

As I hear that there is more and more possibility of damning proof and evidence against Mr. Einuis I feel a bit more devastated.  Why though? Why is it so personal?

I wish I could go on from here writing about why I think I am taking it so personally, but I can’t.  That just makes my mind spin even more.  If I can’t figure all of this out. If I can’t figure out what I am exactly feeling about this news. If I can’t figure out why I do have any feelings about this situation then how can all the current students who Mr. Einuis teaches deal with this?

brunsell-claim-evidence-reasoningI am a 28 year old man living in Los Angeles, California. I have been removed from Northern Virginia for most of those 10 years, so my attachment has been pretty distant.  None-the-less I am a bit emotional.  It scares me.  What about the kids living this live an in person?  How are they being helped?  What do you say to them? What do you say to anyone in this situation?

The questions are endless. Innocent of guilty a lot of people are affected by this.  What now?

 

PLEASE LEAVE PUBLIC COMMENTS BELOW OR PRIVATE FEEDBACK VIA THE CONTACT FORM.

Say it ain’t so Mr. Einuis!

Caught_Red_Handed_by_naybabeSay it ain’t so Mr. Einuis!  I was hoping as the investigation continued and details about this case were released we would learn that this entire ordeal has been a misunderstanding.  A large part of me still holds onto this hope.

Last week when I heard Mr. Einuis was arrested on charges stemming from allegations made by a 14-year-old boy claiming Mr. Einuis was soliciting him inappropriately my heart was broken.

Having known Mr. Einuis I have to say I would never have expected such a situation.  He taught me in band, marching band and color guard my senior year of high school so I spent a lot of time around the man.  These acts seem extremely out of character for the man I once knew.  I simply didn’t want to believe it until I felt there was so much evidence I wouldn’t have a choice.

What has been in the media for the past few days has been very vague.  They’ve not released a lot of information about what evidence was found and resulted in this arrest. With that in mind, I continued to believe, innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Einuis, guilty or not, has the same basic civil rights that we all do.  He should get a fair investigation and fair trial.

Today, the media has started to release a bit more information.  As evidence is starting to slip out into the public domain I have to say my standing behind Mr. Einuis is starting to slip away.  I wanted to stand behind him and say that he is innocent and I haven’t heard anything to convince me otherwise.  Now I am starting to shake on that stance.

After a recent NBC Washington article I have to admit, it isn’t looking good for Mr. Einuis and his defense.  The article shed some light on the days leading up to Mr. Einuis’ arrest.  He wasn’t just arrested because some allegations were made.  He was arrested because it sounds like they caught him red handed.

According to NBC 4 Washington:

A Fairfax County Police detective later took over the teen’s online persona and was contacted by Einuis, court documents state.

During their conversations, the undercover officer says the suspect “spoke about liking” the teen and wanting to “make out and touch.”

At one point, the teen’s parents said the suspect approached the teen with handwritten note that read, “SHRED WHEN READ,” the affidavit states.

 

If this is true then my heart has turned from being just broken to also being angry and disappointed.  No child should be put in the position that this 14-year-old boy is in.  While Mr. Einuis still deserves a fair trial and to be seen as innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

What a sad day. I hope this kid gets the help and attention he deserves.  I hope, if found guilty, Mr. Einuis gets the penalty he deserves.  Also if found guilty, I hope Mr. Einuis’ wife gets all the love and support she needs.  We have to remember that this situation is affecting and touching many people.  Not just the one or two names we are seeing in the press.

Lastly, if this isn’t true and Mr. Einuis is an innocent man I hope the West Springfield High School community can come together to support him as he reenters his life after this ordeal.

Only time will tell us what the truth is and time goes by slowly.

 

PLEASE LEAVE PUBLIC COMMENTS BELOW OR PRIVATE FEEDBACK VIA THE CONTACT FORM.

Laurence Einuis was arrested and I am disappointed in the other school officials

UPDATE: 12:05 PM PST JUNE 9, 2014

I have received an email form the counselor in question.  After hearing both sides of the story I feel that I am valid in my feelings expressed below, but also have a better understanding of where the counselor was coming from.  We all are approaching this situation from different angles and have to keep that in mind. I have to keep that in mind. While he may have not been thinking about the big picture in my opinion, his mind seems to have been focused on the current students at West Springfield High School and we can’t fault him for his concerns there.  I think this is just one of those situations where everyone involved and everyone representing the school needs to choose their words carefully moving forward.  In the end though, we all want the same thing. We want the truth to come out, this to be resolved and everyone to get the support they need.

UPDATE:  11:43 AM PST JUNE 6, 2014

Since the posting of this blog, tweeting of this blog and emailing of this blog to the West Springfield High School administration the tweet referenced below has been removed.  While no explanation or response was received I appreciate the counselors realization that the tweet was a bit premature, or at least the wording was.  Be a proud Spartan, but also a good role model.

ORIGINAL POST: 10:01 AM PST JUNE 6, 2014

Why not add my thoughts into the mix.  This situation going on back home in Springfield, VA has really tripped me up.  I was up last night watching television, but this situation just kept creeping its way back into my head and distracting me.

As an alumnus of West Springfield High School (WSHS) I was beyond shocked to hear the news about Laurence Einuis, the WSHS Band Director. If you haven’t heard about this case, Mr. Einuis was arrested yesterday for allegedly using an electronic device to facilitate certain offenses involving children. Apparently this past Monday a 14-year-old boy who attends the high school went to police with the allegations against Mr. Einuis.

It’s honestly hard to wrap my head around this situation.

Laurence Einuis joined West Springfield High School in 2003, which was my senior year of high school (as a side note that means this 14 year old boy was about 4 years old when I graduated from WSHS).  I remember he wasn’t my favorite teacher ever and I eventually stopped band all together.  I joined the color guard instead of marching band and Mr. Einuis finally let me stop focusing on band.  He could tell I didn’t enjoy band, but he urged me to stick with color guard and follow what I did enjoy.

Even though we didn’t always get along, I do remember him as a great teacher.  He was passionate about music and even more passionate about helping the students who wanted to excel to do just that.

I ran into him a year after I graduated in the student commons at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where I was going to college.  I remember how proud I was to walk up to him and tell him I had made the Dean’s List. We butted heads at times, but that’s because he challenged me.  That’s why I was excited to brag about my accomplishments when I saw him at VCU. His response, which I still remember today was, “I knew college would be good for you.” He was right.  High school isn’t for everyone. He understood me as a student.

That’s why it’s so hard for me to believe these allegations.  How could a teacher who truly cares about the success of his students, all students no matter how difficult they are, do something like he is accused of doing?

At this point in time, with little information available about his case, we have two directions we could go in as bystanders.

ONE: We have the option to immediately believe the accusations and crucify his reputation before we know the full truth; OR

TWO: We also have the option to move forward, however cautiously, with the theory of innocent until proven guilty.

I’m not saying this boy lied, but I sure as heck hope that the allegations aren’t true. I’ll be heartbroken if they are.  If they are true I will be one of the many people in line to say that I am outraged. I don’t want any student at any elementary, middle or high school to fall victim to a teacher’s inappropriate behavior. But doesn’t this man deserve the benefit of the doubt and the right of all American citizens to be believed to be innocent until proven guilty?

That’s why I find the actions of a WSHS Counselor to be inappropriate. He tweeted publicly:

WSHS is a great place with great teachers and students – one person’s actions should not ruin that for us.  I’m proud to be a Spartan.

WSHS counselor
More information below the photo.

You may be proud to be a Spartan counselor, but I am not proud of you as a representative of my former high school.  These students need guidance from the staff at this school.  Guidance on how to respond to such a situation.  While it is natural to respond with shock and horror it is also appropriate to remind students that, FOR NOW, this is just an allegation.

Once the police release more details then this Counselor can make comments about one person’s actions, but until then maybe he should hold back on his public comments implying Mr. Einuis is guilty before he is proven to be so.   The students are looking at you as a Counselor in a situation like this.  I wish you would choose your words a bit more carefully until more facts are released. If he is found guilty or evidence is made public then I’ll retract my thoughts.  For now, we don’t know enough to publicly imply to students he is guilty.

West Springfield High School really needs to get their staff under control.

 

PLEASE LEAVE PUBLIC COMMENTS BELOW OR PRIVATE FEEDBACK VIA THE CONTACT FORM.

Is it really that hard to fly on a plane without being an idiot?

PH2009050801606This coming memorial day weekend I will be flying up the coast to Sonoma Valley for my cousin’s wedding. I couldn’t be more excited! It’s always been my dream to go to Northern California and do some wine tasting.  Knowing that wine tasting is something so many members of my family are into my aunt has rented a party bus to take us around to different wineries the day after the wedding. Sounds perfect!

The only issue is getting up north. You may be thinking, “well that isn’t all that difficult”.  Typically I would agree with you, but flying gives me the worlds worst anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive breakdowns.  That’s why when people sitting next to me on an airplane act as if they have no knowledge of how to act on an airplane I snap.

How hard is it to follow typical passenger etiquette.  I’m not talking about anything special here. I am simply referring to every day manors applied in an airplane setting. You know, like being polite to others. Simple, right?

After flying to Indiana the first weekend of May I learned the hard way that people seem to throw commonsense and manors straight out the unopenable airplane windows. They have no idea of what etiquette is. I get that flying has become increasingly frustrating due to longer security lines, hire prices, having to pay for things we use to get for free, and other rude passengers all around you.  Yet, that doesn’t help anything. What would help is if passengers just started using their heads.

A few tips on how to enjoy your flight, not get in a passive-aggressive situation with your fellow travelers and how to keep everything moving forward happily.

  1. If your bag is a larger bag, then just check the dang bag! I get why business travelers carry their roller bags onto planes, but a family of four doesn’t need to carry on every piece of luggage they are taking on their trip. It’s just inconsiderate, delays boarding and exiting of planes and royally annoys other passengers.You know what I am talking about.  I’m referring to those families that yell up and down the aisle as they fight to find space for their double wide roller bags.  Just check them, put your carry-on luggage like a messenger bag underneath the seat in front of you and sit your behind down.
  2. When it’s time for boarding stay in your seat until your section is called (unless you are flying on Southwest, because all bets are off).  If you are flying most major airlines then you are assigned a seat and a boarding section for every flight. You don’t need to rush the gate doors.  I swear, every flight i have flown on recently has been a nightmare to board thanks to idiotic passengers with section 5 written on their tickets blocking the gate for sections 1 – 4.  Is it that hard to match your “5″ to the vocal call of “now boarding section 5?”  Your seat isn’t going to get stolen. HINT: You already purchased the seat and it has been assigned to you.  There is no need to run to the line if your section hasn’t been called and block people who should be boarding.Some people will argue, “but I need to be the first in my section so I can get room in the overhead for my large carry-on items”. Again, if you have a large carry-on item and you are flying with your family to Disney World or to spend a week at your extended families home then just check your luggage and don’t deal with the hassle and cause a hassle for all other passengers.  Seems simple enough to me!
  3. 167586-096fd904-6776-11e3-bdad-d26236de09deWhen you pay for one seat you only get to use one seat.  I didn’t realize there was a misunderstanding to this until I was flying back to Los Angeles from Indianapolis.  I was already in a funky mood when I boarded the flight, but I think I had every right to speak up to the lady sitting next to me on the flight.When I first arrived to our row of seats on the plan she was stretched out with one leg across the three seats and two bags laying on my seat. She was just chilling there reading her book.  I figured I would be nice and simply said, “I think that’s my seat” while pointing at her stuff and her leg.  She scooted over while huffing.  Yes, she was huffing at me like I had done something wrong!

    I ignored the slight attitude from her and took my seat in the middle. My fiancé was in the window seat, I was in the middle and rude passenger was in the aisle seat.  What happened next kind of shocked me.

    After sitting down and trying to lower the arm rest between myself and the passenger in the aisle seat I saw her giving me side eye.  I ignored it, until her bags appeared again.  This time she put them next to her on the seats.  Yes, I said seats! She had half her purse on her seat and half on mine laying on its side under the arm rest.

    I just kept telling myself that it wasn’t a big deal.  Then she took out her coat because she must have been cold.  Apparently she thought I was cold so she threw a portion of it on me. Literally, it was covering the arm rest between us and blanketing part of my leg.

    When I asked her to move her purse and jacket she didn’t immediately understand what my issue was.  Well lady, I paid for a seat on this plan too. It’s a tiny seat and I am six feet tall, but I am managing to keep myself contained in my area.

  4. When deciding what food to take onto a plane I have one request.  Please pick foods that don’t carry a strong odor. I am not exaggerating.  I once sat on a flight behind a couple who decided to bring hard-boiled eggs onto the flight.  They didn’t previously peel the eggs so as they ate them we all had to smell the unpleasant odor of eggs wafting throughout the plan as the couple peeled them. Have they ever heard of carrots or pretzels?
  5. When at check-in, just check-in.  It’s not that complicated. Just follow the prompts on the screen of the automated check-in kiosk and you SHOULD be fine.  What is wrong with people?
  6. While I have a hundred more points to make I just want to close with one last point. Please keep in mind that airline employees are just employees of a company doing their job.  If they are blatantly rude then you have every right to be rude back, but otherwise remember that they don’t make the rules.  We just hope for our safety and ease of traveling that they follow every rule.  You may get frustrated that your bag is too large to carry on the plane or that you have to throw away your $50 bottle of face lotion you tried to carry on, but that’s your own fault.  Rules are rules and they are all obvious and available to you a head of time.  Stop yelling at people, like flight attendants, for your frustrations with airline policies.

Let’s hope I have a smooth flight in a week without having to sit next to a rude passenger!

art-Bridesmaids-Plane-Scene-620x349

Children are working the tobacco fields of Virginia and other US States!

It's hard to believe that our children are still working in the tobacco fields today!
It’s hard to believe that our children are still working in the tobacco fields today! Photo credit: Reg Speller/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images and CBS DC

Virginia, what am I going to do with you?  Since moving away at the end of 2007 I have witnessed from afar as the commonwealth has consistently taken two steps forward and then one step back over and over again.  It’s a state that has experienced drastic local and state-wide changes over the past decade (much like the rest of the country), but some things seem to have gone unnoticed!

Are tobacco farms in Virginia really using child labor?  Not only are they apparently using child labor, but the underage employees are having adverse health issues due to their jobs in the tobacco fields.  What year are we living in? Are we sure we aren’t talking about 1934 instead of 2014?

According to an article by www.thenation.com this is a photo of tar from the tobacco leaves stained on the hands of young workers. (http://www.thenation.com/article/177136/why-are-children-working-american-tobacco-fields#)
According to an article by http://www.thenation.com this is a photo of tar from the tobacco leaves stained on the hands of young workers. (http://www.thenation.com/article/177136/why-are-children-working-american-tobacco-fields#)

According to the CNN article titled, Report slams child labor in tobacco fields, it is legal for children to work in the fields. Children as young as 7 turn to these positions for income, a majority of which are Hispanic and minorities.  I’m not shocked by the ethnic breakdown, although I wish it weren’t the case, but I am shocked by the ages of field workers.

Yes, other states also use child labor in their tobacco fields, but that doesn’t make it right.  I’m proud to be a Virginian, but embarrassed of Virginia after learning about this issue. 75% of children who were questioned for the report that CNN was referring to claimed to have experienced symptoms of acute nicotine poisoning including nausea, vomiting, not being hungry, headaches, dizziness, irritation and breathing issues.

No child at age 11 or 12 or even 13 should be dealing with this issue. There are laws in place not allowing people under the age of 18 to smoke for a reason.  Nicotine is bad for you, but society is letting our youth roll around in it.  This will just not do!

The children also reported not getting regular breaks and working overly long hours.  What country are we in? Don’t we have laws against this? I guess not!

virginia-tobacco-in_1Virginia should set the president for other states by setting a hire age restriction for those who have to work in tobacco fields.  In a perfect world technology could help limit the number of people required to work in these fields, but until that time it is our human responsibility to act.  I hope all Virginians get involved and correct this problem.

The report suggest making it illegal for anyone under 18 to work in tobacco fields due to the health risks.  I support this. Do you? Call your representatives and let them know you care about this topic. Get it on their radar and tell them we won’t settle for children working in our tobacco fields. Not in our country, not in our state and not in our lifetime. It’s not acceptable.

To find out who your State Senator is in Virginia and how to contact them click here!

To find out who your representative is in the Virginia House of Delegates click here!

Another article to check out is on CBS DC titled Children As Young As 7 Working on Tobacco Farms in U.S.

tobaccofarming