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Deborah Simmons — Life As It Happens

Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons was a senior correspondent who reported on City Hall and wrote about education, culture, sports and family-related topics.

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In this April 9, 2020, file photo, Lila Nelson watches as her son, Rise University Preparatory sixth-grader Jayden Amacker, watches an online class in his room at their home in San Francisco. Teachers across the country report their attempts at distance learning induced by the pandemic are failing to reach large numbers of students. Hundreds of thousands of students are still without computers or home internet access. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)  **FILE**

Taxpayers hoodwinked for schooling and no schooling

- The Washington Times

Around mid-March, schools around the country began closing because of the coronavirus scare. Now as the 2020-21 school year approaches, parents want definitive plans for reopening them. They also should be asking what's happened to the money.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announces the "Forward Together, Building a Stronger Chicago" report from the city's COVID-19 Recovery Task Force at the South Shore Cultural Center, Thursday, July 9, 2020. (Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP) **FILE**

Madam mayors, save the Black children

- The Washington Times

At the risk of sounding sexist, I've put Miss Bowser and a few other female mayors on the spot because of the violence this past holiday weekend -- a weekend when family, food and fun posed what? A triple threat?

High school students unfurl giant banners on the steps of Tweed Court, during a rally near City Hall calling for 100 percent police-free schools and defunding the NYPD, Thursday June 25, 2020, in New York. The rally is part of a week of action from the Urban Youth Collaborative and coalition of grass roots organizations calling for police-free schools. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  **FILE**

Sanctuary cities pull the trigger on school security

- The Washington Times

The cries for police reform are justifiable, especially when the daily and nightly news constantly replay lives permanently quieted by the questionable actions of a few law enforcers. Legislating too quickly, however, could unwittingly put students, their families and school faculty at risk.

 In this Jan. 12, 2017 file photo State Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, smiles as she is applauded by members of the Virginia House of Delegates during a warm send-off from the chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. McClellan announced Thursday, June 18, 2020 that she's launching a bid to be the state's next governor, which if successful would make her the nation's first ever African-American woman to ever lead a state. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)  **FILE**

Virginia Democrats may move the needle

- The Washington Times

If she were to win, Ms. McClellan would become America's first black female governor, Virginia's first black female governor and the second woman elected to a statewide seat in Virginia. Talk about breaking glass ceilings. And to do so in Virginia, of all states, would be a democratic, er, Democratic stunner.

Protesters gather in Philadelphia on Thursday, June 4, 2020, during a protest over the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 after being restrained by police in Minneapolis. (Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)  **FILE**

Latchkey generation unveils what's going on

- The Washington Times

The children born to the latchkey generation want a reason -- any reason -- to be released from purgatorial COVID-19 lockdown. Teens and young adults were given free reign to play hooky from school for protests -- and parents went along with the schools' permissive policies. And they know they risk being arrested for breaking curfew but do not care. Police will let them go, and they know it.

In this file photo, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, second from right, and Prince George's County Executive Angela D. Alsbrooks, third from right, are shown testifying in a state legislative hearing on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Brian Witte) ** FILE **

Montgomery County should follow the people's lead

- The Washington Times

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has a lot of explaining to do. He has been shouted down by residents and other stakeholders who have been protesting his heavy-handed lockdown. In fact, he has been shouted down by his own constituents every time he attempted to make a point at one of his press conferences.

Ward Six Councilmember Charles Allen speaks during the District of Columbia Inauguration ceremony at the Convention Center in Washington, Friday, Jan. 2, 2015. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) **FILE**

D.C. gets voting rights wrong

- The Washington Times

On June 3, the day after the presidential primary, D.C. lawmakers and officials under the direction of the mayor made a confession: Caretakers of D.C. voting rights had screwed up big time.

A demonstrator holds up a drawing depicting George Floyd in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, May 31, 2020. Protests were held in U.S. cities over the death of Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Systemic racism didn't kill George Floyd

- The Washington Times

The day the world learned that Martin Luther King became a martyr has left an indelible mark, April 4, 1968, on the soul of humanity, because he reached out to the minds and hearts in America.

The Care19 app is seen on a cell phone screen, Friday, May 22, 2020, in Sioux Falls, S.D. Care19, a contact tracing app is being pushed by the governors of North Dakota and South Dakota as a tool to trace exposure to the coronavirus. But tech firm Jumbo Privacy points out the app violated its own privacy policy by sharing location and identification information with third-party companies like Foursquare, BugFender and Google. (AP Photo/Stephen Groves)  **FILE**

Contact tracing: Siri, Alexa meet the new kid on the block

- The Washington Times

You needn't be a hi-tech hipster to be familiar with Siri of Appleland or Alexa of the Amazon, the artificially intelligent ladies at your beck and call now hanging out with a new kid on the AI block. Its name is contact tracing, and it's being deployed in the battle to rein in COVID-19.

In this March 3, 2020, file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at a primary election night campaign rally in Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)  **fiLE**

Inside the Beltway during the coronavirus pandemic

- The Washington Times

Having already failed to impeach President Trump, Beat Trumpers devised another strategy: Unify to counter Mr. Trump's COVID-19 efforts, turn on the spigots labeled federal, state and local dollars, and coalesce state and local leaders to beg for tax dollars as if their lives -- and the lives of their families and constituents -- depended on it.

A child peeks through the window of a vehicle while in line Tuesday, April 21, 2020, for Brownsville Independent School District's meal distribution at Rivera Early College High School in Brownsville, Texas, during the coronavirus outbreak. Parents are required to have their children in their vehicles in order to receive meals from the school district. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald via AP)  **FILE**

Coronavirus exposes failure of one-size-fits-all education policies

- The Washington Times

As governors and mayors continue cracking their COVID-19 whips, parents and other citizens are pleading "give us free. They're talking about their jobs, public schools, libraries, beaches and recreational programs, and their liberties. They're also learning, learning the hard way, that one-size-fits-all policies and practices continue to fail.

This image released by Fox shows host Nick Cannon, left, with Lil Wayne in the third season premiere of "The Masked Singer," which aired on Sunday after the Super Bowl. The special edition of the show, with Lil' Wayne as the mystery guest, had its biggest audience ever Sunday when 23.7 million people watched it, the Nielsen company said. (Greg Gayne/FOX via AP)  **FILE**

Dishonest masked singers of 2020

- The Washington Times

If you've never watched the musical game show "The Masked Singer," check it out. It's as unprecedented as our response to COVID-19 -- except it's funny, and we can all benefit from strong doses of humor these days.