Proposal would enhance safety

Published 10:10 pm Monday, October 15, 2018

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the article “Varied visons for school safety” (Sept. 30).

As a parent, it is disheartening to find that the school system is using more than $550,000 in state funds for “safety monitors” instead of utilizing the proposal set forth by the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office has certified law enforcement personnel trained in many areas including community safety and firearms safety. The Suffolk Sheriff’s Office has undertaken to be in our schools during various school hours to provide positive interactions with our children, and this has been especially helpful for those communities who do not have a rapport with law enforcement.

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The stated purpose of the “safety monitor” is to enhance school safety, but this belies the point that these “safety monitors” have, at best, three days training and do not carry firearms.

We live within a culture of not if school violence will occur, but when it will occur. In the great majority of school mass shootings, these did not occur where law enforcement was part of the school safety plan and stationed within the schools. The question really should be, do these “safety monitors” bring any enhanced safety to our children? Are they equipped to do anything more than the teachers and support staff already do in our schools? What protection do they offer if a shooter comes to or attacks within our schools?

The safety of our children is not an African-American, Hispanic, or Caucasian issue; it is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it is not a rich or poor issue; rather, it is how to we value our children. It is disappointing that the money that could truly be used within our school systems to protect is being used in a way that does not enhance safety.

After reading the article “Varied visons for school safety” our community must voice our concerns. Sheriff E.C. Harris has indicated that he can quickly implement a program (at a cost savings of over $100,000 a year) that puts trained law enforcement officers within each and every one of our schools. On this issue, we need to be proactive and not reactive, because once the violence occurs, it is the loss of our children, our neighbor’s children, and our future. Nelson Mandela said, “[t]here can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

The question then comes down to whether we, as the soul of our community, are willing and able to take the steps to protect all of our citizens, especially the ones too young to protect themselves.

Marie Walls