Do Something, ... Please –
Actions Speak Louder than Words.
Before I get going. Congratulations and thank you Betsy for your career in education. I would hazard to say this probably isn’t the “end of an era,” but your continuation into another evolution of your life. We’re lucky if we can keep our principles, ideals and head held high from one part of our lives to the next. Best wishes in your next chapters. I think you’ve already got a start in creating the best newspaper on the Eastern Colorado Plains. (Note: I didn’t say the best ‘little’ or ‘small town’ paper, but The Best.) Thanks again for allowing me the privilege to write for the Independent
Priscilla, thanks for the insightful story on Betsy Barnett. Good writing.
The most physically and mentally demanding jobs I ever had were 7½ years of teaching 7th to 12th grade, coaching and driving school buses.
If it’s not clear, when I write a “commentary” piece and KCI prints it, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher or editor. Those are my expressions of how I see it, not how the Publisher or Editor sees it. Those pieces along with the historical articles are written for the readers. Further, I issue an open challenge to anyone who disputes, with fact, accuracy and primary sources, my telling of history. jcc
Another Open Letter to State and Federal Legislators:
The former law enforcement professional said, “Here we go again.” That’s not good or enough.
May 18, 2018: Dateline. Santa Fe High, Texas. School shooting. Shooter enters high school with his father’s weapons, shoots and kills students and adults.
After the Parkland High School mass shooting in Florida there were marches. There were the beginnings of a movement by students. That was good, but like in golf, it’s in the follow through.
Then the politicians do what politicians do, they made it political. They talked about funding and budgets and contracts for electronic gizmos. Yeah, that’s it throw money at it. They talked a lot of blah, blah, blah.
Don’t make us steel our hearts with more walls.
The striking thing in Florida and now Texas is the students knew the shooter right off. They knew he was a problem. They knew how serious. How come a sixteen year old student can have enough perception to recognise trouble when they see it, hear it, live around it and adult legislators think there has to be more laws, restrictions and money spent. The Texas Lt. Gov. said their 8,000 campuses need to be retrofitted with devices with minimal entrance / exits. McCaul from Texas talked about “hardening” campuses.
We don’t need to turn our schools into prisons. Students and teachers already feel like they are some days. The hallmark of American education used to be learning, disciplining the student in the practice of reading, writing and arithmetic taught in a secure environment but with open doors and windows for open minds and breathing fresh air.
Looking for easy answers, it becomes comforting to wrap ourselves in blankets of steel, walls topped with razor wire and physical barriers and guards at the gates. We don’t want to create the fostering ground for despotism which rules our education like a fortified camp.
We need to protect our children and schools by advancing, not retreating. The protection lies outside the walls and halls in the way we deal with those who threaten freedom in education.
As I outlined in March 7 p. 18 & 20, “See Something, Do Something” and March 14,, p. 13, Do Something: Combat School – Seriously? We need to develop protocols and tools, but bringing more guns into schools isn’t the solution. the articles offered a mental health protocol which could lead to involuntary (compelled) psychiatric and clinical evaluations and routes to rehab. We could, you legislators could, do these things with little or no cost, without budget increases or new agencies, programs and cumbersome bureaucracies. We can’t afford more spending. We need leadership to revised ways of viewing mental and our educational health.
Metal detectors will not stop persons with ill will in their hearts or mental disease. Security guards can’t stop parent’s lack of responsibility in locking up their firearms or make them take charge of their own children.
I’m a former law enforcement officer who often dealt with the mentally ill by defect, disease or by drug induced behaviours and not a mental health or medical professional.
Next week Part 2 – Do Something... Please