From My Corner: June 1, 2022

Better safe than sorry

            The recent school shootings in the United States reminded me of the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut where 26 people were killed in 2012. That day, I went to Jeffrey Riley who was superintendent of school at that time to express my concern. He put me at ease by explaining that the security force was properly trained by the Massachusetts State Police.

             Nobody wants to see that happening but it will be very sad to admit that there was something that could prevent it – or at least, make it difficult for the perpetrators.

            So, I remembered that when our mayor was campaigning, he devised a plan to do just that: prevent such atrocity from becoming a reality in Lawrence. He developed a violence Prevention, Preparation, and Response action plan utilizing the SARA (Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment) crime prevention and problem-solving model.

            He was referring to the violence taking place inside Lawrence High School and part of the plan reads: “The recent outbreaks of violence at our high school are of grave concern to me and our community of Lawrence. They endanger the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff and harm the student’s learning process. This violence requires a holistic approach to evaluation and implementation… Based on all the research and data that was available before returning to a full in-person class, there was NO doubt that anxiety, depression, insecurity, and psychological issues of reintegration would occur.”

            These are things that could very well be in this city.

With the threats involving active shooters from outside, he now believes that measures must be implemented at all schools and recently told me that he wants all Lawrence Schools to have only one entrance.

            “The entrance for students and staff should be equipped with metal detectors and all other doors must be locked from inside so no one can use them to enter while students and staff will be able to exit the buildings in an emergency,” he added.

            Between the metal detectors and security guards in each school, this is a very expensive proposal but, do we want to risk becoming another statistic?

            During the last two weeks, I’ve tried calling John Lavoie, superintendent-Director of Greater Lawrence Technical School, and spoke to different people and he never called me back.

            I did the same with Maria Moeller, superintendent of Community Day Charter District School having the same result.

            Ralph Carrero, superintendent of the Family Development Charter School was the only one willing to talk to me but I believe that the others simply don’t want to awaken parents in the community with such an issue that may never happen or, at least, we hope.

            Statement from U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, “Considering last week’s tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, this data also shines a light on a dark truth—the growing prevalence of gun violence in our schools. As I recently said to members of Congress, I am ashamed that we as a country are becoming desensitized to these horrific tragedies. As parents, leaders, and educators, protecting our children is more important than anything else. The time for thoughts and prayers alone is over. We need legislative action. We can do better, and we must do better.”


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