, Gloucester, MA

March 20, 2013

Letter: Safety and security in Gloucester schools

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor,

Working in an urban school district such as Chelsea, one might ponder the safety of their children in such an environment.

Unfortunately, it is a stereotype that, working in an inner city environment, crime can break out at a moment’s notice.

This stereotype is well played out in famous movies such as “Freedom Writers” and “Stand and Deliver.” To this comment, I can say first hand that the Wright Science and Technology Academy, located in Chelsea and the school to which I am employed, is the safest school environment, by far, that I have ever worked in.

There are cameras located at every entrance, several security guards that patrol the school grounds from the time that school opens until well after it closes, a police officer whose sole responsibility is to protect our school, a security desk

where visitors must check in and show identification, as well as random searches that occur every morning. How could one not feel safe? I feel safer here than I do in my own home.

When people learn as to where I work, their response, on average is something to the effect of, “Well, of course they need to take such precautions to protect the students because of where Chelsea is located!”

Yet, my question to the city of Gloucester is this: “Why is it that only the inner city/urban districts or that of the very wealthy communities are afforded such safety, but not the students of the city of Gloucester?”

The strange part of my story is that I was employed as a teacher for many years in the city of Gloucester. Never once did I see a security guard on the school premises, a police officer roaming the building, or random searches taking place on both faculty and students. Why? Because Gloucester is considered neither wealthy nor inner city?

To say that I feel more secure working in an inner school environment, than I did when I actually worked as a teacher in Gloucester, is pathetic. Our students, our children need to be afforded the same opportunity to experience safety as other districts such as Chelsea feel when they attend school.

I work as a teacher, I was employed at Fuller School, I was born and raised in Gloucester. Therefore, I am no stranger to the fact that money, funds, whatever you call it, will always be tight. I am aware that parents have to pitch in for busing, for uniforms, etc. The list goes on, but safety should not and will not be part of what we will compromise for the children.

An intercom at the front entrance of a school and a locked door is a start, but it should just be the beginning.

It’s not fair, and the city needs to figure out a way to make all children, all adults, everyone feel safe. Do something about it.