, Gloucester, MA


March 26, 2013

Letter: Time to stand up for better school safety

To the editor:

I have read the two “My View” pieces written by Schools Superintendent Richard Safier (the Times, Saturday/Monday, March 23/25).

He notes that the NRA has advocated for school resource officers(trained police) to be placed in every school in the wake of Sandy Hook. He fails, however, to note that President Obama has also called for school resource officers in every school.

At no point does Superintendent Safier address the threat to our children of an armed assailant as occurred in Sandy Hook. This is the threat that President Obama has recognized; it is the purpose of every parent’s concern and the reason for the public hearing.

In the 35 years that I have been an attorney, I have seen enormous changes in security at courthouses. When I began, there was little to no security. There was no screening or police presence. All that changed on 9/11/01.

The world is indeed different. I am a member of the Gloucester Planning Board. We recently dealt with a very contentious issue concerning zoning to facilitate the building of a beachfront hotel. While the project has significant community support, many citizens oppose the very idea.

At a public hearing, the Kyrouz auditorium at City Hall was packed with both proponents and opponents of the plan. The joint public hearing of the Planning Board and a committee of the City Council listened for many hours until every citizen who wished to be heard spoke. The participants were protected by five to six police officers. All who participated were concerned citizens and representatives of individuals and businesses.

Police protection is routine and necessary in our community. Our politicians, judges, and lawyers all routinely seek and are given protection. Why not our children?

It has been suggested that having a professionally trained safety officer at our schools might “militarize” our schools and scare the children. Yet, every parade that our children attend has police security, as does the St. Peter’s Fiesta.

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