Letter to the editor

Addressing the source of violence could prevent the next school tragedy.

By Dominick A. Ruggiero Jr., special to The Sun

On April 26, as part of the task force in Washington Township, I participated in a safe school meeting. I must say, the cooperation between the Washington Township police and firemen with the Board of Education is outstanding — as is the program in operation by the superintendent and BOE.

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At this meeting, I brought forth a question starting with the above commendation, and following with everything being done — even with the new law being voted on, the school protection act — why have I not heard any mention of attacking the problem at the source? Most, if not all school shootings, have been by former students and/or students.

You see, when these shootings were investigated, it was found that bullying and mental stability played key roles in the shootings, along with inability of systems to adequately staff and fund the programs needed to address these issues. It seems too much government involvement and over-attention to student rights. And, I ask, what about the rights of the students murdered? Shouldn’t those concerns and rights prevail over the rights of those who need help? Shouldn’t our conscience tell us that we have an obligation to serve these children and see they are set back on course?

It seems some adversity is with parents — not all of them, but, there are a few who feel that if physiological testing is done, it would be a violation of the child’s rights. Well as a concerned parent, or grandparent, wouldn’t you think the well being of your child should be primary, as well as the safety of others? I strongly suggest that psychological testing be a part of all systems starting in third grade, and again entering middle school and as a junior. We cannot solve a school shooting or bullying problem if we do not know of a potential problem.

In my opinion, it is essential to be able to have an inkling of a potential problem, so it does not become a problem. It isn’t an invasion of privacy as some believe, but a service to the students, the parents and most beneficial to the individual student. You want safe schools? Then be willing to pay a price. I think more family counseling in some cases between student, parents and teachers, or perhaps offer parenting classes. These are my thoughts and I sincerely believe we solve problems at the source, and not with reactive measures after the fact.

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