The news of the Saugus High School shooting made its way into the world last Thursday morning. I was at my second grader’s jog-a-thon, surrounded by hundreds of kids playing and running without worry. Kids who feel safe, comfortable and free — as they should!
I had to keep myself from learning too much about the shooting until later that night because it was impossible not to look around and wonder about the “what ifs,” to acknowledge how vulnerable and innocent these kids are, and to feel my heart break knowing that two others were killed that very morning when they too felt safe and free in their daily routines.
Sometimes there are warning signs. Sometimes there aren’t. But the constant in every single school shooting is the presence of a gun.
Increased security, emergency plans and active shooter drills are reactive measures meant to decrease the likelihood of loss of life when a shooting occurs. But proactive measures will decrease those shootings from ever happening.
So, what’s needed?
1. Education of responsible gun ownership, which can seriously deter both intentional and accidental deaths of children, by children.
2. Systemic training so that all teachers and staff can recognize the warning signs and direct students to the proper support and resources including school psychologists and mental health services.
3. A shift in on-campus culture that allows a safe environment for a student to ask for help and disclose they’re struggling.
The funding needed for these changes and the present budgetary scarcity is not lost on me. These funding challenges aren’t unique to Glendale; they start at the state and national level. This is where GUSD comes in. We need our district to take a stance and to educate us as parents, as schools and as a district on how we can best advocate to change the way our schools are funded and our children’s needs are met. This has truly become a matter of life and death.
Glenoaks Elementary School parent
The Glendale school board this month has discussed the possibility of term limits for school board members. It was very disturbing to learn the discussion took 16 months to make it on the agenda and further, that it was met with such resistance.
The governor has an eight-year term limit, as do the cabinet, state legislators, countless local positions, and even the president of the United States. If school board members believe they need more time to learn their jobs than the leader of the free world, then frankly they’re in the wrong profession.
If an incumbent doesn’t vote for term limits they’re voting in their own interests while amassing social capital. Term limits level the field. A lack of limits keeps new blood from entering the arena and reinvigorating the process while allowing ineffective politicians the opportunity to run on their experience, often hiding the fact that it was their actions specifically, which brought about the present state of affairs.
School boards across the country suffer from the same untamed incumbency that paralyzes Congress. Term limits can spark elected officials to choose action over complacency and motivate them to accomplish goals more quickly.
Public education is in crisis. There is an urgent need to address important and often difficult issues facing the next generation of learners. Term limits are not meant to disrespect, underappreciate or undervalue the contributions of our sitting trustees, but rather to cultivate a culture of capacity building and to encourage an opening of the doors to the board room and welcoming of fresh ideas, new approaches and diverse representation.
I loved Brian Crosby’s article about writing thank-you notes and that he teaches his students how to write them. It is really sad that there are fewer people who write them.
Bravo to Crosby!