I’m sure like many people in Skowhegan I want to express my gratitude to the teachers, administrators and law enforcement that worked together to keep our kids safe last week (“Police charge 2 boys at Skowhegan High School with felony terrorizing,” March 1).

I thought the district did a great job keeping teachers and parents informed in a way that helped ease the tension, and the teachers did a great job of having age-appropriate discussions to support the students. The district had protocols in place and were prepared for the unthinkable situation. The Skowhegan police were collaborative and leveraged resources necessary to get to the bottom of the situation quickly. As a parent, when I pulled in to Bloomfield Elementary School and saw Deputy Chief Joel Cummings by the front door I felt a little bit of comfort.

While this threat has passed, I think school safety is now a reality for all of us. Once everyone gets some rest, I look forward to working together on some preventative options that might help keep our kids a little safer. Maybe it’s background-checked adults that volunteer to be at the school doors in the morning and afternoon when the doors are unlocked. Maybe it’s finding volunteer counselors to help work with kids with mental health needs. Maybe it’s teaching us all how to help search social media and allocating five minutes of our Facebook time each day to helping look for risks. I’m sure there are a bunch of better ideas and Skowhegan is a community that is willing to step up and help when it’s needed, like it is now.

I also hope that we can hold on to this gratitude in the times when the police department and the district need us — at budget time. Teachers have become the front line of this dangerous epidemic, and they deserve timely, reasonable contracts. At budget time, the district needs us to be respectful and listen to their needs. That doesn’t mean a blank checkbook; it means all of us learning about our new reality, of learning and safety, and working together to set priorities to help move our schools and our kids forward.

To our teachers, administrators and law enforcement professionals, get some rest knowing that we appreciate everything you did this week.

Heather Johnson is a resident of Norridgewock.

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