March 24, 2018, made its mark in history as the day that towns and cities across America gathered to demand stricter gun control and an end to mass shootings. Where was Augusta on that Saturday? How could the capital city of Maine fail to show up? After the fact, excuses have circulated about not having sufficient time for the city to obtain a permit for the gathering. Really? Why not? Other cities did this in a timely fashion.

As a veteran public school teacher, I can assure you all that the possibility of gun violence occurring in our local schools is a real threat. I personally have removed guns and knives from high schoolers more than once. For years, the public could and did wander through the halls of Cony without any barriers. I am not so sure that the halls are perfectly safe today.

With the addition of our new Mainers to Augusta schools, we need to provide a safe, secure environment for all of our students and teachers. A practice lockdown once or twice a year does not cut it. Many of these new students, who come from war-torn countries, arrive with high levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, and now are even more insecure about their school environment and/or the ability of their teachers to keep them safe.

Arming staff is a ridiculous suggestion at best; most of us do not want to carry a gun, nor do we want the responsibility of keeping a weapon away from students.

I would like to suggest that the student council, civil rights teams, school administrators, and staff design a curriculum that can provide everyone with the needed skills to better handle a potential violent situation.

In Augusta, we historically place a stop sign and red light at an intersection after a tragedy has occurred. Please do not wait.

Nancy G. Kelly

ESL literacy specialist

Augusta


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