Letter to the editor: Let’s talk about how to make schools safe

Let’s talk about how to make schools safe

A great big thank you to Erin Thompson and Michael Armstrong and the Clarion for their very informative article, “After Parkland,” in Sunday’s paper. The importance of information regarding the influence of school shootings on all of us is number 1 on me and number 2 is where do we go from here? Their article describes the horror (to me) of the shootings of students in the last two decades, the complexity of the problems and the need for solutions to the problems. I use the word horror because shooting, wounding, and killing young people is unacceptable to me and I use it in response to some people’s unconsciously normalizing such actions.

The authors do a very nice presentation of students’ impressions and students’ ideas along with our need to include young people in the debate and the creation of solutions to what I see as a major problem in America. James Brooks and the Juneau Empire also do an excellent job of presenting young people’s experiences in protesting school shootings in Juneau High School last Wednesday along with their recommendation for us to listen closely to our young people and act to correct the problem.

School shootings, wounding and killing young people haven’t always been a major problem in America. Eighty years ago we entered school without fear of being shot, wounded or being killed even though guns were readily accessible. Forty to 30 years ago when I taught at Kenai and Soldotna high schools, I do not recall any fear of such violence. Many things have happened in the ensuing 30 years. Many times students and schools have been shorted by budget reductions brought about by legislators’ actions. One such result was the curriculum called Human Relations was removed from the courses offered at KPC and UAA. Maybe it is time to reinstate such a course. Our governmental leaders in Juneau and Washington might even benefit from such a course.

To the students of Alaska and America, I applaud your speaking up for things you know are right and encourage you to never give up pushing for safe schools. Safe schools are possible. You give me hope for our future. Change is necessary.

Hugh R. Hays


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