Letters to the Editor 1/31/13
I have been listening to respected responsible gun owners in recent weeks. They rightfully express strong opinions in the national debate regarding guns in society. I have no doubt about their sincere desire, with the rest of us, to have our neighborhoods be safer from mass killings. Yet many of the fears they describe in these conversations are not nearly as likely, statistically speaking, as mass killings are in most neighborhoods of America. So I appeal to responsible gun owners to consider placing these less-likely-to-happen personal concerns at a lower priority so we all together can respond effectively to lessen the likelihood of the next massacres. All our families are significantly more at risk of being maimed and killed in a massacre accomplished with high-powered semi-automatic weapons than by someone breaking into our home with an intent to kill, or our being mugged with lethal force on the street or the U.S. government turning its arsenal of weapons against us. Can a solid majority of us possibly begin to agree that responding against the certainty of neighborhood massacres is right now the significantly greatest national gun safety issue in the nation?
I LIKE MIKE
My two children are products of District 186 schools. They were students of Butler, Iles, Franklin and Springfield High schools. It’s been a decade since my youngest graduated, and too many would consider those past years the better years for District 186.
I sense that many in Springfield seem to have lost faith in our schools. I have not. I know how hard District 186 teachers work and I know they want the best for their students. I have found a candidate for school board who shares my support for the schools, the teachers and especially the students: It is Mike Zimmers.
I have never supported a candidate of any kind before in Springfield, but knowing Mike Zimmers has changed my attitude and sparked my involvement.
Mike has 34 years of experience as a teacher, coach and principal in this district, and he has an in-depth knowledge of all the individual schools that make up the district. He is committed to balanced budgets, to strong, consistent leadership, to safe schools and to schools that place a renewed emphasis on individual learning styles of each and every student. I am encouraging all parents with school-aged children or parents whose students have grown up in and out of Springfield schools to support Mike Zimmers.
BYE-BYE TO BULLIES
As proven by recent events of shootings in public schools, too often the victims of school bullies are being pushed beyond their breaking points.
Too often have school administrators refused to take legal action against the known perpetrators (the bullies) of these crimes. In fact, for decades school administrators have hidden behind the excuse, “Bullying is just a part of growing up.”
If we, the people, want to bring an end to such violence, then the time is now. We must force school officials to face this issue head on.
My proposal for bringing an end to this bully-related violence is simple. In our various communities, I am requesting that neighborhood associations begin to circulate petitions calling on school boards to be placed under direct orders to halt all bullying in schools in the early spring 2013. This action will include, but not be limited to, having law enforcement drawing up arrest warrants then arresting bullies during school hours, inside school buildings. Each of these arrests will be at least as well publicized in the media as any other crime is reported.
Once the bully is arrested, then, regardless of the bully’s age, the bully will be tried as an adult. Once convicted of bullying, the sentence should be a minimum of 10 years in a penitentiary, as well as an adult criminal record, which will haunt the bully for the rest of their life.
It is time to throw bullies into federal penitentiaries where they belong. I speak from firsthand experience after being forced to leave public school more than 20 years ago due to excess bullying. No more students should be forced to take such drastic measures as either quitting school or shooting bullies just to be able to attend school in peace.