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Thoughts on mass violence in schools

4/4/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

I have been very concerned about the random violence that seems to be pervasive in our society today. Could it be the easy availability of guns to mentally unstable and violent individuals? Turning a blind eye or not being educated about mentally ill or violent offenders? Not being able to get adequate or any psychological help for those that need it? Bullying in schools, the hyper publicizing of these shootings in media perhaps causing copycat-type incidents? Rise in fractured families? I believe all these things and many more are contributing to the epidemic that is upon us.

I feel we need to have more awareness about mental health issues, addressing the roots of bullying and prevention of it that leaves children and adults feeling helpless and desperate. Control of gun trafficking and responsible and effective gun laws [should] be of highest importance. Background checks need to be in place and security in schools heightened. I would like to propose armed military personnel be stationed at all schools. This would give some active and perhaps presently inactive military a way to serve and help protect here at home. I am quite sure some individuals with ill intent might think twice about following through on their violent acts if an environment of immediate and precise retaliation were in place.

That, combined with education regarding signs to look for in individuals that are mentally ill and/or have violent tendencies, should be employed for teachers, administrators and students. Swift intervention in matters of mental health issues should be in place. A cross referencing database that could be employed state to state to red flag high-risk individuals to law enforcement and mental health professionals. Anti-bullying campaigns perhaps could be taught in all schools.

Unfortunately, we live in a far more violent world today, and changes have got to happen to prevent these atrocities in the future. There are no easy answers; this is a complex problem with many layers of complexity, but we have to get to the roots of this violence.

Patrice Faulhammer, Bath

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