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December 21, 2012

Letter: Nation must help teachers keep world safe for children

To the editor:

This past week, teachers reminded the world that each day we nurture, challenge and inspire our children. Each child is “our” child and we fret over them, smile at their triumphs, hurt for them — all the emotions of a parent.

I hope that the country can agree to help parents and teachers do that in a safe world, and that is my wish as a former teacher and principal and as a parent.

Educators are held to professional standards that include delivering effective instruction in a safe learning environment. We are held responsible to maintain appropriate standards of behavior, mutual respect and safety. To accomplish this the school’s community of parents, police, firemen and civic leaders employ the laws to work for the common good of all the children and personnel in those buildings.

There is no debate in the events of Dec. 12 in Newtown, Conn., or Aurora, Colo., or Littleton, Colo., or Portland, Ore., or Roxbury, Mass., to name some of the sites of massacres caused by guns.

Is this country responsible enough to stop the sale of military assault weapons to private citizens? Is this country responsible enough to stop the sale of multiple magazines of ammunition? And, to those who would argue it is a right to protect oneself — who are you fighting against? The United States Government protects all of us.

There is a dialogue to begin openly about mental health. Public schools work to educate all students according to individual capacities and needs. Teachers are the first to diagnose a learning problem and start the process for further academic support and, if warranted, medical intervention. Educators watch the development of students and are sensitive to this growth.

When you get a sore throat or a cough or are not feeling well, you enlist the skills of a doctor to diagnose the cause of your symptoms. When your car makes strange noises or dashboard lights blink at you warning of a problem, you enlist the expertise of your auto mechanic. When your child is learning at an accelerated speed or having difficulty or you are just plain interested in improvement, you seek the academic advice of your child’s teacher and the professionals in that school.

We are a community of Americans who all wish to prosper and grow and see our children do likewise. As a community, we can improve the culture of our schools with a renewed effort to maintain appropriate standards of behavior, mutual respect and safety.

Euthemia I. Gilman


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