To the editor:

I remember like it was yesterday when I got the call that my son’s elementary school in Washington, D.C., was on lockdown for a shooting incident. I was working in the Pentagon as a senior intelligence analyst. My son will soon start his third year in the Haverhill public schools.

Based on my perspective as a mother who came too close to every parent’s nightmare, and as someone who spent 13 years helping to stop governments and terrorists from smuggling weapons around the world, I urge the Haverhill City Council, School Committee and mayor to reject Councillor Joe Bevilacqua’s proposal to install metal detectors in our schools.

Most school safety experts agree the best way to deter, detect and disrupt threats to our schools is for appropriately trained professionals to build trusting relationships with our children — our best intelligence sources.

Our goal should be to identify and help a troubled kid or former student well before they try to take a gun into school.

Metal detectors must be operated 24/7 with every window and door in our schools sealed to prevent weapons from being stashed in advance. The price for that security is high in dollars, means turning our schools into prisons and still would not prevent many shooting scenarios.

If we are (maybe?) stopping the threat at the school’s door, we have already failed our kids.

Let’s do better by investing in effective prevention and professionals.

Alexandra Chandler

Haverhill

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