State should make sure schools are safe

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This letter is in response to the terrible tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.

My wife and I have been teaching safety at elementary schools for the past three years. Using a talking animated school bus, we teach the children safety rules to follow, i.e. boarding the bus; bus danger zones; behavior; crossing roads; strangers, etc.

After each class the children are given the opportunity to come up to the talking bus (Buster) and ask him a question. The questions they ask are, at times, alarming. Such as: What if the bus catches fire?

We assure the children that if they follow the safety rules and always obey the bus driver they will be safe and not to worry.

Well now they have something much worse to worry about and they will, you can be sure of that! We need to secure our schools. But how? Are we going to arm teachers and school administrators? Absolutely not!

The state of Washington needs to develop a “Secure School Program” under the jurisdiction of the state patrol. The state provides school funding; the state patrol performs a yearly safety inspection on every school bus.

The state patrol has the resources to recruit, screen and train people for this. Preference should be given to persons with prior military and law enforcement experience. The position would be part-time and would cost less than the salary of one full-time teacher.

This person would be fully trained in firearms. I say expert for a reason. If someone were to be foolish enough to show up with a firearm, knowing that a fully trained state patrolman is there to greet him — well, one round should take care of the threat. No ricochets!

This security person should be outside when the buses arrive in the morning and when they leave in the afternoon, and outside during recess, always being vigilant of his or her surroundings. He or she will be a friend to the students and they will care and appreciate that there is someone they can count on to protect them.

Children are precious gifts from God! We must do our best to protect them. Never again can we allow another tragedy to occur. Doing nothing is just not acceptable anymore.

I’ve heard that after the grieving, comes the anger. Well, I guess that’s true!

Jerry McBride

Walla Walla

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