Board needs trans­parency

The Republican Herald - - COMMENTARY -

To the Ed­i­tor:

On one of my re­cent trips to visit friends and fam­ily Schuylkill County, I learned of the pro­posal by the Tamaqua Area School Dis­trict to arm teach­ers in or­der to pro­tect stu­dents in the event of school shoot­ing. Many peo­ple I care about have stu­dents in the Tamaqua Area School Dis­trict, so I reached out to some of them and asked what they thought of this new pol­icy.

What I learned was that most of the par­ents didn’t know about this pol­icy, how it was be­ing crafted, who was con­sulted and what other plans were con­sid­ered be­fore de­cid­ing arm­ing teach­ers was the best choice for the school. What was most dis­ap­point­ing was hear­ing that mem­bers of the board were con­de­scend­ing and rude when it came to an­swer­ing the ques­tions of con­cerned par­ents.

The lack of trans­parency in the board’s an­swers and their in­abil­ity to of­fer con­cerned cit­i­zens any­thing in writ­ing gives me the feel­ing that they didn’t do their home­work on this pol­icy. What other se­cu­rity plans were con­sid­ered? What law en­force­ment was con­sulted? How are safety drills go­ing to be con­ducted that will still pro­tect the anonymity of teach­ers “anony­mously” car­ry­ing guns? What ex­perts on school safety did they talk to? What re­sources are avail­able through the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments? It’s dis­ap­point­ing be­cause this is a school dis­trict, not a school dic­ta­tor­ship. Th­ese mem­bers of the board have to re­mem­ber they are elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the peo­ple and not dic­ta­tors who ad­min­is­ter pol­icy by be­ing com­pla­cent in their own ideals.

What some are try­ing to do is make this a di­vi­sive pro- gun/ anti- gun is­sue, and I don’t be­lieve that’s the case. With the in­creased pres­ence of guns, the chances for ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing guns in­creases. That’s not an anti- gun stance, it’s a sta­tis­ti­cally based fact and it has to be con­sid­ered with this pol­icy.

With an in­creased chance of ac­ci­dents there is an in­creased li­a­bil­ity that comes with higher in­sur­ance costs. I be­lieve that’s the main con­cern of the par­ents. They want the safest and most cost ef­fec­tive en­vi­ron­ment pos­si­ble for their chil­dren to be ed­u­cated in.

The teach­ers have spo­ken out against this pol­icy. Par­ents have spo­ken out against this pol­icy. Mem­bers of lo­cal po­lice forces have said that anony­mous peo­ple with guns dur­ing a shoot­ing in­creases risk of in­no­cent peo­ple get­ting shot. What’s re­fresh­ing to see is that par­ents are get­ting in­volved, con­sult­ing ex­perts, gath­er­ing fac­tual data and search­ing for se­cu­rity al­ter­na­tives to present to the school board.

Tamaqua is a beau­ti­ful town full of won­der­ful peo­ple. There’s is no rea­son that pol­i­tics has to in­ter­fere with what’s best for stu­dents, teach­ers and the com­mu­nity as a whole. The school board would be wise to open their minds and lis­ten to the con­cerns of the par­ties in­volved and con­sider other al­ter­na­tives.

I be­lieve all the mem­bers of the board are all rea­son­able peo­ple. They would be fool­ish not to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity to craft good pol­icy with the peo­ple they serve in­stead of putting forth poorly re­searched pol­icy be­cause they are in power. If they are fool­ish, they will be re­mem­bered as such come elec­tion time.

Hop­ing cooler heads pre­vail,

Daniel Ur­ban, Wind­ham, Conn. For­merly of Coal­dale

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.