To the Editor:
I am writing this letter because, like so many in our community, I feel a need to do something, anything, after the horrible slaying of those innocent children, teachers, and administrators in the Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut.
It is unimaginable what occurred in those horrific moments, and it is unbearable to think of how the families of the survivors will cope the rest of their lives.
Our household has been watching the television coverage of this tragic event and are greatly relieved to finally hear people speaking out strongly for gun control and more help for the mentally ill and their families. However, there are strong voices advocating for continued easy access to guns and semi-automatic weapons. It is easier in some states to purchase a gun than it is to get a driver's license.
I am the retired head of the lower school at Brown School, in Schenectady, New York. As a retired kindergarten teacher and primary school principal, I am sickened by the voices of some of our government officials (William Bennett, former Secretary of Education under President George W. Bush, and Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas), saying that the answer to these school massacres is "to arm the teachers and administrators." I will be crystal clear: guns do not belong in schools. Period. It is appalling to me to think that anyone would think that is a solution. Should kindergarten teachers and school principals be required to pass target practice and gun safety courses, in addition to the academic and professional standards we expect from them? This is pure crazy talk.
Those of us who work, or have worked, in schools with young children, know that the burden of protecting our young charges has grown many times in the last decade. Schools are expected to be, and should be, safe places for everyone. However, every provision that could be made to protect our schools will make little difference until our gun laws are changed. How many children's deaths will it take before we take action?
The time is now.
Sarah D. Moore