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Provide The Same Protection To All The Schools

To the Editor:

The Town of Newtown is planning to place armed guards or police officers in its public schools. As a Sandy Hook resident and father of two, I am not going to comment on whether or not this is the best solution to keeping our children safe, or if it is even necessary.  However, if we are choosing this type of security for children in Newtown because we believe there is a threat, or to address the psychological issues that have ensued due to the horrific event on 12/14, and the additional security is not a part of any educational curriculum, then the town should provide such security services equally to all students in Newtown.

Although my children were physically safe in a different school that day, they were still exposed to chilling and traumatic experiences.  My daughter cried during lockdown because she heard that there was a shooting in Sandy Hook where we live, where many of our neighbors and friends go to school. We drove home past dozens of media trucks and police, into our neighborhood where Adam Lanza lived. We continue to grieve, support, and try to heal with our community.

The point is that my family is just as much a part of this town and the emotional distress we are all going through, as any of the families with kids in any of the Newtown schools. As such, my children deserve the same protection as their friends and neighbors. How can anyone explain to them why the police are protecting their friends, but not them?

We are a town trying to unite and heal, so our choices as a town should be fair and mindful. This is not a private school verses public school issue.  It is not an education issue at all.  This is an issue of what security measures are necessary for school age children in Newtown to keep them safe. There are real consequences if the town chooses to protect some schools and not others.  Parents are already talking about pulling their kids out of school if the town doesn't protect it, presenting unprotected schools with major financial challenges.

Another unintended reality of such a decision on the part of the town is that the kids in the unprotected schools will become the most vulnerable targets by default.  This should weigh heavily on the minds of Newtown residents and those who represent us.

Dave Ackert

6 Cider Mill Road, Sandy Hook                         March 11, 2013

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