Letter to the Editor: Gun violence prevention: Educational leaders should lead to save lives

Saturday, May 19, 2018

To the Editor:

Another school shooting. More students and staff dead, or injured and traumatized for a lifetime.

In its recent response to community concern regarding gun violence, the Shoreline School Board and District leadership stated “our young leaders… will undoubtedly lead us all to a brighter future.”

Respectfully, it’s tough to envision a brighter future – much less lead the way to it – when you’re faced with the possibility that your school might be the next to “win” the school shooting lottery. It probably feels futile to protest when the adults are telling you that it’s more important to maintain the “precedent we have set as a non-partisan body that is solely focused on the aspects of education and school safety under our purview that we are able to implement and influence.”

In other words, the adults in power are saying: “we are unwilling to take a stand for fear we might offend a gun rights extremist.” These educational leaders are leaving it to students not yet old enough to vote to effect changes that could save lives from gun violence.

Saving lives is not a partisan issue. Our community must make choices about how we address access to guns and a culture of fear and despair and violence so pervasive that it has spawned an epidemic of mass shootings and suicide by firearm.

The leadership of Shoreline Schools – together with local elected officials – must stop leading from the rear. Step into your role to bring the community together around a public health issue that affects all of us, but our students most critically. Use your influence to communicate actively. Work with stakeholders to find and recommend to our politicians gun violence prevention measures that are inclusive and transformative and effective over the long term. Teach our students accountability by example.

Sue Whitcomb
Lake Forest Park


Anonymous,  May 19, 2018 at 9:01 AM  

Excellent, Sue. As a parent of students in Shoreline, I am deeply disappointed in the lack of thought and courage on the part of our school board. Local district school boards recognized that they are responsible for the lives and safety of their students and staff and took it upon themselves to call on our legislators to pass gun reform legislation. Our district, had a quiet meeting to discuss whether or not they should take up the issue and then quietly announced they were not going to do a thing. They ignored their students who spoke so passionately about the fear they feel in our schools. They ignored the parents and staff who also spoke about the urgency of changing our laws. If they had the courage to speak as a district, they would provide our legislators with valuable feedback and provide them with the "cover" it will take for them to push for gun reform. Instead, to avoid a difficult discussion that would force them to realize they are on the board to reflect the students and the staff, rather than their own views, our weak-willed board decided to remain silent. Very disappointing.

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