Sandra Weaver, San Clemente
I was disappointed to read about Councilman Derek Reeve’s request to the Capistrano Unified School District and four private schools to allow staff members, teachers and even parents to carry firearms as a safety measure. I was heartened to read of the rejection of that request from the District. This is a divisive issue. The NRA believes that if the “good guys” can carry guns, they will be able to shoot the “bad guys.” This is unrealistic. It has been proven that when guns are used by persons for the purpose of protecting their home and family, it is far too often a family member that loses their life, not an intruder. Every day, five children are injured or killed as a result of handguns. Last week over 200 guns were voluntarily turned in and will be destroyed. Lines formed for blocks with citizens willing to do this. At the same time, gun stores were having a bonanza sales week. Do we want to go back to the days of the old Wild West or do we want to create a culture of peace in our schools, communities, nation and the world? The teachers do not need guns. What they do need is the training to recognize a troubled child and the ability to offer or seek help for that child. Some of the symptoms such as bullying or isolation are obvious. Others are not so obvious. Teachers need to partner with the parents to ensure that every student has a healthy school experience and given the attention they need when it is needed. No sign should go unheeded no matter how small it may seem. Will that require more trained counselors in our schools? Perhaps. Is it worth the expense? Absolutely. Of course, we still need to be vigilant and protect our youngsters against intruders who would do harm. Parents and teachers can do that without weapons. Watch for people who seem out of place when you drop your kids off at school. Notice cars around the school that do not seem to be there for the purpose of picking up children. Talk to your children about their school experience and their classmates. Together we can create a world of peace and safety for all.