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Letters to the editor for Nov. 20, 2020

Letters to the editor for Nov. 20, 2020

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Chance to help children

In the next month or so, the Lynchburg Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Crystal Edwards, and the Lynchburg Chief of Police, Ryan Zuidema, will sign an updated Memorandum of Understanding for School Resource Officers.

We need to make sure certain things are agreed to before that happens. First, the agreement has to be clear discipline should be handled within the school system, not by police. Students must not be sent to juvenile court. When a student makes a mistake, school officials need to deal with it, not use it as an excuse to continue the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Second, the agreement has to include ways to collect clear information so everyone can know when the system is effective and where changes need to be made. Are students of color and special education students being disproportionately suspended as they have in the past?

Our schools need to invest more in teachers and administrations so they are able to address difficult situations. We need to try the principles of “restorative justice,” rather than punitive actions.

Are there ways to help children make the distinction between a “school resource officer” and other types of police? For example, I read in some cities, their uniforms are less formal: blue polo shirts and tan pants. Must children be frightened by handcuffs and guns?

Finally, we need transparency. The public should be able to know what types of training are taking place, what the annual evaluations of school resource officers and disciplinary practices are indicating, and where more help is needed in order to provide every student with the best educational experience possible. We need more mentors and more mental health therapists, especially in this time of upheaval.

The Memorandum of Understanding is a chance to make some great strides in the health and well-being of all of our students. Let’s not miss this opportunity.

SOLVEIG KJESETH

Lynchburg

Get what you vote for

How many votes did this buy?

Roughly, 42 million students owe $1.5 trillion for college loans. The “biggest” alligator in the swamp has promised to erase $10,000 for each of these “free loaders.”

My fervent wish is each individual that voted for a 47-year politician gets their bellies full of the current president elect.

WALTER FOSTER

Concord

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