New Castle News

Letters to the Editor

December 31, 2012

School violence problems are simple to resolve

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

Many school districts are simply throwing money at the problem of violence in our schools. They are missing the most obvious common-sense solution:

1. Re-engage teachers.

2. Reinstitute discipline.

Re-engaging refers to the following: teachers should once again be the cafeteria monitors, the coaches, the study hall monitors, the extracurricular advisers, the bus monitors, the hall monitors, the detention monitors, the morning greeters or the dismissal monitors.

For example, if there was a teacher saying “good morning” to each student who passed through the front door of the school that day in Connecticut (as I did for many years when I was a teacher), no one would have been able to enter with a gun.

Furthermore, every student would have been taught to start the day with a smile on his face. Any behavioral psychologist would attest to the benefits of a simple smile.

Teachers should be in the cafeteria listening to the students talk about their problems — problems with their friends, their pets, their parents, their homework — actually listening to whatever concerns them. Teachers should be monitoring the study halls, helping students with their assignments, keeping them focused, watching their interactions. Re-engaging teachers is step one in preventing violence.

Step two is to reinstitute discipline in our schools. Our schools need to keep a close watch on the small problems so that mole hills don’t turn into mountains. If a child doesn’t get the attention he needs by shooting a spit ball, he will escalate to shooting rocks through windows, and some will eventually escalate to shooting guns or engaging in some other violent behavior.

Of course, the punishment must fit the infraction, from detention to community service to suspension. And, above all, parents should be fined each time their child is suspended.

Sherina A. Tiberia

East Winter Avenue

New Castle

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