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Be the change

New York Teacher

I urge people to take their right to vote very seriously during these extremely important midterm elections. Things appear to be getting way out of control. Specifically guns.
Working in a high school where students and all visitors must be scanned and/or wanded before entering the building makes me feel very safe and secure — but what about everybody else? Why should I hear that one of my students wanted to buy a bulletproof backpack? Why should 14-year-old children have such high anxiety that they need to be on medication and even then cannot function properly?

I was educated in the New York City public school system many years ago. I had a fantastic education at Harry S. Truman HS in Co-Op City, where I never feared for my safety. The anxiety I faced was regular academic concerns — balancing schoolwork with being on a sports team, taking the SATs and deciding which college to attend. We had fire drills, not “shelter-in-place drills” or “active shooter drills.” Just typing this I’m feeling stressed out. Imagine what students are feeling.

If no federal legislation came after the horrific shootings at Columbine HS in 1999, Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 and Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS earlier this year, how can we look into our children’s eyes and promise a better tomorrow?

Susan Wald, Grover Cleveland HS

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