There has been discussion among the Town Council of defunding the school resource officers and the Meadowbrook nurse. Though the adults have been very vocal in their dissenting opinions in similar discussions, the students have been noticeably absent. Not today. Our voices will rise to be heard. Our silence ends now.
The decision to cut the SRO and the nurse is extremely short sighted. The Town Council plans to defund two of the school’s administrative staff who are specifically trained to keep students safe.
With school shootings becoming a national issue, it is entirely illogical to dispose of the one trained professional in the building who knows how to effectively stop a shooter. Our country is no stranger to gun threats and bomb scares, and our town is no exception. When faced with these threats, the Town Council elects to fire the only person remotely qualified to stop it. The inconsistency of the Town Council is most prominently displayed by the opinion shared by Sean Todd. While actively working alongside the Town Council to make the schools less safe, he has promoted the idea of arming the teachers.
Without a school nurse, the teachers would be the first and only medical responders in the building. Teachers should not be responsible for dealing with crises such as deathly allergic reactions and stomach bugs. They should not be the only people in the school who can tell if a student has sustained a concussion, is having a panic attack, is having a seizure, or is suffering from a multitude of other health risks that could become very serious without a nurse at the school. If a student dies of something as preventable as an allergic reaction, the financial repercussions of the inevitable lawsuit will cost the town significantly more than simply hiring a nurse.
The Town Council’s actions highlight the most important part of this-the moral implications of such a decision. They have put the monetary value each household is saving above the lives of the town’s children. Priorities send messages. The Town Council, in its actions, suggests that they do not care about the children, teachers, or opinions of their constituents. They have squandered their political power and disgraced every vote cast in their favour.
To make matters worse, the Town Council will not listen to the people they supposedly represent. Many decisions made, though met with resistance, went through without consideration of the public’s stance on the matter. This is immoral, if not illegal and unconstitutional. The health and safety of the town’s citizens should be the Town Council’s first priority. If the Town Council fails to prioritize this, they will deal with the political aftermath. The voters of East Greenwich will not forget the injustices they have committed.
Emersyn Nutting and Miguel Figueroa, two students at East Greenwich High School
Thoughtful letter. Not sure I agree that the Council has ignored the people they represent; it’s not just the loudest that must be taken into account. But beyond that, no one argues that many of these initiatives/benefits/programs are undesirable – but they have to get paid for. No municipality can afford to do everything, and there is that gritty 4% annual cap on taxes to deal with. Should the schools get the whole 4%? And if so, what cuts should be made and where to permit this. Firefighter overtime? Another detective? Maybe snow plowing? Every town council – no matter where – deserves some credit for taking the hard decisions, even if not everyone agrees.