My opinion column to the Bend Bulletin and Redmond Spokesman was selected for publication on 2-20-2018:
I have posted it BELOW as well:
It’s time – to recall the past when pencil, paper, and eraser were all a student required to be adequately equipped for school. It’s time to recall the days of practicing cursive and penmanship. It’s time to remember using actual textbooks in class – and taking those home for reference…one’s face in a book completing homework.
It’s time – to remember when the internet began to transform the teaching and learning experience. It’s time to consider when digital devices began to populate our classrooms – and appeared as appendages in our hands. It’s time to recognize that face-in-a-book has become Facebook.
It’s time – to revisit those memories when schools were adequately staffed with trained guidance counselors and staff – when students who displayed emotional and behavioral instability did not fall obliviously through the cracks of our educational system. It’s time to recognize that those who do suffer from mental health impairments, including students, require identification and treatment from qualified mental health professionals – whose caseloads are currently vastly overburdened primarily due to inadequate funding and staffing shortfalls.
It’s time to confront the reality that times change; requiring the deployment of new resources, technologies and robust strategies to protect and preserve the safety, health and welfare of students, staff and families throughout Central Oregon public school districts.
It’s time to get real.
It’s time to rally support for the Redmond School District’s upcoming bond measure for the essential financial resources designed to improve public school safety and complete fundamental maintenance improvements in the antiquated school facilities in our community.
It’s time for the U.S. government to provide the essential financial resources to deploy metal detection devices/intruder prevention technologies at all points of ingress and egress in our public schools.
It’s time to ban the manufacture, sale, transfer, modification and possession of assault rifles and high capacity magazines in Deschutes County.
It’s time to bolster the processes and personnel designed to identify, treat and monitor those who display mental health impairments who may tangibly pose threats to self or others. It’s time to confront the reality that living in Central Oregon is cohabitation with abject poverty, substance abuse, alcohol abuse, overburdened behavioral healthcare evaluation and delivery system(s), a population of at-risk individuals and families – and a per capita unbridled fetish with firearms – of all kinds.
It’s time to insure that the systems designed to identify those not legally allowed to possess a firearm are integrity tested on an ongoing basis and that they are suitably integrated to defend the public health, safety and welfare.
It’s time for elected officials to worry less about re-election and embalming the past and display actions demonstrating their commitment to “what must we do now” to provide the fundamental safety protections for our children, students and staff who inhabit our public schools on a daily basis. Investment in this “infrastructure” must become priority number one.
It’s time for Oregon’s U.S. congressional delegation to derive the funding essential for adequately staffing the behavioral healthcare assessment and delivery organizations in Central Oregon.
It’s time – time to speak the unspoken. It’s time for uncommon courage in Central Oregon. It’s time to recognize that the times have changed and now demand we enact measures to more adequately protect our children, students and staff in our schools. It’s time for Deschutes County Commissioners and the City Council’s in this region to lead by enacting measures now required to enhance public safety – and bolster, preserve and protect the welfare of all stakeholders in our public education and behavioral healthcare systems.
It’s time for an S.O.S. – Summit On Safety – in the public schools of Central Oregon.
It’s time to change.
It’s time to enact change.
Our children, students, families, teachers, staff and communities require it.