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Dealing with 'disturbances'

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Dealing with 'disturbances'

I recently attended the March meeting of the Little Rock School District Community Advisory Board, where a plan was discussed for arming current security personnel working for the school district. The plan was presented by Ron Self, director of safety and security for the LRSD. To give a brief overview, Self would like to arm 10 of his current officers, including himself, at a cost of $50,000 for the first year and $15,000 every year after that. These officers would go through training as outlined by the School Security Officer program. Four of these officers would come from the patrol division that moves between schools and reacts to what Self described as "disturbances," which include such things as breaking up fights.

As a future parent of LRSD, I find this plan to be incredibly misguided and potentially dangerous to the students. The purpose of arming these personnel is to ensure that, if an active shooter situation were happening, a security officer would be able to engage the shooter much quicker than a police officer having to respond to the scene. This is a noble idea, but in practice proves to be less than ideal, as recent studies and examples have shown. However, what is more problematic to me is that the purpose of these patrol officers is primarily to deal with "disturbances" from students. This means that an armed patrol officer is much more likely to be called to break up a fight on a bus than they are to have to engage an active shooter. There is no reason to add a gun to that sort of situation. Not only could it be a safety issue, whether it accidentally goes off or in a moment of rash anger a student tries to take it, but it adds an emotional weight to any interaction that can instantly escalate that situation. We have seen time and time again across this country where a routine stop by police escalates to death. Why would we want to have even the slightest chance of that happening with our students?

While the intention is to make students feel safe, by arming security officers you are telling students that they are dangerous and are suspects. You are effectively telling them they are criminals before they have ever committed a crime. A student cannot grow under that kind of system. They cannot learn from their mistakes, channel their emotions healthily or become a mature adult if they feel like they are inmates in a prison. And that is exactly how it will feel when there are armed officers coming in to deal with these "disturbances." So instead of spending $50,000 on guns and training, why not spend that money on community and counseling services? Why not spend that money on something that tries to build a student up rather than tear them down? Not only will this allow us to deal with many of the root issues that cause active shooters in the first place, but I can guarantee they will also help cut down the number of "disturbances" that security officers have to respond to as well.

Sam Grubb

Little Rock

The end is near

Social Security is on the chopping block. Republicans want to chop Social Security funds from the public sector and feed the funds to Wall Street wolves. Republicans must first disable the Social Security Administration, declare it unsustainable, then eliminate the agency. We know Republicans want to chop Social Security by comments made in the past. Sen. Mitch McConnell told "The Tom Sullivan Show": "Medicare and Social Security (entitlements) is the single biggest threat to our future." House Speaker Paul Ryan told the CNBC "Harwood File" he wanted to cut Medicare and Social Security to reduce the deficit.

Republican President George W. Bush spent 10 months trying to privatize Social Security. Unfortunately, privatized investments are not guaranteed by the government. Traditional Social Security investments are federally insured. Today, privatized Social Security contributions would probably go to President Trump's Wall Street buddies.

Republican President Ronald Reagan figured out another way to cut Social Security. Reagan labeled some citizens as "double dippers." These were federal employees who were drawing from more than one government retirement account at the same time. Reagan himself became a double dipper when he began drawing from a state account and his Social Security account. The Reagan-sponsored 1983 Windfall Elimination Law reduced Social Security benefits for millions of Americans, even though many of these good citizens had paid into the system for decades.

There may be no way to stop the chopping.

Gene Mason

Jacksonville

Bridging the unabridged

It appears the only way of "modernizing" the English language is to annually add words to its vocabulary. Some recent examples include "truther," "microagression," "airball" and "binge-watching."

I think the English language has gotten "fat" with useless, inane expressions, and it's time to trim the language back and make it more relevant and less irritating.

From this day forward, let's ban the following from the lexicon:

That said.

That being said.

All things considered.

Be that as it may.

At the end of the day.

No there, there.

Any way you cut it.

It is what it is.

Harry Herget

Little Rock

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