Looking for solutions to recent violence at schools

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005

A Sept. 26 meeting at Sherwood High School was more to put our parents’ minds at ease than to supply details of the fatal stabbing after the Sherwood-Blake football game in Burtonsville on Sept. 23.

Some discussion of changing the times of the football games was mentioned, plans to reassess the needs are being made. Many agreed that whatever time it was, people who fight will fight.

An explanation of the day’s events at school was provided, including how students reacted to the news during their own forums. They didn’t want to be viewed as violent or biased. Parents should try not to miss the lesson: Listen to your children. Hear what they are trying to tell you beneath the words.

The parents in attendance were not the ones who needed to be ‘‘reprimanded” by their peers. They came to acknowledge, pay tribute, vent some anxiety. Perhaps the parents who really needed to hear didn’t come, they were too busy not listening to their children to even know or think about the impact, or too scared to face the reality of the situation, or their own responsibility in it.

School administrators are not responsible for our children’s behavior. Our children need to be held responsible. It just happened to be in a school parking lot, this time.

This unfortunate tragedy left many people in our community feeling scared. Because now we know it could happen, because it did, and we can’t deal with that.

Lori Kurtzman, Olney

The writer is president of the Rosa Parks Middle School PTA.

Friday night games are a tradition here. That is the way it should remain. I do not approve of them being switched to Saturday. That’s for colleges and Sunday is for NFL.

Yes, that was a terrible tragedy but who is to say it would not happen even on Saturday afternoon.

While no one has the full answer for this tragedy, we must continue to educate our youth that violence is not the answer to the problem. The answer must come from all of us working together to find a solution.

Nancy Walker, Chevy Chase

During a forum on the fatal violence, one Sherwood High School student asked, ‘‘How do you walk away from a fight? Just saying ‘No’ doesn’t always work.”

One initiative that addresses this problem is You Have The Power! a youth mentoring program sponsored by our local Project Change (www.projectchange.info) and Students Against Destructive Decisions. Sherwood and Rosa Parks Middle School students produced an anti-bullying video shown at a Rosa Parks assembly. Scenes of students being bullied and disrespected are acted out, with bystanders’ supportive reactions to the bullying victim appearing afterwards.

This program will be featured on the national PBS-TV show ‘‘In The Mix” on WHUT-Channel 32 in our area soon.

Ellen Lent, Olney