Democrat Debbie Stabenow represents Michigan's 8th congressional district.
We all know that government alone, at any level, cannot hope to solve the complex problem of school violence. But government must be a part of the solution. Together we must, with the "Michigan Million Mom March," get parents actively involved, provide resources to prevent violence, and add more school resource officers to deter school violence. We must do all we can to create classrooms where students can learn in the safe environments they deserve.
In February, six-year-old Kayla Rolland was killed by another six-year-old in her school outside of Flint. I have talked with parents, teachers, and students about how to form effective partnerships with local schools and communities to help combat the problem of violence in our schools.
I believe the keys to school safety can be spelled out with three P's: parents, prevention, and police. My plan to make local schools and communities safer places to learn and work includes:
· Involve parents in efforts both inside and outside of the classroom to promote safe schools.
· Require parental involvement in the planning and implementation of student programs that are funded by federal grants.
· Recognize that preventing child abuse and neglect is critical to preventing violence in schools. Successful programs such as the Michigan Children's Trust Fund, which I founded in 1982, have provided at-risk parents with the skills and support they need to create loving and safe homes. These programs should be made a priority.
to Prevent Violence
· Add school counselors, social workers, and teacher support personnel so that teachers can teach and other professionals can focus on students who need special attention.
· Integrate character education into school curriculum to create good citizens as well as good students. Character education helps to instill values such as trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, caring, fairness, citizenship, perseverance, courage, and self-discipline in our children.
· Encourage students to help each other through peer mediation and conflict resolution programs that further reduce the threat of school violence.
· Reduce class size so that teachers give students the attention they need to succeed in school.
· Support after-school programs that provide supervised, constructive activities for latch-key students.
· Create a National Center for School Safety and Youth Violence to provide a common source of effective school safety programs for schools and communities; to establish a toll-free number for students to seek help and anonymously report criminal activity; and to provide grants to develop innovative, new school safety programs in communities across the country.
Keeping Our Schools Safe
· Add school resource officers to help keep schools safe by deterring school violence and serving as positive role models for students.
· Provide resources for safety technology and training through a matching grant program that will help schools afford metal detectors, security cameras, and other safety devices and offer security training for school personnel.
· Keep guns out of the hands of children and criminals by passing common-sense gun safety legislation that requires child safety locks, closes the loophole that allows guns to be purchased at gun shows without background checks, and enforces existing gun laws.
For more information about Rep. Stabenow, visit www.stabenow2000.net.