Father wants understanding rather than armed police in school

To the Editor:

The recent decision by the Milford Board of Education to hire armed school resource officers to patrol our schools represents a plainly reactionary response to the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

The lesson of Newtown and the myriad of other violent crimes that have taken place in Connecticut and around the country since that terrible December day is not that we need to lock down our schools and fight fire power with fire power, the lesson we should be teaching our children is to love, accept and understand each other.

I genuinely understand the natural instinct to protect our children at all costs, but the message that armed officers in our schools sends is one of fear and danger at every corner.

On the days immediately following the shootings at Sandy Hook, I, like so many other parents, found myself fearful of sending my daughters to school. I wanted nothing more than to hold them in my arms and protect them from the evils of the world. I didn't and I won't.

It's not easy to think about another tragedy happening in our schools, but it makes me equally uneasy to send my daughters into a school where they are greeted by armed officers. It is not the officers I object to as much as it is the message that it sends to our children.

We can be a violent society. A society that glorifies violence and sensationalizes criminals. A society that uses a clenched fist instead of an open hand. A society that fights violence with more violence.

Or we can choose to be a society that aims to love one another, respect one another and help those who are in need. A society that works hard to identify and help the mentally ill so that they don't become a danger to themselves or others. A society that embraces our differences and celebrates our diversity.

Armed officers in our schools is not the answer.

This is not a problem that bullets will solve, it is a problem that we will solve. If we show our children by example that while there are some bad people in this world, the overwhelming majority are good neighbors who in the best of times root for each other and in the worst of times lend a helping hand.

I, for one, want my daughters to know that the school they go to is safe not because there are armed officers patrolling the halls, but because there are friendly faces.

Adam DeYoung