Belmont Mayor: City Needs to Continue Efforts to Ensure School Safety

Belmont Mayor Christine Wozniak speaks out about Friday's school shooting in Newtown, CT.

I was very sad to hear of yet another mass shooting, this time at the school in Connecticut.  This tragedy shocked me to my core.  I can't imagine what the families of the victims and survivors are going through.  My thoughts and prayers are with them all.

My next thought was that we have to do everything possible to assure that this NEVER happens in Belmont.  I'm sure that all of our schools have zero tolerance regarding weapons on campus, but that may not be enough.

Our police department has a close relationship with all of the schools in Belmont through the Chief and our School Resource Officers.  Chief DeSmidt has already reached out to the school leadership to provide guidance and support.  Long term, we need to continue our efforts to assure complete safety for our school children.

Christine Wozniak

Ben There December 16, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I'm pretty sure most campus killers check their local ordinaces regarding tolerance towards weapons on campus. When they find a district or city that has zero tolerance they find one that doesn't. Just thinking out of the box here we should also have zero tolerance towards spoons. Spoons are used everyday to feed kids unhealthy snacks and meals. Obesity is a real problem in schools and the spoon is the primary tool. Let's start with an ourtright ban on spoons and see if we need to get tougher and ban the fork.
Charles Stone December 17, 2012 at 02:24 AM
Thank you, Mayor Wozniak, for your thoughts and prayers for those involved in the Newtown massacre. I (as I'm certain all Belmont residents do) join you in thinking of and praying for all those involved. It may interest you, and other residents of the District, to know that BRSSD is installing safety ("Columbine") locks and protective shades on windows. The District also evaluates safety plans yearly and coordinates with both the Belmont and Redwood City Police Departments. Outgoing School Board President Brian Matthews posted an informative and thoughtful update to his blog the day of the massacre (http://brianmatthewsj.wordpress.com/.) I am thankful he, the other board members, and our administration are paying such close attention to our childrens' safety. I am also grateful we have such a wonderful police force in Belmont. However, I, for one, would like to see the City stop shifting the financial burden of the School Resource Officers to the District. I cannot fathom why, especially in a time of great financial crisis for school districts everywhere, the City has forced the District to pay for a police officer. It is my expectation that the City of Belmont will provide all needed police services to all members of the community, including the schools, at the City's, and not the schools', cost. God bless those souls we lost in Newtown.
Belmont December 17, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Thank you, Mayor Wozniak for your thoughtful letter. My heart is heavy as I think of the children and teachers and administrators who lost their lives in the Newtown Massacre. My thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends, first responders and all citizens of CT. As a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, who regularly goes back to the NYC area, this is an incredibly sad and tragic event. My family back in CT is in shock....after 9-11 (which was a horrifying event in the NYC area) and Hurricane Sandy and now this....I call on all elected officials to use all means necessary to pass meaningful gun control reform in this country. I ask that mental illness be de-stigmatized. These tragedies must end. I do not think that is what the authors of the Second Amendment to the US Constitution would want for our country. The Governor of CT, Dan Malloy, is an exceptional leader, who will see the state of CT through this tragedy. I would like to post a couple of articles about Governor Dan Malloy. Most Belmont Patch readers probably have no idea about his background as a dyslexic learner. Governor Malloy's life story is an inspiration to students with dyslexia everywhere. First article, is from Yale University and the second, the Huffington Post. God Bless all the children and adults whose lives where cut all too short. http://dyslexia.yale.edu/malloy.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/29/dan-malloy-connecticut-governor-dyslexia_n_842139.html
Ed December 17, 2012 at 02:59 PM
More needs to be done, and a non-emotional approach must be taken in devising a course of action. Many mass-killings take place in gun-free zones because the cowards perpetrating these crimes do not want to meet with armed resistance. Current reports indicate that the Newtown shooter opted to take his own life once he heard first responders (police) closing in on the school. In his warped mind he was content to take innocent lives until the threat of counter-force was apparent to him. By continuing to propagate the false sense of security created by "gun free zones", we do a major disservice to schools, parents, students and educators. An illusory sense of safety does nothing to combat the reality of murderous lunatics, as the Israelis painfully learned decades ago. So I must first ask, why do we insist on creating environments that are, in fact, only "safe" for the shooter? It is as if some form of perverse reasoning has taken over our elected leadership. Or perhaps this is the proverbial "head in the sand" reaction, because the realistic alternative is too politically charged.
Joan S. Dentler (Editor) December 17, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Thank you Charles for your thoughtful comment. And just to clarify, although the BRSSD contributes to the cost of the Belmont Police Department school resource officer, it does not bear the entire cost; the city still covers the majority of the cost for the SRO program. From Chief Dan DeSmidt: "Many of the schools (public and private) contribute to the SRO program but all of them together don't even pay for half of the cost of one Ofc. The City still pays for the vast majority of the program."
Harvey December 17, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Edward, can you please cite a source for your claim that murderers choose their planned crime sites based on the gun rules at the site? Also, what would happen if every school had an armed guard? How would the murderer choose which school to visit? You seen to have a keen understanding of the mind of what these people are thinking.
Steve Hayes December 17, 2012 at 07:59 PM
As the gun lobby starts defending gun ownership I would like to hear much more about Gun Ownership Responsibility and less about Gun Rights. As a Country we worship guns way too much and that needs to change! How many guns do we need ? Let’s take Israel as an example. Gun ownership is 7-8 per 100 citizens in Israel compared with about 88 per 100 citizens in the U.S. Why do we need 10X the number of guns (per 100 citizens) than are owned in Israel – what are we defending ourselves from.? Why do we need 270 million guns in this country – that is one third of all of the guns in the entire world? We also buy 60% of all of the new guns produced in the entire world – every year! Gun Security Have we done enough to make sure all of the guns in our community are adequately controlled? – locked in a safe. Is the ammunition in a different place and is it also locked up? How many magazines do the guns have? Is it really necessary to have more than one magazine per gun and is it really necessary to have magazine capacities more than 5-6? Guns could be designed to only accept one clip. Glorifying death When we buy video games is it really necessary to buy games that simulate the shooting/killing and mutilation of people? I can go on but the bottom line is We Can Do More!
Charles Stone December 19, 2012 at 01:07 AM
Thanks, Joan. I wasn't intending to imply that BRSSD pays for the entire program. I still believe that this is a public safety cost, the entirety of which should be born by the City and not by the schools.


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