Joomla TemplatesWeb HostingFree Money



Emergency action to address violence and crime.

By: Demetrio Perez, Jr.

The time is now!

The student population from 1991 to 1996 grew by 13% in Dade County Public Schools. In that same period, DCPS also experienced the following growth:

• 630% increase the use, possession, and sale of alcohol;

• 399% increase in the use, possession, and sale of drugs;

• 76%increase in assaults;

• 28% increase in the total number of reported incidents.

Notwithstanding, there was a 26% decrease in the possession and use of weapons in schools. This can be attributed in large part to the presence of metal detectors in schools.

Our citizens clamor for urgent action to address these issues. Our families demand safety in our schools.

It is unfair for parents to have to worry when they drop their children off at school, if those same children will make it through the day.

Nationwide, approximately 160,000 students are absent from school every day because they are afraid; 135,000 students carry weapons to class every day.

Meanwhile it is estimated that 1 in 11 teachers have been attacked in school.

In response to these statistics and to the harsh realities that one daily basis, I would like to ask the Office of the Superintendent to develop a plan of emergency action to combat crime and violence in our schools. This plan of action should be brought before the school Board for its consideration within 60 days. The plan should contain the necessary vision to effect a significant reduction in the mentioned figures within 180 days of being adopted.

The comprehensive strategy should contemplate the following:

Emergency action: Investing the Superintendent with emergency powers to act directly in order to reduce school crime. Among other things, we must prevent unauthorized access to our schools. To achieve this end, I ask for a comprehensive plan along with a detailed budget for the Board to consider the best manner in which to take action. I also ask for the cooperation of the Office of the Board Attorney to ensure that the proposed measures are in keeping with all legal parameters.

Stabilizing vision: Following the emergency action plan, we must provide stability answers the questions: "What now?” This is a key element to maintaining the advances made by the emergency action.

Prevention: Up to now prevention has been the starting point of all crime reduction efforts and there are numerous programs in this area. I think that we need to have this phase follow the first two points in order to ensure the permanence of our efforts in reducing crime. We must concentrate on the early years of a student’s life, following my message: "Educate children, and you will not punish adults.”