(Warning: This is a long post. Apologies. Scroll to the end for resources/video)
After the Parkland shooting, many of you sent me questions- I assume because you didn’t know who else to ask- and I was completely unqualified to answer them, but they broke my heart. I love our community and I love kids, and I want the kids in our community to feel- and be- safe. I want you to feel that way, too. Luckily for me, as I was planning to put together a way to answer your questions, Coles Supervisor Marty Nohe (full disclosure: drives my kids to Pokemon Club on Fridays) let me know that he was planning something, too. That worked for me, as long as it was bi-partisan (enter: Schoolboard Members Diane Raulston and Willie Deutsch) and included experts that could answer the questions that you all had asked me. Supervisor Nohe, to that end, brought in the Risk Management Office from PWCS, PWC Chief of Police Barnard and Sheriff Glenn Hill. These were people who could answer your policy, funding, and procedure questions.
That left a lot of psychology-based questions, so I reached out and found Dr. Lindsey Leudtke and Mr. Scott Miller from Psychological and Life Skills Associates, and Stacy Phillips who is with Victim Justice for the Department of Justice. Alexandra Delaroderie from the Center for Pastoral Counseling also joined us to provide an information table with resources for parents.
After receiving numerous emails both to myself and Supervisor Nohe, I stripped out the backstories, although I want to assure you that I heard each one, and combined the like questions. This was to allow us to go through and get answers faster. If you’ve ever been to a town hall, you know that people can easily go through 20 minutes of back story to get to the actual question, and while that format is important, too, I was really dedicated to getting answers to as many of your questions as I could, and honestly, knowing this was a delicate issue and it was my first time moderating, I will be completely honest that I was nervous about my ability to handle audience questions if they became hostile. Some of you didn’t like that format, and that’s fine, because you can host your own event- we need lots of conversations on this issue- although for those that came, we did end up taking community questions, and only one person tried to yell at me, so I’m counting that as a win.
Here are the questions that I asked:
In addition to the links included with each speaker above, Supervisor Nohe’s office put together this handy sheet with how to contact your elected officials:
Finally, thanks to What’s Up Woodbridge, you can watch the entire thing on video. Fun fact: I thought that the program didn’t include Stacy Phillip’s information (because hers was the only name with her title first) and got totally flustered introducing the panel. It was my first time, cut me a large break while you watch.
Thank you for trusting me with your questions, and I hope that these answers get you started towards solutions for your family and your school. I really do love our community and am here to help whenever I can.